Car reviews - Holden - Colorado - Z71 Xtreme
Winch doesn’t comprise safety, off-road handling, torquey powertrain, smooth-shifting automatic
Room for improvement
In-cabin ergonomics, no interior changes, carryover Colorado engine
Holden equips Colorado Z71 Xtreme with accessories to handle the worst conditions
19 Sep 2018
By TUNG NGUYEN
WITH the launch of the new Toyota HiLux Rugged X and Ford Ranger Raptor, this year has seen a number of new flagship one-tonne pick-ups enter the competitive Australian market.
While HSV has already worked its magic over the Colorado to deliver the SportsCat, Holden has now raided its accessories list to produce its own take on the top-spec one-tonner with the Z71 Xtreme.
Fitted with all-terrain tyres, fender flares, tubular side steps and beefier sports bar, the Holden Colorado Z71 Xtreme certainly looks rough-road ready, but it’s the cleverly integrated winch that gives it the biggest point of differentiation from its competitors.
Does Holden go far enough with its new hero Colorado, or is this one an Xteme disappointment?
Let’s get this out of the way first, despite what Holden says, try not the think of the Colorado Z71 Xtreme as a hero car because with the same 147kW/500Nm 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine, it certainly doesn’t have the brawn the match its looks.
Instead, think of the Z71 Xtreme as a sort-of mobile showcase for the abilities of Holden engineers to create off-road-ready parts, which is by no means a bad thing.
The hero component of the Z71 Xtreme is the new winch bar with integrated winch, a feature that no other flagship ute can lay claim.
Not only is the winch bar a much slimmer design than aftermarket options, the winch is even hidden under the fold-up front license plate – just like the gadgets on a James Bond car!
What’s even more impressive though, because the winch bar has been developed with Holden engineers from day one, there is no sacrifice to safety.
Deformity, crash protection, airbag deployment and even the front parking sensors have all been thought through, and the winch bar has been engineered to match the five-star Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) crash result of its donor car.
The winch bar, or a bullbar, can even be optioned onto lower-grade Colorados for those that don’t want to stump up for the full-fat $69,990 driveaway Z71 Xtreme.
We suspect the winch bar is going to be a huge drawcard for fleet buyers because of its strong, OEM-backed safety standards, as well as the fact that it is fitted by a dealer.
Not to be outdone, the Warn Magnum winch itself is also a star performer, able to handle 10,000 pounds and is equipped with a 30m-long nylon rope all hidden away from sight.
To accommodate the extra weight at the front end and maintain the same level of body control, the Z71 Xtreme also gains revised front springs that feature a three per cent increase in preload and a 12 per cent increase in spring rate.
Paired with the all-terrain tyres, the result is that the new flagship Colorado is an absolute star on gravel and unsealed roads.
Seriously, clicking along at triple-digit speeds on the rocky paths from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta, the new Z71 Xtreme felt compliant and controllable, even comfortable in some regards.
The tyres especially make a world of difference when the road gets a bit rough, while the new springs afford great large-bump recovery and a noticeable softness in ride quality.
However, our one caveat is that we were unable to drive the Z71 Xtreme much on the black top, so we will reserve final judgement on how much of an all-rounder the new Colorado is until we get the new ute into town.
Out bush though, the Z71 Xtreme performed beautifully.
Other add-ons are largely cosmetic, with a bonnet bulge, extended sports bar, tubular side steps, Z71 Xtreme decals and a rear steel step, but the inclusion of a tough 2.5mm-thick front bash plate helps protect important components in rocky terrain.
Our major gripes of the Z71 Xtreme are mainly aimed at its cabin though, as the interior doesn’t get the same spruce up as the exterior and mechanicals do.
Inside the Z71 Xtreme is identical to the Colorado Z71 upon which it is based, right down to the unsupportive and under-bolstered leather seats, especially in the thigh area.
A few more upmarket touches would also not go astray in the near-$70,000 vehicle, albeit a light-commercial one.
While the Z71 Xtreme’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel is certainly not lacking in punch thanks to its 147kW of power at 3600rpm and 500Nm of torque available at 2000rpm, it is the same engine offered in the rest of the cheaper Colorado line-up.
We’d have liked to see a point of difference in the flagship Colorado from the standard range, as well as the HSV SportsCat, and the increasing engine outputs, even slightly, would have made it into a real headline-stealing hero.
What’s there though still works remarkable well despite the 150kg weight penalty brought on by the extra equipment.
The six-speed automatic is also a standout, shifting responsively and smoothly in any given situation, and not afraid to kick it up or down a notch when needed.
On the other hand, the Colorado Z71 Xtreme is not about the straight-line performance or headline-grabbing numbers, it’s about Holden’s genuine accessories and they are quality, top-notch additions that can now be optioned on any Colorado variant.
In that regard, the Z71 Xtreme certainly fulfils its brief and showcases just how capable and rugged the Colorado can be.
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