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Exclusive: New Holden Colorado spied testing

Safe bet: This image shows camera and radar equipment at the top of the windscreen, suggesting that the facelifted Holden Colorado 7 SUV will gain active safety technology when it arrives in showrooms.

More safety tech for upgraded Holden Colorado revealed in development vehicles


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19 Jan 2016

SPY shots of Holden’s updated Colorado utility and Colorado 7 large SUV reveal the forthcoming facelifted versions should be equipped with vital driver assistance and safety equipment that would bring the workhorse models into line with rivals.

GoAuto has obtained images of the complete range of Colorado variants undergoing development trials. These include base cab-chassis through to top-spec Z71 dual cab, as well as the seven-seat Colorado 7 SUV, with all but the entry-level ute appearing to have new forward-facing camera technology installed.

If such technology makes it through to a production facelift model, the broader range has a chance of attaining a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating that only the flagship dual cab and seven-seat versions currently offer.

The extra hardware can be clearly seen mounted at the top edge of the windscreen and, if it brings the capabilities of other manufacturers’ systems, the updated Colorado is likely to have adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assistance and critical autonomous city/pedestrian braking.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) favours vehicles fitted with self-braking technology, and has highlighted the obvious safety benefits of vehicles that have been proving the systems in testing.

In addition to the extra tech, the development vehicles partially reveal the new look of the Colorado, including its LED headlights, aesthetics that align with the Chevrolet styling evolution and a refreshed grille that features the single bar with slots above and below.

At the back end, the tail-lights have also been given a tweak with a dark smoked lens for the Colorado 7, although little else seems to have been altered at the rear.

The facelift would be the first major makeover for the Colorado and Colorado 7, which were both launched in Australia in 2012.

The sneak peek appears to suggest the next evolution of the Colorado will be a universal style shared in all General Motors markets.

An updated version of the Colorado has not yet been confirmed for Australia, and Holden product communications manager Mark Flintoft explained that the sighting of development vehicles does not necessarily herald the arrival of new Australian products.

“Holden regularly conducts engineering work in collaboration with other GM markets,” said Mr Flintoft. “These vehicles are part of a global testing trip, taking advantage of the warm weather and challenging Australian driving conditions.”

While car-makers routinely conduct cold-climate testing in the northern hemisphere at this time of the year, Australia’s hot climate enables engineering teams to continue their full range of extreme weather testing.

“Holden is committed to leveraging the GM portfolio to bring the best vehicles to Australia and ensure our product range remains relevant and exciting, however we have nothing to announce at this time,” Mr Flintoft said.

However, he did not rule out a new Colorado for Australia and went on to explain that the company is always improving the safety features of global and Australian-market cars, including the forward-facing camera technology as revealed in the development vehicles.

“This is a technology that is present in GM vehicles across the world and facilitates features such as lane departure warning and forward collision alert,” he said.

“Safety is our first priority and something we’re always looking to improve.”

If a new Colorado is imminent, it will be one of the last to join a veritable one-tonne ute update frenzy that rolled out through 2015, with almost all key players in the light-commercial ute segment introducing new or updated models.

With a major improvement to safety and driver assistance kit, the Colorado will be given a significant boost in the increasingly popular market.

Despite its age, the Colorado continues to be a strong player in a market flooded with fresher faces. While Toyota careered ahead in 2015 with a whopping 35,161 sales of its HiLux, Ford’s Ranger managed second place with 29,185 and the Mitsubishi Triton found 25,338 homes. The Colorado still managed fourth place and 18,520 registrations.

Its sustained performance has been in part thanks to a steady succession of updates including the introduction of a limited-edition kit-boosted LS-X in October 2015, which followed the heavily tricked-out Z71 that arrived in June.

Its last major range-wide update was in November 2014 when the Colorado and Colorado 7 were given a more compliant ride without compromising its off-road ability, as well as a dose of extra kit.

GoAuto follows the development of Holden’s key models closely and has published images of earlier Colorado development vehicles. In February last year we revealed pictures of a mule parked outside a rural Victorian dealership, which showed signs of towing, handling and load testing.

Those developments are likely to have been engineered into the most recently spied and road-registered vehicles, in addition to the more obvious styling changes.

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