Single-cab utes – the ‘go-to’ vehicle for tradies, couriers and rural buyers. In this league, Holden lifted its game considerably last year with the launch of the all-new Colorado range.
Designed in Brazil and with an interior crafted by Holden’s Kirsty Lindsay, the Colorado is a global product for General Motors. It is intended to capture sales in this sub-segment of utes which is burgeoning in South-East Asia and South America…so the Commodore ute sells alongside here in Australia.
And sell they do – the Australian light commercial segment continues to grow and last year’s total of 124,536 ute sales seems certain to be beaten this year.
Holden Colorado Overview
Holden offers the Colorado in 26 variants over four model grades – entry-level DX from $26,990 (2.5-litre turbo-diesel and single cab only), mid-spec LX (2.8-litre turbo-diesel and single cab or crew cab), LT (2.8-litre turbo-diesel, crew-cab only) and range-topping LTZ (2.8-litre turbo-diesel, crew cab only).
Car Showroom tested the Holden Colorado LX single cab priced at $27,990. Over the entry-grade DX, the LX gains extras like cruise control, carpet, six-speaker audio, Multifunction steering wheel controls, leather-wrapped steering wheel, electric mirrors and front bucket seats.
Significantly, Holden Colorados powered by the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel provide a towing capacity of 3.5-tonnes – and that counts for a lot in this segment – and some models afford a payload up to 1.4-tonnes.
No less important is safety (many utes are bought by companies with OH&S obligations to employees driving company vehicles) and the Holden Colorado doesn’t short-change with standard electronic stability control, ABS anti-lock brakes, front airbags for driver and passenger and full-length curtain airbags.
The Colorado comes from the General Motors’ plant in Rayong, Thailand.
Holden Colorado Engine
The 2.8-litre turbo-diesel is new for Holden. With 132kW at 3800rpm and 470Nm from 2000rpm the 2.8-litre provides 10 per-cent more power and 40 per-cent more torque than the old 3.0-litre diesel.
Fuel consumption is as low as 7.8l/100kms.
It’s a lusty performer with plenty of mid-range grunt (as you would expect) and as tough as they come (designed to operate in some markets offering less than hospitable conditions using fuel of dubious quality).
Holden Colorado The Interior
Holden’s Kirsty Lindsay is gaining quite a reputation – first the interior of the Holden Colorado and this year the all-new VF Commodore. A colour and trim designer, Kirsty’s challenge with the Colorado (where she worked at GM in Brazil) was to provide appeal and comfort for global markets coupled with durability and toughness.
Climbing inside our Holden Colorado LX the first impression was spaciousness with plenty of shoulder and footwell room even for large blokes (some rivals get a bit ‘pinchy’ for the stature of many ute buyers). The nicely shaped dashboard contributes to that roomy feel and the modern-looking gauges stamp the all-new Colorado as significantly more modern and up-market than its predecessor.
Tradies and those who use their ute for work will be pleased to find numerous locations to store odds-&-ends (curiously not always a strong point of ute interiors).
Holden Colorado Exterior & Styling
Crafting an all-new line of utes which would appeal to varying international markets was no insignificant undertaking and along the journey design clinics with real ute buyers were held in Australia, Thailand and Brazil.
We like the outcome – the Holden Colorado has cues to the larger North American pickups for which GM is famous, but with proportions adjusted for its smaller overall size. The front-end has some nice flair with a blend of muscle and stylish highlights.
Some sculpturing for the roofline, doors and front fenders adds some ‘sizzle’ and lends the Holden Colorado a modern look to compete with the segment’s other newcomers – Ford Ranger and Mazda BT50.
And of you want to give your Holden Colorado a bit more ‘pizzaz’ Holden and its suppliers developed a massive range of accessories, many of which are unique for the Aussie specification (they’re not sold in other markets).
Holden Colorado On The Road
We didn’t load-up our Holden Colorado like tradies and couriers do, but we can report it successfully transported our new barbeque home!
If you haven’t driven a ute for a while you’ll be surprised how well the new generation models, like the Holden Colorado, drive when empty (previously the rear-ends got jittery when there was no weight in the cargo area). In Holden’s case this is thanks to smart calibration of the rear leaf springs and front double wishbone/coil springs.
Our LX Colorado with its 2.8-litre turbo-diesel offered plenty of acceleration (enough to test the ESC when pushed in the wet) and was strong on mid-range acceleration – just as you need when towing.
Ride and handling was very competent although not quite in the league of the Ford Ranger/Mazda BT50 for refinement.
However in the city, Holden Colorado’s 12.7-metres turning circle didn’t help maneuverability.
Holden Colorado Challenges
Hard-working and with nice performance no doubt, Holden’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel was a little noisy first thing in the morning and likewise when called upon to overtake at freeway speeds. It’s nowhere near as bad as some Chinese rivals however.
Holden Colorado Verdict
Holden has the Colorado cab-chassis very sharply priced (starting at $26,990 for the DX and $27,990 for the LX as tested). Colorado toughness comes standard.
And while all major rivals are undoubtedly suited for a solid working life, for us it’s the looks of the Holden Colorado which stands it apart from some. Designed in Brazil for global markets, the Holden Colorado hints at full-size American pickups and thus has an on-road presence which leaves many rivals looking a tad bland.
And from the moment you climb inside and turn the key, the Holden Colorado exudes toughness for whatever the day may bring for work or recreation. But the Colorado is still comfortable and equipped for long hours behind the wheel.
And never forget Holden Colorado’s 3.5-tonne towing capacity for 2.8-litre models like we tested – a definite plus.
Holden Colorado The Competition
Toyota Hi-Lux dominates this segment. Not the lowest-priced choice, Hi-Lux outsells its nearest rival by better than two-to-one and is the best-selling vehicle outright in both Queensland and West Australia – and therein lies a clue to some of its best buyers, the large fleet customers in mining and agriculture companies.
Both Ford and Mazda are doing brisk business with the closely-related Ranger and BT50 models. The Ranger in particular is closely priced to the Holden Colorado and both benefit from Ford’s extensive local engineering and testing (Ranger was created by Ford Australia for global markets and thus enjoys the most localized development of any vehicle in this segment).
Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton are also on the ‘must consider’ list – tough, capable and well-proven over the journey.