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Car reviews - Holden - Colorado - utility range

Our Opinion

We like
Power, torque, relative quietness, towing capacity, no-nonsense cabin, now better looking than outgoing Rodeo
Room for improvement
Shape now dating against newer rivals, bouncy ride on some surfaces

Holden logo12 Aug 2008

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

IN EARLY 2007 Holden improved the Rodeo out of sight with the implementation of a more modern, smoother and – most of all – quieter diesel engine.

There were also welcome changes to the interior, but somebody over at Isuzu – which supplies Holden with its light trucks – was clearly having a bad day when they implemented that rather ghoulish nose to complete the ’07 Rodeo facelift.

Now the rest of the Rodeo has come in for a makeover... and a rename to match the new sheetmetal that tops and tails the RC-series Colorado. It all looks much, much better, and – as GMH’s marketing director Philip Brook rightly believes – more like a Holden to boot.

Colorado... not the most Australian conjurer of images, but it does sort sound related to Rodeo (which is about as Aussie as, well, General Motors anyhow), and it does evoke appropriately outdoorsy feelings.

If you’re familiar with the very last Rodeo, then everything about the Colorado will be déjà vu, especially the view from behind the wheel.

But it’s certainly not a bad place to be (for a light truck), with a significantly airier feel compared to, say, the D22 Nissan Navara and Ford Ranger/Mazda BT-50 twins.

We drove the V6 petrol (smooth, a little thrashy at the top-end, but certainly adequate enough) and 3.0-litre VCDi turbo-diesel, and the latter is the winner by a wide margin thanks to its strong low-down torque, relative quietness, flexible nature and presumably, much better fuel economy potential.

Plus, the four-speed automatic feels well matched to the diesel, as does the rather weighty five-speed manual gearshifter.

Holden likes to demonstrate its 4x4 light truck range’s off-road abilities, and the Colorado certainly impressed in the middling rough stuff that we subjected several variants to.

On the road, you would not mistake this for a car, but there is sufficient steering feel and grip for the Colorado to cut it as a weekend runabout. The bouncy ride on some versions would not be so welcome, though.

Keener pricing is the last – and perhaps most important – aspect of Holden’s reborn light truck contender.

It may not have the space or finesse of the segment’s leader (the D40 Navara), the curvy coolness of the Triton or the Toyota HiLux’s default mainstream appeal, but if you can have a Colorado for around the same price as the aged D22 Navara and newer Ranger and BT-50, then we reckon you’re probably ahead of the game, because the Holden is a good compromise between affordable and capable.

And for this reason, the pricey new LT-R model, for all its little accoutrements designed to sway people from the top-shelf Triton, HiLux and Navara, is a little out of its depth, lacking the visual freshness, suppleness, and youthful showiness of its more contemporary rivals.

So stick to getting a great deal and you should come out laughing.

The bottom line then is that the Colorado is an effective update of the recently deceased Rodeo, doing everything it sets out to do with no worries at all.

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