Holden ignites city car fightback with new Spark

Holden ignites city car fightback with new Spark

The Holden Spark will roll out with heaps of buyer-friendly tech, but no standard reversing camera on the entry model.

HOLDEN will reignite its fightback in the city-friendly hatchback class, revealing sharp pricing and user-friendly technology for the Holden Spark due on sale in April.

However, while Holden will promote the Barina Spark replacement as a smartphone-friendly car that will become “an integrated part of their [buyers’] lifestyle”, it won’t follow the growing industry trend of making reversing cameras standard across the model range.

Holden -Barina -sideDespite the omission, Holden said the absence of a standard reversing camera on the entry-level LS variant did not mean buyers were missing out on safety.

“Holden does not compromise on the safety of its vehicles,” a Holden spokesman said. ”Spark has been designed to meet a wide range of safety requirements and we are confident it will achieve the highest safety rating when tested.”

The Spark will start from $13,990 for the LS, powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. For their money, buyers will get a standard seven-inch touchscreen, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and compatibility with both Android and Apple smartphones - with the standard inclusion of Android Auto and Apple Carplay.

Holden -Barina -rearA reversing camera is available for the LS, but it is bundled into an optional, as-yet unpriced, “driver assistance” package that adds reversing sensors and cruise control. Holden said this would offer peace of mind for those buyers who wanted one.

The package is standard on the $5000 more expensive Spark LT, which also adds items such as alloy wheels, keyless entry, push-button start and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The switch to cutting-edge tech means buyers will also potentially need to update their smartphones to gain the full benefit of mobile connectivity in the Spark, with Holden saying the software is only compatible with the iPhone 5 up, and Android devices that run the Lollipop version of software rolled out in late 2014.

Red -holden -barina -interiorSimilarly priced Holden Spark competitors, including the Mitsubishi Mirage, Hyundai Accent and Nissan Micra, either do not offer reversing cameras or offer them as standard only on higher-priced – but still cheaper than the $18,990 LT – models.

The Spark is yet to be crash-tested to assess its safety rating, but the city car is believed to have been engineered to offer significantly higher occupant protection than the four star-rated Barina Spark it replaces.

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