1 Feb 2001
After the pretty but dynamically (and quality) compromised 1994-2000 SB Barina (which was based on a 1983-vintage platform), the XC was a bit of a revelation despite its purely evolutionary styling.
Like before the Barina is built in Spain by Opel, but the XC junks the old floorpan for a newer chassis that – combined with a bigger, stronger and roomier body – improves the Barina’s strength, safety, refinement, handling and ride qualities significantly.
A Wheels magazine Car of the Year guernsey followed. Sold in three-door and five-door hatchback guises, the main motor is a 66kW/120Nm 1.4-litre DOHC 16V engine that was a development of the old car’s.
A sporty SRi adds a 92kW/165Nm 1.8-litre powerplant also found in the larger Astra series. Gearboxes are either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.
In early 2003 SXi three-door and CD five-door models replaced the base 1.4 cars, but slower sales prompted Holden to revert to the plain “Barina” names again from mid-’04, despite a facelift from January ’04 that saw a new nose treatment, some steering and suspension modifications, trim changes and a heavily revised 66kW/125Nm 1.4 in manual-only base model Barinas.
Limited edition Equipe models – boasting extras like alloy wheels – were released in April ’02.