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Holden’s next Colorado uncovered

Revealed: Holden's next-gen Colorado one-tonne ute has broken official cover in Chevrolet guise.

New Holden Colorado ute emerges in Thailand ahead of Oz release within a year

22 Mar 2011

HOLDEN’S first all-new one-tonne ute in eight years has broken official cover on the eve of its world debut at the 32nd Bangkok motor show in Thailand this week – less than a year before the redesigned Colorado goes on sale in Australia.

The new Colorado emerged in Chevrolet guise in the world’s biggest utility market, where production and sales begin later this year before the vital new workhorse hits Holden showrooms in Australia – the world’s fourth largest ute market – in the first quarter of next year.

As GoAuto reported earlier this month, when General Motors released a tightly cropped teaser image of the next-generation Colorado, GM’s vital new global compact utility replaces the Isuzu D-Max-based Colorado (nee Rodeo) that dates back to 2003, but continues to share its full ladder chassis underpinnings with its Isuzu-badged mechanical twin.

Isuzu’s new D-Max is yet to emerge, but this time around the 2012 Colorado’s sleek yet muscular new sheetmetal – seen here for the first time in extended-cab form comprising a pair of short rear-hinged ‘suicide’ rear doors – will be unique to GM.

In contrast, Volkswagen’s ground-breaking new Amarok and Ford’s all-new Australian designed and engineered T6 Ranger ute (which goes on sale here alongside its mechanical twin, the new Mazda BT-50, in the third quarter of this year) were both seen first in dual-cab body styles.

All four new-generation one-tonners will eventually be available in the usual array of single, extended and double-cab body styles, and – like the Ranger – the new Colorado is expected to spawn a rugged seven-seat wagon version in the same way Nissan’s Pathfinder is based on the Navara and Mitsubishi’s Challenger is based on the Triton.

13 center imageFew technical details have been revealed, but GM said the high-riding four-wheel drive Colorado show car – which rides on 20-inch wheels with 285/50-section Zeon LTZ off-road tyres – is powered by a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine that “produces a broad torque band for excellent cargo and towing capability, in addition to enhancing drivability and fuel efficiency”.

“Although this is a show vehicle, the basic proportions and form convey the vision for the next-generation Colorado that we will bring to market,” said GM global vehicle line executive Brad Merkel.

“It reflects a stylised version of the new truck, one that takes into account rugged dependable truck capabilities for commercial use as well as sophisticated refinement for personal-use needs.”

GM said its all-new compact pick-up, which is this time expected to be sold in North America – where a bigger pick-up based on the same GMT 345 platform has carried the Colorado name since 2004 – was developed within the US auto-maker’s global product development organisation.

“While the new Colorado was developed, engineers took careful steps to ensure it would meet local market needs in south-east Asia,” the company said.

“Senior engineers lived in Thailand for several months during the truck’s development, immersing themselves in the market and observing how Thais use their trucks and the road conditions they experience.”

Appearing in ‘Pepperdust’ metallic exterior paint adorned with polished aluminium bumper details, the upmarket Colorado show vehicle features integrated side steps, black-masked projector-style headlights with LED lighting elements, LED-equipped wing mirrors, a full-width LED-lit tail-light and a body-coloured hard tonneau cover.

“Around the globe, pick-up trucks are associated with strength, capability and function – and that’s exactly what the Colorado Show Truck embodies,” said GM vice-president of Global Design, Ed Welburn.

“Its broad-shouldered proportions are derived from nearly a century of Chevrolet truck heritage.”

Inside are signature Chevrolet cues including a dual-cockpit instrument panel design that flows into the doors, continuous lines that create a floating wrap-around effect, ‘ice-blue’ cabin lighting, dark woodgrain highlights with chrome and low-gloss accents, “double-faced” leather seat trim and soft-touch materials throughout.

The Colorado concept also features a number of cabin storage solutions, including a large covered centre console bin and a large dual glovebox, as well as a range of top-end features like a dual-zone digital climate-control system and a hi-tech infotainment system comprising seven-inch centre-stack LCD display that offers internet access, navigation, music and hands-free phone features.

“Trucks have been part of Chevrolet’s heritage for nearly all of its 100-year history,” said GM International’s sales, marketing and aftersales vice-president Susan Docherty.

“The next-generation Colorado will reinforce that heritage with expressive design, refinement and uncompromising capability.”

Expect the Chevy bow-tie logo on the Colorado concept vehicle to be swapped for a Holden Lion badge for Australia’s version of the all-new model, which will continue to be produced in a separate GM plant to the D-Max in Thailand’s Rayong province.

The Colorado is a vital model for Holden, which last year sold about 15,000 examples, with the vast majority (11,000) being 4x4 models while 4x2 versions experienced a 44 per cent sales decline.

Overall, while 4x2 ute sales slumped by 12.4 per cent in 2010, when the Colorado accounted for just 3.8 per cent of the segment, 4x4 ute sales lifted by 9.5 per cent last year, when the Colorado snared an 11.7 per cent share of the segment to lie third behind Toyota’s HiLux and Nissan’s Navara.

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