We braved the heat to get our feet dirty in Holden’s Colorado LTZ 4×4 Crew Cab utility
What is it?
Colorado is Holden’s answer to the Toyota Hilux ute, although it’s yet to come close in terms of numbers.
But, while Hilux continues to slug it out with the Ford Ranger for the title of Australia’s top selling ute, Colorado has been busy, closing in on the number three spot currently held by the Mitsubishi Triton.
The restyle has certainly helped along with an upgraded cabin and other changes – all of which make it a better proposition.
What’s it cost?
Prices start at $37,490 for the cab/chassis, $48,990 for the Space Cab, or $54,990 for the top of the range Z71 Crew Cab.
Our test vehicle , the LTZ Crew Cab, slots in just under the Z71 with most of the fruit but a little less eye candy.
It has seating for five, cloth trim and climate air conditioning and is priced from $50,490 before on road costs.
All versions are powered by same 2.8-litre turbo diesel, combined with either a 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic – the auto adds $2200 but this varies nationally.
Colorado gets five stars for safety with seven airbags, a reverse camera and rear parking sensors standard.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also part of the deal, providing extended phone connectivity.
LTZ adds LEDs, side steps, a sports bar, 18 inch alloys, front sensors, auto lights and wipers, power driver’s seat, a larger 8 inch touchscreen plus “embedded” satellite navigation.
What’s it go like?
Built in Thailand as many utes are these days, new Colorado benefits from local suspension tuning and the addition of electric steering – like the wagon that is now called Trailblazer.
Revised engine, transmission and body mounts also help to deliver a more refined driving experience.
And, in the manual version, a new final drive ratio improves the feel when towing.
The seats feel more snug in cloth and more comfortable than the leather ones in Trailblazer.
But they could still do with more padding and a longer seat squab to provide additional support.
The 2.8-litre turbo diesel punches out an impressive 500Nm of torque and has no trouble getting away from the lights in a hurry.
We like the new electric steering, which is light and responsive. particularly the way it locks onto the road at freeway speeds, keeping a nice straight line.
But keep an eye on cruise control because it’s easy to inadvertently bump up the speed when resuming.
With fuel consumption rated at 8.7L/100km, we were getting 8.8 after just over 400km of testing including off road.
What we like
The new front styling looks heaps better.
Strong throttle response and a more refined feel make it more pleasant to drive.
Somewhere along the line speed camera warnings have found their way back into Holden’s satellite navigation system.
That’s a good thing but we couldn’t get the system to display the current speed limit – which is perhaps a more important feature.
Our phone paired quickly and easily with the MyLink infotainment system but once again it looks totally different from the one in the Astra we’re currently driving.
With low range four-wheel drive it’s got above average off road ability, although few drivers will ever use it for this purpose.
The low range first gear reduction is among the best we’ve come across in an auto, making tricky descents a piece of cake with hill descent control engaged.
What we don’t
The engine is still noisier than most competitors, especially under load.
If you opt for the manual and many ute drivers still prefer this option because they tow a van or boat, then torque output is cut from 500 to 440Nm – a sizeable difference (and a bit of a rip off).
Careful when you go looking for the release lever to adjust the steering wheel.
You could as we did find yourself pulling the bonnet release instead, with unfortunate consequences at motorway speeds.
Both it and the fuel filler catches are located side by side at the base of the steering column.
This model comes with a soft tonneau cover but misses out on a tray liner to protect the paintwork from scratches.
It also lacks storage space in the cabin, with little to offer apart from small door bins, an equally small console box and a shallow unlined tray on the dash top that everything slides out of.
You get two power outlets in the front but only one USB port.
Forward collision and lane departure warnings are standard – but where’s the blind spot and cross traffic alert from the Trailblazer LTZ that we drove?
What are the alternatives?
- Toyota Hilux SR5, from $54,390 – Still the king, but you’ll end paying through the nose with options. Looks fresh, with refined road manners and is economical to run and maintain.
- Ford Ranger XLT, from $55,415 – Best looker by a country mile. Really nails the macho truck image that Ford is cultivating. XLT is the most popular variant and comes well equipped.
- Mitsubishi Triton Exceed, from $48,000 – Triton trades mainly on price. It’s a relatively old design but still stands up. Top of the line Exceed even fits the budget – but misses out on satnav.
HOLDEN COLORADO LTZ 4×4 SPECS
Holden Colorado LTZ 4x4 Crew Cab Price: from $50,490 (auto adds $2200) Warranty: 3 years/100,000km Capped priced servicing: $1396 in total for 3 years/60,000km Service interval: 9 months/15,000km Safety: 5 stars, 7 airbags Engine: 2.8-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 147kW/440Nm (man) 500Nm (auto) Transmission: 6-speed man/auto; 4WD (2WD unless you select 4WD) Fuel consumption: 8.6L/100km Dimensions: 5361m (L), 1534mm (W), 1800mm (H) 3096mm (WB) Weight: 2121kg Spare: Full-size alloy Towing: 3500kg