First drive: Holden Barina CDXNew Car Reviews Motor Reviews Motor News
Holden Barina CDX
Holden Barina CDX
The most significant thing about the new Barina CDX model is its infotainment system. Dubbed MyLink, it is General Motors' new global system that boasts far greater smartphone integration than before.
The Barina CDX, a new high-spec variant, is the first to get MyLink but Holden will add it to the rest of its range as soon as possible. And that includes the VF Commodore launching next year.
MyLink differs from most other systems in its ability to fully integrate smartphone applications (apps) into the seven-inch touchscreen that controls all the functions for the sound system.
Holden is working with the app developers to make sure they are able to be used easily and safely by the driver using the car's controls and without the need to touch a phone.
At launch the only app available is Stitcher internet radio. Holden says by early 2013 four more apps will be added – Tune-In (internet radio), Pandora (music radio), BringGo (turn-by-turn navigation) and Apple's Siri.
More apps – possibly including Facebook and Twitter – will be added as time goes by but Holden admits it will take time to make them work with Australia's driver-distraction laws.
During the launch we sampled Stitcher and found the app easy to use through the MyLink controls. The touchscreen text and buttons are large, making it easy to use on the move.
But the catch with the system is that it uses the data on your smartphone. So the more you use the apps the more it will cost you on your mobile phone plan.
Holden says it is working with phone companies to create data plans that can be used in conjunction with MyLink, but those plans are in their infancy.
Another negative of the MyLink system in the Barina is it doesn't have a CD player – joining the Peugeot 208 by relying only on digital music and radio. But that doesn't mean the end of the CD player in the Commodore.
The Barina MyLink is the first generation of the system, but the Commodore and the Malibu mid-size sedan will be second-generation versions and will include a CD player. Holden also hinted at some increased functionality but won't detail specifics until the Commodore is revealed.
The decision to offer MyLink in the Barina and add the CDX model is part of a push for more male buyers of the city car. Holden has added technology and tried to improve the driving dynamics for Australian buyers.
Part of the changes include the adoption of electric steering, 17-inch alloy wheels with lower-profile tyres and a new (standard) six-speed automatic transmission.
“Holden integration engineers developed the calibration for the electric power steering and the tyre and suspension tune to ensure Barina continues to meet the needs of Australian drivers,” says Scott Doughty, Holden's vehicle performance manager.
While hardly a hot hatch, the CDX is notably sportier than the CD model. The electric steering in particular is well sorted – well weighted and direct. The engine still requires plenty of revs to get motivated but the new gearbox does a reasonable job of keeping it in a sweet spot.
The six-speed also helps keep fuel economy to 6.3 litres per 100km.
Other equipment additions to the CDX include rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel and gearshift, trip computer, heated front seats, front fog lights and chrome trim highlights.
The CDX is priced from $20,490 for both the hatch and sedan.
The CD is also now available with the same six-speed auto, adding $2000 to the price – $17,990 for the hatch and $18,490 for the sedan.