Holden Barina Spark

Price On Sale in NZ

0-100 km/h

100-0km/h

Speedo error Claimed fuel use C02 output Ambient cabin noise

$18,990 Nov 2010

10.54sec (201m

95 at an indicated 100km/h

5.6L/100km

128g/km

[email protected]/h

Shell Q

V-Power

Nlew Zea'and Autocar road :ests are powered by Siell V-Power - the fuel developed with Ferrari.

Rear-seat accommodation is :osy. Should be OK for eight-year-old triplets, but really it's a four-seater. Headroom is passable, but space for legs is tight. Entry is a squeeze through the narrow rear doors.

As the Spark takes up just 3595mm of space in the garage, interior dimensions are also slight, particularly in the boot, where there are just 170 litres on offer. Neither wide nor ceep, the boot can be expanded by split-folding the rear seat.

Well styled and specified but we reckon you should find the money to invest in something more substantial like the Micra

Specific output j 48.92kW/L

Compression ratio I 9.8:1 Cylinderheartf dohc/16v,

Capacity 1206cc

_Format inline 4/transverse

Manpower [email protected]

Max torque a l07Nm @ 4800rpm

Weight to power! 56kg/KW Bore >: stroke j 69.7mm x 79mm

Gearbox | 5-speed manual Drvetrain 1 front-wheel drive front I Mac strut/sway bar rear 8 torsion beam

Turning circle 1 9.9m (2.8 turns lock-to-lock)

front ventilated disc rear drum terns. ESP/TC/ABS/EBD

Size I 155/60R15

Tyres I Goodyear DuraGrip

_ Wheelbase 2375mm

Length/WidtMjeight 3595mm/ 1597mm/ 1522mm

Track. 1407mm/ 1414mm

Drag coefficient n.a

Fuel capacity 35L

Luooaqe capacity 170L

With full tank 985kg

Weight distribution 63/37 % (front/rear) Comer weights

As the Spark is designed primarily as a city car, we were expecting body roll aplenty and screeching understeer during the extra-urban test loop, and the littlie didn't disappoint. Add to the mix steering-rack rattle over bumps, average brakes and an overly active ESP system. In the wilds, the engine is out of its depth. While it will cruise reasonably at a lOOkm/h, it's noisy, registering 80.6dB on coarse-chip seal, and the whistle of the wind is a constant on the motorway.

Once back in an urban scene, the minnow comes into its own. It squeezes through gaps, allows plenty of all-round vision and it's a cinch to park thanks to its meagre turning circle and dimensions. Though OK, the ride is not great, as is expected;

these micros are never plush.

A hindrance to the Spark's sales potential will be its lone gearbox choice, a five-speed manual. If you can get over this, you'll find that swapping through the gears is no chore. That said, the gear changes are many, as the engine needs to be worked.

Some bright spark [sic] in the office mentioned we should compare the wee Holden with the Alto and Picanto. They were on coffee-making duty for a month for mentioning such nonsense. As we've said before, these cars are cheap but no: cheerful. Our recommendation would be to find the money for something like Nissan's $22K Micra. That's three extra grand well spent - and you'll get an automatic gearbox EC

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JMaasa; iftgffÉMfetp & Fanfloffli^ IMapÉtoâ© tfoir M

new Zealand autocar 85

New Zealand families are embracing crossover vehicles in droves, attracted by their practicality and versatility. The latest Kia Sportage and Nissan X-Trail are but two of many choices in the hottest sector of the new-vehicle market. Which suits you better?

Words Paul Owen Photos Tom Gasnier

Words Paul Owen Photos Tom Gasnier

ortri point stor: x takeawa"

The Nissan won this race to the dairy

Sharper-looking front end for this X-Trail vintage; soft suspension tune remains

Sporty handling is the Kia's new strength

18" hoops add style to latest X-Trail

88 new zea a nd autocar

and 226Nm, the 2.5-litre Nissan lour is right on the

Kia designer based in Los Angeles.

camera stayed dry

By contrast, die X-Trail parked alongside is like a crossover of times past, when the trend was more SUV-lite.

It's boxy and nuggety to behold, a bit like a crate of low alcohol beer on wheels. New fascia aside, its a21st Century

F.nter the spunky, new, third-generation Kia Sportage and a less gawky-looking Nissan X-Trail. The latter seems to get revised every year - a good way to keep up customer interest. In their respective $46,990 2.4 LTD and S47,990 Ti model guises, they are state-of-the-art crossovers. Like bowls full of fruit, they are brimming with good fodder. For their price points, they have richly finished interiors. Features include powered and heated leather-clad seats, remote steering-wheel controls, on-demand 4WD, and big hoops (17" on the Kia. 18" on the Nissan). The Nissan trumps the Sportage with its fully integrated Bluetooth, cupholders that can be heated or cooled, and a powered sunroof that adds to the already airy feel of the cabin. The X-Trail's signature two-tier luggage floor makes it the choice for the likes of divers, surfers or jet-skiers, as there's a drawer to keep valuables hidden and a place to stash wet gear. The Sportage fights back with a reversing camera and a USB port - and, some would argue, its looks.

For this model seems ready to live up to its name, unlike the two dowdy generations before, which looked more 'Portage' than Sportage. With its slammed roofline, Audi-esque wheel-arch blisters, LED driving lights and lowered body, the Sportage III looks like the product cf a Californian chop-shop. Which it is, kind of, as the concept underpinning the looks of the vehicle was drawn up by a

I aria Niva tailored to the school run. Yet to my eye, the Nissan's is also a good, honest design that conveys what lies beneath the skin: a good, honest vehicle.

There's another reason the X-Trail looks this way. Its shorter, SUV-inspired overhangs give it better clearance off-road, and the generous size of the glasshouse provides excellent visibility. Only one of these wagons has a reversing camera - and the Kia sure needs it like John Key needs his script-writer. Pictures are fed back to what is a minuscule screen mounted on the rear-view mirror, so toddlers are less at risk from the shortcomings of the V-shaped back window.

Does the drive of Sportage match its fresh looks? Thankfully, yes. A perky powertrain, consisting of a new 2.4-litre petrol four hooked to a six-speed automatic gearbox, ensures the Kia has the go to fit its show. With a wholesome 130kW and 227Nm, the new 2.4 pumps out more power and torque than some previous V6 engines from the I Iyundai Group. As you accelerate away from rest, it's the Sportage that feels the more enthusiastic here, which is something of a coup, as the X-Trail was the quickest of the trio of crossover vehicles we tested in the May 2010 issue.

But that impression, a consequence of Nissan's choice of a CVT gearbox, which should make the X-Trail easier on fuel, is a misleading one. With 125kW

Despite Paul s best attempts, Tom's

Price

On Sale in NZ

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