Car reviews - Holden - Colorado - range
Better bang for your buck, easier customisation, torquey turbo-diesel engine, smooth automatic transmission, controlled steering, settled unladen ride, hard-working LSD
Room for improvement
Divisive front-end styling, no steering-wheel reach adjustment, firm armrests, hard cabin plastics abound, manual transmission out of favour, limited advanced driver-assist systems
Meaningful specification bump, steady pricing make for solid Holden Colorado update
14 Jun 2019
YOU only have to look at the sales charts – or at a worksite – to realise that utes are all the rage at the moment, especially dual-cab pick-ups.
And with several key models either receiving updates recently or on the cusp of them, it’s no surprise that Holden has moved to give its entrant, Colorado, a lift.
Since its MY17 mid-life facelift, Colorado has been at the pointy end of one of Australia’s most competitive segments, so only one question remains: does its MY20 update push it further towards class honours?
We’d be lying if we said a whole lot has changed with Colorado’s MY20 update, because it simply hasn’t… but that’s not such a bad thing, especially when it comes to pricing.
That’s right, even though the MY17 Colorado was released all the way back in August 2016, the model’s pricing has remarkably held steady.
Economic factors like inflation are usually enough to ensure some year-to-year movement, but yet here we still are, with the same pricing almost four years on.
This is even more remarkable when you consider that with this MY20 update, most of the Colorado’s grades have a longer list of standard equipment than before – and some of their new kit is not exactly cheap, either.
Take for the example the DuraGuard spray-on tub liner that the LTZ and Z71 grades have gained as part of MY20.
With more than 60 per cent of these grades’ buyers opting to fit an aftermarket unit, Holden identified its opportunity to strike… but didn’t charge extra for it.
Same goes for the LTZ’s now no-cost option of leather-accented upholstery with heated front seats… and the Z71’s front bash plate, four black fender flares and a ‘soft-drop’ tailgate with gas struts. You get the point.
Moving on from the standard equipment, the bits and pieces that cost more are also better! Well, better packaged. Yes, we are now in the era of accessories packages.
Love the idea of murdering out your Colorado? Step right up, the Black Pack has your name on it! Want to look the part off-road and have the ability to tow? The Rig Pack is here to save the day.
There’s also the Tradie Pack and Farmer Pack that are probably exactly what you imagine them to be, while the Xtreme Pack rounds out the quintet with all the bells and whistles needed to push through when the going gets tough.
As far as a marketing exercise goes, this is a very good one, but these accessories packages don’t come cheap. Starting at $2950 (Black Pack) and topping out at an eye-watering $19,550 (Xtreme Pack), they’re a fair whack… but you do get what you pay for.
As good as all of this is, though, there has still been no change to Colorado’s suite of advanced driver-assist systems, with no autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring or adaptive cruise control to be seen here.
Nonetheless, Holden has also learnt from its successes, moving to reintroduce last year’s special-edition LSX grade on a permanent basis.
This opens Colorado up to an even wider customer base, particularly those price-sensitive buyers that want more of the flagship Z71’s show (Arsenal Grey metallic 18-inch alloy wheels, four black fender flares and gloss-black grille) but less of its go.
But it’s not just private buyers that Holden is trying to take care of, it’s fleets, too. Enter the LTZ+. As its name suggests, this new grade offers a little bit more than the LTZ.
For the $1030 premium fleet managers pay, they get a towing package and – more importantly – a rerated maximum payload of just under 1000kg. The latter is key as it opens up the option of novated leasing when it comes to financing the purchase.
However, as positive as all of that sounds, the reshuffling of the Colorado line-up has resulted in a few causalities, namely the manual transmission.
Don’t worry, it’s still available, but its reach isn’t as wide ranging as before. Previously, every single variant could be had with the three-pedal set-up, but with MY20, 4x2 versions go without alongside 4x4 space-cab varieties.
Needless to say, this is a real shame, but Holden says demand for the manual transmission is low, particularly for the variants that now go without it.
The positive, then, is that the alternative six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission is one of the best you can find in a ute today.
Gear changes are smooth if not quick, while the calibration is receptive to spontaneous throttle inputs, with downshifts occurring promptly.
In fact, given there are no mechanical changes to Colorado, it is very much the same story as before, which for the most part, only means good things.
A particular highlight is its 2.8-litre Duramax turbo-diesel four-cylinder unit that produces 147kW of power at 3600rpm and 440Nm (manual) or 500Nm (automatic) of torque at 2000rpm.
As these outputs suggest, it is a relatively punchy unit, with a thick wad of Sir Isaac’s best coming on strong and early, making it perfect for towing or navigating steep inclines.
Mercifully, it’s also a much more refined engine than most of its key rivals, with noise penetrating the cabin but not to detrimental effect thanks to its strong suppression.
As far as Holden’s involvement is concerned, though, all the praise should go Colorado’s ride and handling. Again, nothing’s changed for MY20, but it’s still such a good package.
Where other utes recklessly bounce over bumps when unladen, Colorado maintains its composure, providing relatively superb ride comfort, even on corrugated dirt roads.
The local tuning also extends to Colorado’s steering, which is light but – again – controlled, especially when encountering sharp bumps off-road, although its off-centre feel leaves a little to be desired.
Handling-wise, Colorado shrinks around the driver, but there is no hiding the fact that it is a big, heavy vehicle, with the body roll it exhibits through high-speed corners a reminder of this fact.
That said, one of its key advantages is the level of grip its 4x4 variants provide, with their helical limited-slip differential (LSD) putting in one hell of an effort to keep things on track – literally.
The ongoing lack of a rear differential lock will likely upset off-roading purists, but our venture off the beaten track proved time and time again that the LSD pairs well with the low-range transfer case to do the job, even when confronted by torrential rain and deep muddy ruts.
Speaking of things that haven’t changed, a few Colorado bugbears remain inside, namely the lack of reach adjustment for its steering wheel, the badly padded armrests and the overuse of hard plastics in higher-specification variants.
And don’t get us started on the front-end styling. Given how good the rest of the exterior looks, we’re still puzzle why it looks the way it does. But, as always, beauty is the eye of the beholder.
So, with Colorado playing in a highly competitive segment that Holden has top-three aspirations for, it both figuratively and literally has its work cut out for it.
But on merit alone, it is definitely worthy of a podium finish, especially in MY20 form.
Model release date: 1 June 2019
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