Holden Barina sedan and hot hatch unveiled

words - Joshua Dowling
Barina with a boot bows at Detroit, but not in Australia until 2012

General Motors has unveiled the production version of what we will know in Australia as the Holden Barina sedan.

The Chevrolet Sonic was the small but important star of the Detroit motor show, which opened overnight Australian time.

Significantly, it will be made in Detroit -- the only light-car made in North America -- and restore up to 1000 jobs in the recession-hit motor city.

It has 10 airbags -- a record for the city-car class -- and suspension tuned by the same engineers who developed the Chevrolet Corvette sports car. But don't get too excited, the Holden Barina version of the same car may not get the same treatment.

The Barinas bound for Australia will be made in Korea, and Holden is yet to announce how many airbags will be standard, or if it gets suspension tuned by Corvette engineers.

GM says the Sonic has the biggest boot and the most rear legroom in the light-car sedan class in North America -- however there are some worthy rivals in Australia that aren't sold in the USA.

The new generation of the Korean-made Barina hatch is due in Australian showrooms in October this year -- but the sedan version will trail by about six months, arriving in early 2012. Both versions will be powered by 1.6-litre engines and available with manual and automatic transmissions (unlike the baby Barina Spark which is a manual only proposition until mid 2012).

GM also unveiled a hot hatch version of the Barina -- and coined a new performance badge.

The Z Spec was billed as a concept car but is expected to be a pointer towards a performance version of the Barina, powered by the 1.4 turbo (103kW and 200Nm) from the larger Cruze sedan.

Holden says there has been no decision on whether it will get the 1.4 turbo version of the Barina, but the Carsales Network understands this engine will be available to the Korean factory in late 2012, and introduced in Australia in 2013.

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