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Spied: Holden SUV takes the Chev look

Seventh heaven: The Colorado 7 will sit above the upcoming Trax and Captiva range in Holden's growing SUV line-up when it arrives next year.

Colorado 7 spy shots show another Holden is set to take on the Chevrolet design

10 Jul 2012

HOLDEN has fallen into line with Chevrolet on the styling of its upcoming Colorado 7 SUV, adopting the design cues of its Chevrolet Trailblazer twin.

Undisguised test vehicles spotted by GoAuto in Victoria show the same Chevrolet two-piece grille as the donor vehicle, which has just gone into production in Thailand and is due to arrive in Australia under Holden badges early next year.

The same shortcut was adopted on the recently released Colorado ute, on which the rugged 4x4 seven-seat Colorado 7 passenger wagon is based.

Most previous shared models such as the Captiva and Cruze got a unique Holden treatment for the grille, eschewing the Chevrolet two-port look – two openings separated by a central bar – to retain a semblance of Holden identity.

GoAuto understands the Holden fascia design for those GM Korea-built passenger cars was to have been shared with the now-defunct Daewoo in South Korea, where Chevrolet branding now rules General Motors showrooms.

Without the Daewoo volume, the justification for a unique look and the attendant extra tooling costs could hardly be justified, even though Holden executives would like to retain an Aussie distinctiveness.

13 center imageLeft: Chevrolet Trailblazer.

The move to Chevrolet styling cues will be almost complete with the arrival next year of the new VF Commodore, which will be exported to North America as the Chevrolet SS Performance.

Spy photos of the Holden-designed large sedan show the familiar Chevrolet family design language – as evidenced on cars such as the Chevrolet Impala and Malibu – across the bonnet and down the flanks to the tail-lights, with the Australian and American rear-drive sedans apparently sharing all major sheetmetal.

But, like the front-drive Impala that is due to go on sale in the United States early next year, the Commodore and Chevrolet SS both move away from the trademark Chevrolet bar across the grille, instead adopting a single-piece grille with a variety of treatments, according to specification level.

This is the new Chevrolet style direction, and can be expected on most, if not all, future Chevrolet vehicles – and Holdens.

While the Colorado 7 looks little different externally to the Trailblazer, it might have some Holden differences under the skin.

Holden engineers have been hard at work on the vehicle six months out from launch, indicating that calibration tasks are still underway.

Some Asian media reports have suggested the Brazilian-developed Trailblazer rides on an American-style soft suspension to elevate comfort levels on rough roads in the main target markets of Asia and South America.

Holden might be attempting to get a better ride-handing balance for Australia and New Zealand, mindful that the spiritual ancestor for the Colorado 7 – the Isuzu-derived Jackaroo – was criticised for its dynamics, especially from its leaf-sprung rear end.

Trailblazer is sold in Thailand with the same diesel engine choice as the Colorado – a 110kW/350Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder paired with a five-speed manual transmission, and 132kW/470Nm 2.8-litre four-cylinder with a five-speed manual or optional six-speed auto.

It is unclear which of these powertrains will make it into Colorado 7, although the 2.8-litre variant would seem the obvious choice, given the competition from vehicles such as Nissan Pathfinder, Mitsubishi Challenger and – at some point in the future – Ford’s Ranger-based SUV.

The Colorado 7 will join the current Captiva and – from 2013 – Barina-based Trax mini crossover vehicle in a three-pronged Holden SUV attack.

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