THE micro car segment may have taken a sales hammering in 2015, but that's not to say there aren't some compelling offerings in this cheapest of cheapies class.
Joining the party come April is the all-new Holden Spark; a global model arriving as part of Holden's new model onslaught, and a direct replacement for the current Barina Spark micro car.
Holden promises class-leading technology and safety features for its completely redesigned Spark, including this season's must-have, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity on every model as standard.
There are a lot of first-time car buyers in this segment, and that smartphone connectivity is a real deal breaker.
If mum and dad need reasons to shop for the Spark beyond their kids' desire for infotainment, standard active safety features include six airbags, ESC, hill start assist, EBD, ABS and traction control, while there's a rear view camera for the LT range-topper.
Powering the mini car will be a new 1.4-litre petrol offering 73kW and 128Nm, which is a marked improvement over the Barina Spark's 1.2-litre with 59kW and 107Nm.
The Spark is a global General Motors car heading to many markets, but Holden engineers have been involved with local development for the Aussie-bound Spark's ride and handling, tuning specifically for our conditions on test trips to South Korea and at Holden's Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria.
Style-wise, you'll notice the 2016 Spark has a sleeker exterior appearance and lower profile over the current Barina Spark, and features a slightly longer wheelbase, thinner pillars and a reduction in height.
Holden Managing Director and Chairman, Mark Bernhard, said the new Spark served as further proof of Holden delivering on its future product strategy, with a focus on fresh customers and segments.
"In 2015 we launched Astra, Cascada and Insignia, followed by the Commodore VFII," he said. "In April this year we will shake up the micro-car segment with the launch of the all-new Holden Spark. It offers connectivity and infotainment features previously unavailable in this segment - these are technologies that the target customers of this car will love."
Full specification and pricing have not been announced for Holden's new entry-level offering, but don't expect much difference from the current Barina Spark's $12,890 sticker price to ensure it competes in the cheapie micro segment.