Car reviews - Holden - Colorado - range
Strong and torquey diesel engine, great off-road capability, quieter cabin, improved ride in the ute, rear legroom, five-star ANCAP crash score
Room for improvement
Smartphone-connected navigation drop-outs, toy-like instrument cluster, hard plastics, high driving position, could be better storage spaces, pricey entry variant
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20 Nov 2014
IF YOU’RE staring at the shots of the 2015 Colorado’s exterior wondering what’s new then it’s time stop, because no changes have been made to exterior styling of the ute or SUV. Instead Holden hopes you’ll mainly hear and feel the big differences.
Intensive work has been carried out to make the cabin quieter on all variants while the LTZ ute has had a suspension overhaul for a more comfortable ride while the top grade SUV have also received heated leather seats which are an option on the Crew Cab.
At the launch of the 2015 model Holden said it listened to feedback from buyers and added the luxury touches to make the vehicles appeal to a wider set of people – that is those that aren’t going to use them as building site and farm workhorses, but rather as adventure cars loaded up with mountain bikes, surfboards and holiday gear.
Keeping the line-up and prices the same as the 2014 model the range kicks off with the two-wheel-drive-only Single Cab Chassis LS for $28,390 plus on-road costs. The lack of a base DS-grade two wheel drive variant means the Holden is undercut by Toyota’s entry Hilux Workmate at $18,990, Ford’s Ranger XL Single Cab at $19,740 and Mitsubishi’s Triton at $20,990. Only its Isuzu D-Max cousin comes close at $27,400 for the SX Single Cab.
The Colorado 7 SUV comes in two grades – the LT for $47,490 and the $50,990 LTZ. Isuzu’s D-Max based M-UX is $50,000 for the range topper while Mitsubishi’s Challenger LS is $49,990.
The four-wheel drive LTZ Crew Cab Pick Up is $50,990 and its standard features list includes 17-inch alloy wheels and a full sized spare, seven-inch display screen with MyLink infotainment and reversing camera. The heated leather appointed seats are a $1200 option on this variant.
Those seats are standard on the Colorado 7 LTZ, so too are the other items mentioned on the Crew Cab’s list, save for the wheels, which are 18-inch alloys.
Both the Crew Cab ute and SUV have a five-star ANCAP crash test rating. Helping achieve that score is driver and front passenger airbags, along with side impact and curtain airbags. Both have stability and traction control, ABS, trailer sway control and hill descent control. The SUV gets disc brakes front and rear while the ute just has the rotors up front.
The day’s driving took us hundred of kilometres on a broad range of surfaces – from the Sunshine Coast’s suburban streets to gravel roads and beaches.
Starting out in the four-wheel drive Crew Cab LTZ we headed for the bush. As we bombed along wet country roads at 100km/h it was clear straight away that the Holden boffins’ work to improve the ride was successful. The springs at the back have been calibrated not to react so harshly to small bumps while coming in exponentially firmer where they’re needed in big dips and potholes. The dampers have been retuned to suit and a thicker front stability bar has improved handling.
The suspension softening means payload is down to 825kg from 1086kg, but unless you’re carting bricks daily this shouldn’t worry most buyers.
Despite the improvements in ride the light commercial origins are clear with a driver’s seat that feels too high even on the lowest setting. The steering wheel is low and while height adjustable, it does not offer reach adjustability.
Its diesel powerplant is an undeniably loud, clattery unit if you’re standing beside it, but the cabin is noticeably quieter thanks to a new acoustics package consisting of a cowl insulator and thicker dash mats. Wind tunnel testing reduced noise, too, according to Holden.
That 147kW/500Nm 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine powers the entire Colorado line-up and never did we feel like it needed more grunt with 440Nm coming in at 1600rpm for good low-down pulling power or rock climbing.
The same engine is in the Colorado 7 which we swapped into and dropped the tyre pressure to 26psi and took a sandy track kilometres through the rainforest to the beach. The SUV’s ground clearance of 231mm is 21mm more than the Pick Up and we needed it as corrugated roads strewed with rocks gave our suspension a work out – inside we got a bit of a jiggle, but nothing that would have a chiropractor rubbing their hands over.
Both the SUV and ute are body-on-frame vehicles, but with the former having coil springs front and rear while the latter has the leaf version at the back for carrying loads.
On the beach things smoothed out, gliding across the sand with a storm chasing us in the rear vision mirror.
A lunch break let us check out the rear seats. This 190cm test pilot can sit with legroom to spare behind his driving position in both the Crew Cab and the SUV. Sure the rear seat is bench-like and harder than the supportive comfortable ones up front, but it’s fine for shorter distances.
The third row in the Colorado 7 is more suitable for kids.
The new leather-appointed seats give the cabin a premium look, but also feel hard wearing which is ideal for those who might be a bit rougher on them.
The back piano finish on the console is another touch added to give the Colorado LTZ a more high-end look, but it doesn’t come off as posh as Holden probably hopes it does and the presence of cheap hard plastics next to it is like a bloke wearing board shorts with a tuxedo jacket.
The car-maker would have been better off dumping the dinky plastic instrument cluster with its hard-to-read speedo obscured with an oversized needle in favour of a cleaner more refined one. To be fair a digital speedo can be selected on the screen between dials.
Good storage space is lacking with door pockets on the small side and no centre console hole for keys and wallets. A decent sized bin under the centre armrest earns some respect back.
The tray of the ute has a metal floor and a material tonneau cover is standard.
The last leg home saw us back in the Crew Cab as we navigated our way off the beach without getting bogged and back onto the bitumen.
As we merged into afternoon traffic and had to get up to speed fast we were impressed by the Colorado’s get up and go – it’s not a Commodore SS ute by any means but there’s enough oomph there to get you out of trouble.
Holden claims a fuel figure of 8.9 litres per 100km in the four-wheel drive Crew Cab with the six speed automatic transmission, and our driving returned a not-so-far-off 9.7L/100km. The six-speed manual was not tested on this trip.
The road back to the airport gave us the chance to connect our phones to the MyLink media system and proved an easy process. Bringo is the Colorado’s navigation system, but this has to be bought separately and works through your smartphone which is fine, but not if your battery goes flat or you lose signal – then lose your way.
There was no opportunity to drive the entry model Colorado, with Holden equipping us with LTZs only. But it’s on these top-of-the-line variants that the big changes can really be felt.
Retuning the suspension in the ute has improved the ride considerably, while the SUV has always had a more car-like feel due to multi-link rear. The cabin is also a more tranquil place.
These are big steps towards taming the Colorado for a buyer who might not be using it on a building site or farm. The thing is, if you give a workhorse a luxury saddle, it’s still a workhorse right? Time will tell if it’s enough to win more sales before the next-gen version arrives.
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