I flew up to Holden’s Auckland office to have a look at their 2017 offerings for both the Barina and Trax Range. Once I got past the chaos that is the roadworks around Auckland airport I arrived at Holden’s HQ and was greeted by Ed Finn, the Corporate Affairs General Manager and also our minder for the day. We first had a presentation on the new line up of the two models before we were off for the day to test drive them both.

First up is the new Trax with LS, LT (new additional variant) and LTZ variants which has had a face lift both front and rear, with new LED tail lights and projection headlights with LED daytime running lights across the range.

The LS is a 1.4L turbo engine which is shared across the range with 16” alloy, rear park assist with rearview camera, cruise control and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and starts at $32,990

The LT model comes with all the LS has to offer with some additions like 18” alloy wheels, cloth/PVC interior trim, sunroof, front fog lamps, some chrome accents and PEPS – Holden’s keyless entry system. The LT starts at $35,490.

On to the LTZ, the top of the range model for the Trax. Again coming with the same as the previous models with the added extras of Sportec leather seats, heated front seats, rain sensing wipers, a 3.5” Mono TFT driver info display, blind spot alert, rear cross traffic alert and LED taillights. The top of the range Trax will start at $36,990.

Moving onto the Barina there has been a fair few changes to the line up. The sedan and RS versions have been discontinued and the CD/CDX have been replaced with the LS and LT. The Barina has also had a facelift with a new front grill, fascia and hood as well as a new rear fascia.

Let’s have a closer look at the two models. First, the LS comes with a 1.6 L engine, 16” alloy wheels, projection headlights with LED daytime running lights, rear park assist, rear view camera and 7” touchscreen Apple Carplay/Android auto. The LT comes with the same engine but has 17” alloy wheels, sportec interior trim, heated front seats and PEPS.

Right, the formalities are out of the way – now off for some driving. I jumped in the Trax LTZ  and off we went. The Trax I have found is a hard car to pinpoint where it should live. A part of me thinks it should be a city car as it is small and nimble but also parts of me think it should be out in the country where it could get a bit off main roads, as it has extra height and ground clearance. I suppose in a sense it is the best of both worlds because you can use the height it gives you as an advantage when stuck in traffic in town as well as using its nimbleness when off the beaten track, but I would not take it far off the beaten track. But all in all it is a great car, very well equipped, easy to drive and more than enough space and power to get you around.

We arrive at first stop where can take a few quick pictures followed by a car swap and we set off again. Second car I am in is the Barina LT, as a passenger this time. Being a passenger is good as it gives you the time to take in the new interiour of the Barina while someone else pays attention to the road. Looking around some might say it was a bit sparse but I saw it as a clean and tidy design, all the controls for door locks and temperature controls were in easy reach and you have two glove boxes to tidy your things away. The main item that attracts your focus though is the 7” touch screen in the centre console. From here you can control the radio and take and receive bluetooth calls but if you connect up your phone you open up a whole load more features through Apple Carplay or Android Auto.

Another quick change and I jump in the driver’s seat of another Barina, the LS version. Sitting in the LS I take a quick look around before I set off and all looks the same as the LT except the seats are cloth and I had been handed a key to start the car. Up until now all the other cars had Holden’s PEPS system, which allows you to do keyless entry and push button start, this was the only version of Barina or Trax that did not have PEPS. Getting on the road the Barina is how I remember it being – a nice little agile car that is great for zipping around the city. Enough power for overtaking and small enough to get into tight car parks and small narrow streets.

Another quick stop to change cars I got into the Trax LS. This is the lowest variant of the Trax range but still comes with a lot of features like the touch screen display, rear view camera and Apple Carplay/Android Auto. Same driving feel as the LTZ earlier the only things that have changed is that it has the smaller alloy wheels and less chrome accents and on the inside it has the cloth seats. Apart from that it is still a great car for the price point.

Last stop was for some more photos and lunch after which we made our way back to the Holden HQ so that we could get everyone back to the airport for their flights back.

All in all a good trip and there is a great set of cars coming from Holden for both Barina and Trax, we look forward to getting our hands on them for a full length review.

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