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Car reviews - Holden - Rodeo - diesel utility range

Launch Story

Holden logo9 Mar 2007

By CHRIS HARRIS

HOLDEN has recharged its popular RA Rodeo light truck range with an all-new diesel engine, as part of a model-wide facelift.

Coming on line from Thailand just one year after the fitment of the Holden-made 3.6-litre Alloytec V6 petrol engine in the previous Rodeo, the new turbo-diesel is a 2999cc 3.0-litre VCDi common-rail, intercooled and Euro IV emissions compliant four-cylinder unit.

Delivering 120kW at 3600rpm, it results in 25 per cent more power compared to the old 96kW 3.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, while the 360Nm at 1800rpm torque top for the five-speed manual model Rodeos equates to a 66Nm increase – that’s a 29 per cent hike – over the old truck.

Interestingly, the 3.0-litre VCDi engine mated to the automatic gearbox produces only 333Nm of torque at 1600rpm – but that’s still 39Nm better than before. We presume this new four-speed automatic transmission’s torque capacity necessitates a lower output.

Despite the increase in performance, Rodeo diesel fuel consumption has fallen by 0.2L/100km to 8.4L/100m in manual models, while automatic versions return the same 9L/100km as before.

The Rodeo’s Melbourne-made petrol powerplants – the aforementioned 157kW/313Nm 3.6-litre Alloytec V6, as well as the manual-only 92kW/209Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine – remain unchanged from before. There is no LPG option.

In diesel-powered Rodeo 4x4s, the maximum braked towing capacity rises to 3000kg – it was 2500kg for the old manual model and only 2000kg for the old auto.

For the rear-driven 4x2 diesel models, as well as all V6 Rodeos regardless of their drivetrain layout, the braked towing capacity is rated at 2500kg. The 2.4-litre petrol version can haul 2000kg.

Rodeo fans should easily spot the facelifted model with its new headlights, grille, bumper and tail-light designs and – on diesel models only – an air scoop on the bonnet.

Inside there are redesigned seats, a new-look steering wheel and instrumentation graphics, revised trim, altered HVAC heater/ventilation and air-conditioning controls, and redesigned transmission levers for both gearboxes.

On the upper-spec LT model new colours and silver trim finishes have become available.

According to Holden, all 4x4 models come with a strengthened heavy-duty driveline, a two-speed transfer case to improve off-road ability, and push-button ‘on-the-fly’ low/high range capability.

Brakes are ventilated discs up front (256mm in 2.4 and diesel 4x2 280mm in all 4x4 and V6 models) and drums out back (254mm for 2.4 and diesel 4x2 295mm in all 4x4 and V6 trucks).

As with most light trucks, airbags and ABS anti-lock brakes are still optional on some models.

With light truck diesel sales exceeding their petrol-powered counterpart for the first time ever in 2006, the re-engineered Rodeo diesel could not have come at a better time for Holden.

One of the longest-running brands in its class, the Rodeo nameplate arrived on the Isuzu KB series truck in 1980, and is now Holden’s third bestselling nameplate behind Commodore and Astra. In the last decade over 165,000 have been sold in Australia.

In just four years the RA Rodeo has become one of the oldest models in the buoyant light truck segment that, since 2000, has seen pickup and cab chassis sales soar by 56 per cent, in a total car market that has grown only 22 per cent over the same period.

So, to help it stay competitive against the likes of the new Mazda BT50, Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan D40 Navara and Toyota Hi-Lux, Holden has not increased MY07 Rodeo pricing.

In 2006 around 19,000 Rodeos were sold. A similar number is hoped for this year.

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