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Melbourne show: Holden's model onslaught

Pocket rockets: The Barina SRi and Astra three-door will add sparkle to Holden's small car line-up when they debut later this year.

Holden's stand at the Melbourne motor show features a host of newcomers

1 Mar 2001

HOLDEN is displaying its all-new Barina and previewing the Zafira compact people-mover, Astra three-door and Barina SRi at the 2001 Melbourne motor show. As well as being more spacious than before, the new Barina is claimed to deliver improved refinement, safety and comfort levels.

It is available in two model configurations - three-door and five-door hatchback - both of which are powered by a 16-valve, 1.4-litre ECOTEC engine.

The standard equipment list for both Barina models includes four-wheel disc brakes, speed-dependent electric power steering and steering wheel-mounted sound system controls.

Holden says the new Barina will have a wider demographic appeal in both age and gender, increasing its average monthly sales volume from 450 to well over 600.

Pricing starts from $13,990 for the three-door model and $15,990 for the five-door. Air-conditioning (improved for Australian conditions) will add another $1870 and automatic transmission $1950.

Model previews: Zafira The Zafira will later this year join the growing compact people-mover segment, which already includes the Mazda Premacy, Daewoo Tacuma and Kia Carens.

Holden's contender will score over these rivals by virtue of offering seating for up to seven occupants.

There is no official word on pricing, but expect the Zafira to cost around $30,000.

A special cutaway model of the Zafira displayed at the Holden stand gives a clear demonstration of its innovative seating system. When required, one person can easily transform it from a seven-seater into a six, five, four, three or two-seater with loads of cargo space.

The European-designed Holden Zafira is also claimed to offer advanced safety features and sedan-like levels of performance and handling. It has been engineered for Australian driving conditions and is powered by a 2.2-litre Family II engine, as used in the Vectra.

Barina SRi The Barina line-up will be boosted later this year by a sporty SRi version powered by a 1.8-litre engine that generates 90kW at 6000rpm.

It is due to go on sale in July, priced around $20,000.

The example on display at the Melbourne motor show features a body kit and a few other cosmetic add-ons.

Astra three-door Holden's acclaimed Astra will feature a new entry-level model when the three-door version makes its debut around June.

Like its sedan and five-door siblings, the three-door is powered by a 90kW, 1.8-litre engine, designed and developed in Australia by Holden powertrain engineering for global markets. It features "drive by wire" electronic throttle control for enhanced driveability.

The Astra range will also this year gain a hot three-door SRi version powered by a 2.2-litre engine, as well as a coupe variant offered with a choice of turbocharged and normally-aspirated 2.2-litre engines.

HSV Adjoining the Holden display, Holden Special Vehicles will premiere the limited edition 300kW HSV Senator with six-speed manual, due to be released in April/May.

Only 30 examples of this high performance machine, appropriately finished in exclusive Racing Green, will be produced. Also making its debut will be the striking production version of the Maloo R8 Ute.

New releases Holden will also pull the wraps off the limited-edition Vectra Equipe, which offers $3000 of extra features ? air-conditioning, power windows, special badging and sporty six-spoke, 15-inch alloy wheels ? for little extra cost.

Four-wheel drive and light commercial vehicles on display include the new-look 2001 Monterey with wider track.

The 2001 Monterey now features revised suspension settings and improved feature levels such as compass, altitude, barometer and outside temperature instruments.

Special displays, technology on show Motor show visitors can preview Holden Assist, an advanced communications service that will soon be available to Holden buyers. Using GPS satellite and cellular technology, the hands-free telematics system links driver and vehicle to a Holden Customer Assistance Centre manned by advisors 24 hours a day.

Key features provided by this personalised service include remote door unlock, pinpoint location roadside assistance, emergency services alert and automatic response following airbag deployment.

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