The segment is highly competitive filled with all manner of temptations including utes that look like utes but drives like cars (well, almost), utes that have such a premium feel you couldn’t imagine getting it dusty, utes that are better off-road, those that are better on road, utes that can haul heavy trailers, others that would battle with an unbraked trailer, big and small, simple and swish. You get the picture…
It is a lucrative market and Holden’s Colorado was not catching the eye. So the Colorado has received a major overhaul, both inside and out, with the entire range from single cab to crew cab and space cab in between, getting a makeover.
But is it enough to turn the Colorado from a wallflower to the belle of the ball?
We put the dual-cab 4×4 to the test.
This Colorado is bolder and brasher than the one it replaces with a more aggressive stance, better form and a complementary new headlight design. It is important to Holden that the Colorado appeals to premium pickup buyers too and has styled it accordingly.
The interior is a reflection of that philosophy too, with the new Colorado presenting a more cohesive design and the fit and finish to match. There is still an abundance of plastic, mind you, just with a softer touch especially at those important touchpoints.
The dash itself is simple but effective with the size of the buttons and dials in keeping with the fact that this is a ute and also considerately placed close to reach. The steering wheel has the controls you use most but the feel in the hand is more practicality than premium.
The Colorado has never battled with space and this iteration is true to that with plenty of head, leg and wriggle room wherever you sit in the dual-cab ute. The rear pew is flatter than we like but is happy to accommodate three in relative comfort. No air vents back there though which is an annoying oversight.
Cabin storage is available but not abundant. The centre console bin, glovebox and deep door pockets are more than useful but the front double cup holders are poorly placed and whatever happened to the retracting cup holders that were fitted just under the air vents?
Remote start, 18-inch alloys and auto headlights and wipers are among the standard fare as well as a reversing camera, powered driver’s seat, LED tail lights and a soft tonneau cover.
The tray is deep and long – the size dependent on the style of Colorado you choose – with payload in the LTZ dual-cab just over 1000kg. Towing capacity is 3500kg braked and 750kg unbraked which is in line with competitors.
The LTZ features Holden’s latest generation MyLink infotainment system with an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen with smartphone mirroring through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is a seven-speaker audio system, DAB+ digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity with USB capability.
Phone pairing is simple and the MyLink system is intuitive and easy to use with a good graphics package. The screen is a bit fuzzy at night though which also affects the picture shown by the reverse camera.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
There is only one engine available across the range – a lusty four-cylinder 2.8-litre turbo-diesel paired with a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic for $2200 more.
The combination produces 147kW of power and 440Nm of torque in the manual version and 500Nm in the auto. That most of that torque is available from 2000rpm is one of the reasons the Colorado has the oomph needed when overtaking or hauling a load, even up a steep climb.
Five star safety comes courtesy of, amongst others, seven airbags, traction and stability control, trailer sway control and hill-start assist. The LTZ also has forward collision alert, tyre pressure monitoring and lane departure warning to help you negate the perils of modern-day driving attitudes.
Holden engineers tested the Colorado over hundreds of thousands of kilometres and then brought it to Australia and tested it some more. The proof of that testing is there to see in a tune that suits Australian conditions, ensuring a drive that is robust but comfortable and easily adaptable to differing road conditions.
Work done under the skin including the repositioning of the engine balance shafts, a stiffer mounting system and extra sound insulation has made for a vehicle that is quieter than its predecessor, one where you don’t feel that shudder through the steering and a vehicle that is far more composed whatever the challenge.
The electrically assisted steering varies with the speed so is lighter when parking or finding your way through tight city roads, but then gets progressively heavier at speed providing a reassuring degree of feedback.
Utes tend to offer a better ride under load and while that is the case for the Colorado, too, it remains pretty efficient without anything in the tray. Lowdown torque ensures you have the power you need during acceleration or when hauling heavy loads and the Colorado settles in quickly for the ride.
The 4WD system is part-time – which means you have to use two-wheel drive on normal roads, but may manually select 4WD, or low-range 4WD, for extra grip when driving on loose surfaces. While the Colorado can hold its own off the tarmac, those forays are better kept to the path well-travelled as it has a limited slip differential in place rather than a lockable unit.
Holden claims economy figures of 8.8L/100km for the auto with our test week surfacing consumption closer to the 10L/100km mark.
Warranty is three years or 100,000km with a life-time capped-price servicing program on offer. The first three services cost $349 each with intervals at nine months or 15,000km.
With comprehensive improvements inside and out and under skin, the Colorado is an attractive package to buyers looking for a vehicle for work and play. It handles well, performs without fuss and offers comfortable surrounds and a five-star safety package.
Competition in the dual-cab market has just moved up a notch – not quite belle of the ball but definitely hanging with the cool kids.
AT A GLANCE
Holden Colorado LTZ pricing and specifications:
Price: from $52,690 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-dieselOutput: 147kW/500Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, 4WDFuel: 8.8/100km (ADR Combined)
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Safety Rating: Five Star ANCAP
Towing capacity: 3500kg braked, 750kg unbraked
What we liked:
Punchy diesel engine
Improved road manners
What we didn’t:
No rear seat air vents
Cheap plastics in some parts of cabin
Limited in-cabin storage