Future Models - Holden 2013 Colorado 7
First look: Holden confirms Colorado SUV
Lion-badged SUV: The rugged seven-seat Holden Colorado 7 will take the fight up to the Toyota Prado from early 2013.
Spiritual successor to the Holden Jackaroo SUV to be called Colorado 7 in Australia
11 November 2011
HOLDEN is finally set to get a successor to the Jackaroo in the form of a rugged Colorado-based ladder-chassis seven-seat SUV called Colorado 7 that will be tasked with taking the fight up to the Toyota Prado.
To be known elsewhere as the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, the go-anywhere 4x4 wagon broke cover at the Dubai motor show overnight in a thinly disguised concept form armed with General Motors’ new 2.8-litre diesel that will also power the forthcoming Colorado ute.
Holden immediately confirmed the vehicle for Australia, saying it would be released here in the first quarter of 2013.
The Colorado 7 will give Holden a contender against current body-on-frame SUVs such as the Prado, Nissan Pathfinder and Mitsubishi Challenger.
It will also face a raft of new competitors such as an all-new wagon being developed by Ford Australia from its T6 Ranger ute platform and, potentially, a new Isuzu SUV based on the upcoming D-Max ute and a similar SUV derived by Volkswagen from its Amarok.
Developed in parallel with the new-generation Colorado one-tonner in a $2 billion program based in Brazil, the GM wagon will be built in Thailand alongside the ute that is due to touch down in Australian showrooms in the second quarter of 2012, Thai floods permitting.
The importance of the vehicle in Holden’s future was underscored when GM Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux took a group of key Holden dealers overseas recently to drive a prototype.
Holden’s senior executive director for sales, marketing and aftersales, John Elsworth, told GoAuto at the recent Cruze hatchback launch that the Colorado 7 would fill a gap in the market.
“It is a big powerful truck, and there is an expectation in the market that Holden should sell cars like that,” he said.
“From our point of view it is an easy fit for the brand. When it becomes available we will put our hand up to try and get some.”
Holden has been without a heavy-duty four-wheel-drive wagon since the death of the Rodeo-based Jackaroo in 2004, instead relying on the smaller and softer Captiva to do the heavy lifting in the SUV segment.
Like the Rodeo that morphed into the current Colorado, which is now in run-out, the Jackaroo relied heavily on hardware from Isuzu, which produced its own wagon called MU for South East Asia.
GM’s latest Colorado siblings have again been developed in collaboration with Isuzu, but have much more GM input, including exclusive new GM powertrains.
While the engine line-up for the Colorado range has yet to be confirmed, the 132kW/470Nm 2.8-litre Duramax diesel in the Dubai show TrailBlazer concept is an almost certain starter, perhaps alongside a Holden-made petrol V6 and a four-cylinder petrol range opener.
The latter might come in the form of the all-new 2.5-litre petrol engine that will debut in Australia in the mid-sized Malibu from late 2012.
The Colorado 7 is expected to get the same transmission options as the ute, including a five-speed manual gearbox and Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic.
The four-wheel drive system gets a new two-speed, electronically actuated part-time transfer box.
Holden’s marketing team rejected the Jackaroo nameplate for the new model, deciding it did not carry sufficient cache from the previous generation that always struggled against the big guns from Toyota, Mitsubishi and Nissan.
They also shunned the TrailBlazer tag to be used on the Chevrolet version to be sold in the Middle East, South America and South East Asia (but not North America).
Instead, they decided to hitch the wagon to the strong Colorado branding, taking advantage of the rugged reputation and close family resemblance of the wagon to the ute.
Like other Holden models drawn from the Chevrolet arsenal, including the Cruze and Captiva, the new Colorado ute and SUV range will get a distinctive Holden grille and badging when it arrives Down Under.
GM chose the Dubai show to reveal the Trailblazer version, recognising the importance of the Middle East in potential sales of the new SUV.
However, the vehicle is set to make its sales debut in Thailand in the second half of 2012, being bedded down it its home market before venturing offshore.
GM says the Trailblazer/Colorado 7’s chassis has been tuned for the dual requirements of heavy-duty off-road performance and ride comfort in urban and city driving, while its body-on-frame construction and 3000kg load capacity would make it an ideal vehicle for towing.
“With accommodation for up to seven passengers and genuine third-row seating, Trailblazer is powered by a new-generation 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine, with a variable-geometry turbocharger for the optimal combination of performance and fuel economy,” GM said in its press release.
“Its ‘body in-wheels out’ design ensures excellent approach and departure angles, while design cues including the bonnet power dome, raised cowl and higher-mounted dual projector headlamps give the Trailblazer a strong, purposeful appearance.
“Polished aluminium exterior highlights and tri-coat pearlescent white paint add to the show car’s luxury exterior finish.
“Inside, the Trailblazer has an intuitive and flexible seating configuration, premium interior appointments such as digital climate control system and USB and Bluetooth connectivity.”
Although the vehicle on show in Dubai is labelled a concept, GM admits it is close to final production guise.
Medium SUV sales in Australia have been dominated in recent times by car-based monocoque ‘soft-roaders’ such as the Ford Territory, Toyota Kluger, Mitsubishi Pajero and Captiva 7, but the rugged Toyota Prado still lays claim to the title of best-selling ‘serious’ off-roader.
So far this year, Toyota Australia has sold more than 9000 Prados, although that is down 34 per cent on last year.
Like the new Colorado ute, the new Colorado 7 wagon is expected to be slightly larger than its predecessor, the Jackaroo, putting it closer in size and ability to the rugged Prado.
GM global vehicle line executive for midsize trucks and SUVs Brad Merkel said the new wagon offered the strength, design, capability and refinement needed to compete with the world’s best off-road vehicles.
“The growing markets of the world want flexibility,” he said. “That means power and capability combined with comfort and efficiency.
“TrailBlazer does it all. You can tow anything, go anywhere, comfortably seat seven people, and do so with the fuel efficiency associated with a smaller, less capable vehicle. It’s the complete package.”