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New models - Holden - Colorado 7

First drive: Holden Colorado 7 a tough sell

Tough guy: Holden's Colorado 7 shares its ute namesake's diesel powertrain and ladder chassis.

Rugged seven-seat Colorado 7 takes Holden back to the Jackaroo heartland


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28 Nov 2012

HOLDEN says its new Colorado 7’s tough off-road truck DNA and three-tonne towing capacity will draw a different type of buyer to Toyota’s more “soft-roader” Toyota Prado.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the company’s first body-on-frame 4WD since the demise of the Jackaroo a decade ago, Holden sales and marketing executive director Phil Brook said a sizeable corner of the expanding SUV segment prioritised rugged 4x4 ability, significant towing capability and seven-person seating capacity.

Backed up by the established Captiva 7 in the lower end, he said he was confident the Colorado 7 would give Holden one of the broadest coverages of any manufacturer. “The Prado is more of a soft-roader/off-roader blend, and we’ve got a great soft-roader already with the Captiva,” Mr Brook said.

“We sell about 1500 Captivas per month. The Colorado 7 has that extra off-road capability, and so we see it as a vehicle for people who have a specific purpose – towing particularly, as well as for off-road.”

While Holden won’t divulge sales projections, Mr Brook hinted the Colorado 7 would only sell in small numbers each month.

“We don’t see it as a mass-market soft-roader like the Captiva,” he said.

“Frankly, in terms of volume we don’t know how it’s going to perform.”

Holden looked at resurrecting the Jackaroo nameplate in Australia, but decided that leveraging the Colorado one-truck truck’s growing reputation as a tough go-anywhere vehicle was easier and more cost-effective than having to relaunch a dormant brand – especially since sticking a ‘7’ connects the newcomer with its Captiva 7 stablemate.

Likewise, the newcomer’s international-market nameplate Trailblazer was also briefly considered but rejected for the same budgetary constraints.

“We looked at Jackaroo as an option, as well as Trailblazer,” Mr Brook said.

“We’ve got a great brand in Colorado that we’ve been building over the last five years since we transitioned across from Rodeo, so we thought ‘why don’t we leverage that’ since it is also a tough go-anywhere truck that shares its componentry.”

Holden decided from the outset of the Colorado 7 program in 2009 to forgo the V6 petrol engine that it builds at Fishermans Bend, as well as the manual transmission models General Motors also offers abroad.

That’s why both models – the $46,990 LT and $50,490 LTZ that is expected to be the more popular of the duo – employ the same 2.8-litre common-rail direct-injection double-overhead cam 16-valve four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine found in the RG utility, delivering 132kW of power at 3800rpm and 470Nm of torque at 2000rpm.

Driving the rear wheels in 2WD mode via a six-speed automatic gearbox with Active Select sequential manual capability and shift calibrations that have been specially modified for its SUV role, this Euro-IV emissions-rated unit returns 9.4 litres per 100km and 252 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide.

Colorado 7 employs a five-link rear axle instead of leaf spring suspension of the ute, although everything from the B-pillar forward is pure pick-up – including the independent double-wishbone and coil spring front suspension and power-assisted rack and pinion steering.

No specific Australian tuning changes were engineered due to the relatively small volume Holden will be sourcing out of the Thailand plant.

Nevertheless, aiding its off-road credentials, the Colorado 7 separate chassis architecture includes fully boxed frame rails and welded construction for improved stiffness, stability and strength, Holden says, backed up by ‘welded-in-place’ steel reinforcements.

Fitted with a two-speed electronically actuated part-time transfer case with 2WD high, 4WD high and 4WD low modes, it allows for shift-on-the-fly capability via a console-sited rotary switch.

The low mode has a 2.62:1 ratio for demanding off-road terrain. A neutral position allows towing.

Speaking of which, its towing capacity of 3.0-tonne is 500kg less than for the 4x4 ute.

Along with rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, standard issue items include dual front airbags and full-length curtain airbags that extend to the third row, as well as ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, traction control, ESC, hill descent control, hill-start assist, limited-slip differential, front seatbelt pretensioners with load limiters and front seatbelt sash height adjustment. The result is an ANCAP five-star crash-test safety rating.

Even the base LT includes cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured doorhandles and mirrors, side steps, front foglights, front and rear mudflaps, aluminium roof rails, leather-bound multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and auxiliary inputs, rear air-conditioning controls with second and third row air vents, 60/40 tumble-fold removable second row seats and 50/50 folding third row seats.

The LTZ features 18-inch alloys, projector headlamps, LED tail-lights, chrome trim, chrome power-folding side mirrors, leather seat upholstery, six-way electric adjustable driver’s seat, climate control, upgraded interior materials, and an eight-speaker audio system with amplifier.

Cargo capacity is rated to 1830 litres with the second and third row seats folded, while there are about 30 storage facilities.

Brakes are 300mm diameter discs up front and 318mm discs in the rear, while tyre choices are 245/70R16 111S (LT) and 265/60R18 11OT (LTZ). Both models have a 16-inch steel spare slung underneath the vehicle.

The Colorado also comes with Holden’s Capped Price Servicing scheme, covering the first four standard scheduled logbook services for the first three years or 60,000km, for $295.

Holden new model pricing*
Colorado 7
LT (a)$46,990
LTZ (a)$50,490
*Plus on-road costs

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