EXTENSIVELY REDESIGNED AND RE-ENGINEERED, THE 2017 HOLDEN COLORADO IS OUT TO CLAIM SCALPS - 4X4 UTES AND TWIN-CABS - FROM TOYOTA AND FORD.
The face is more assertive than before, the interior oozes quality where the last one underwhelmed, and refinement has been improved.
To be blunt, Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux ought to be worried about what the 2017 HoldenColorado update has achieved. The new model is, finally, something for Holden buyers to get excited about.
Vehicle Style: 4x4 dual cab ute
Price: $37,490 - 54,490 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 147kW/440Nm-500Nm 2.8 4cyl turbo diesel | 6sp automatic, 6sp manual
Fuel Economy Claimed: 8.6-8.7 l/100km | Tested: 10.7 l/100km
Holden wants you to know that this isn’t a ute, it’s a truck - at least that’s how their marketing department would like it represented. It is, one assumes, a branding message to conjure up images of ruggedness and longevity.
At the same time the new Colorado is also quieter, smoother and calmer on-road than before… that doesn’t sound very truck-like, does it?
Truth is, this Colorado is designed and engineered to succeed. Yes, comfort and handling are improved, no ruggedness and off-roadability haven’t been diminished.
There are also more accessories to dress your Colorado up, resulting in more reasons to take pride in your purchase. And, inside, there’s less of a base-model feel, meaning the new Colorado fits more comfortably as a family car, as well as a tool of the trade.
The range spans 4x2 and 4x4 models, single, extra, and dual cab, pick-up and cab-chassis variants.
At the Colorado’s launch in South East Queensland, we were kept in 4x4 dual-cab variants (and were left with no reason to feel that the other models in the range might let the team down).
- LS: Air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, 16-inch steel wheels, cloth seat trim, auto headlights, body coloured door handles and mirrors, reversing camera (pick-up only)
- LT: (in addition to LS) Side steps, carpet floor covering, front fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels
- LTZ: (in addition to LT) Climate control, remote start (auto only), tyre pressure monitoring, heated power folding mirrors, powered driver’s seat, rain-sensing wipers, LED tail lights, chrome mirror caps, soft tonneau cover, 18-inch machined alloy wheels
- Z71: (in addition to LTZ) Leather seat trim, heated front seats, Z71 decal package, black door handles, mirrors, grille, and side mouldings, Rear sail plane sports bar, 18-inch Arsenal Grey alloy wheels
- Infotainment: 7.0 inch touchscreen (LS, LT) or 8.0 inch touchscreen (LTZ, Z71) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone projection, AM/FM/DAB radio, USB input, steering wheel controls, six-speaker audio (dual cab), seven Speaker audio dual can LTZ and above, satellite navigation (LTZ, Z71)
- Options Available: Leather seat trim with heated front seats (LTZ), Reversing camera (all cab chassis variants)
The redesigned dashboard of the MY17 Colorado is a quantum leap forward in terms of design compared to the outgoing model, looking more contemporary, and featuring higher quality materials and finishes.
The previous circular climate control panel has made way for a new system that borrows design logic (like the screens inside the knob faces) from the VF Commodore, making it easier to use at a glance.
The latest generation of Holden’s MyLink infotainment is also included across the range, with either a 7.0 or 8.0 inch screen providing responsive access to infotainment, navigation, and smartphone mirroring via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The seat coverings have been revised as well, with new colours and contrast stitching, while models equipped with leather benefit from new quality standards at the factory for an improved wrinkle-free finish.
Space was never a problem in the Colorado Crew Cab, and that’s still the case with big, broad front seats capable of accommodating wide frames. There's also enough room in the rear to pile three co-workers (or rowdy teens on the weekend) without a fight for elbow room.
Sad news for hoarders though, the dual glovebox of the last Colorado has been nixed, and the centre console isn’t as big as it appears, though resigned door trims make better use of the available space.
Iced coffee fans might miss the previous milk carton-holding cup holders in the dash, replaced with removable cup rings in their place.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the Colorado’s steering wheel. It's not the last word in modern design and falls a little short of the kind of ‘tough truck’ appeal of the rest of the car (but it’s hardly a deal-breaker).
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 147kW/500Nm (400Nm manual) 2.8 litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic, or six-speed manual, four wheel drive
- Suspension: Double wishbone front, leaf spring rear
- Brakes: 300mm front ventilated discs, 395mm rear drums
- Steering: Electric power steering, 12.7m turning circle
- Towing Capacity: 3500kg braked, 750kg unbraked
The fresh face and dashboard overhaul are only part of the story. Under the skin the Colorado has had a thorough engineering makeover as part of a global upgrade, with key input provided by GM’s Australian engineers.
Repositioned balance shafts and extra sound insulation help calm the engine, a new Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber quells vibrations fed through the torque converter of automatic models, and new body mounts provide a stiffer mounting system.
Under the bonnet the 2.8 litre turbo diesel engine produces the same 147kW of power and 500Nm of torque (440Nm for manual versions) as before, however the new engine meets Euro 5 emissions compliance.
Fuel consumption also improves, as low as 7.9 l/100km for all manuals and 8.6 l/100km for 4x2 auto and between 8.6 and 8.7 l/100km for 4x4 automatic, depending on variant.
On the road the changes are immediately obvious. The vibrations that once transferred from the engine to the cabin are greatly reduced, and although there’s still plenty of tell-tale diesel noise as revs build, during steady-state cruising the engine has been calmed right down.
Vehicles we drove at launch varied from unladen, to lightly loaded with 200kg, or more seriously laden with 500kg. With nothing in the back, the Colorado - built for load hauling after all - can skip about a bit on corrugated surfaces.
In general though, the ride is comfortable enough to absorb most bumps and dips, and, with a small amount of weight over the rear axle and stumbling across a fairly gnarly fire trail, the Colorado exhibited surprising composure, keeping occupants settled when the going got tough.
The Colorado’s on-road manners are greatly improved too, thanks to a combination of lower noise and vibration, and retuned steering with less turns lock-to-lock for a more responsive feel.
The result is a less truck-like feel behind the wheel and greater long-distance comfort.
Without any lengthy time behind the wheel of the manual Colorado we can’t say too much about it, however a shorter final drive ratio (from 3.71 to 4.1) means the manual Colorado is better able to compensate for its small torque shortfall.
The six-speed automatic is a great match to the 500Nm Duramax diesel, and is expected to be the more popular option. Able to handle the grunt smoothly and cleverly, and even throwing in some car-like touches like downshifting under brakes.
Although you may not be fooled into mistaking the Colorado for a passenger car, it's certainly less agricultural than the previous model, and is now a match for segment leaders.
For family buyers in particular, those pressed into double duty as workhorses and the family conveyance, should meet the approval of all family members.
ANCAP Rating: 5-Stars - the Colorado range scored 34.89 out of 37 possible points when tested in 2016.
Safety Features: Dual cab models come with even airbags (dual front, front side, curtain, driver’s knee), front pretensioning seatbelts, traction and stability control, ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, and a rear view camera (expect cab chassis models)
LTZ and Z71 include forward collision warning, tyre pressure monitoring, and lane departure warning.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Servicing: Holden’s Lifetime Capped Price Servicing program covers the Colorado’s nine-month/15,000km service intervals. The first four services are priced at $349 each, with the next three at $409 each.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
Things have never been quite so good (or so fresh) in the 4x4 ute market, but Holden finally has a worthy adversary for the Ford Ranger. We'll put them side-by-side soon to see which one gets the bacon.
The Colorado does however beat out the Nissan Navara for refinement, if not ride comfort of the coil spring dual cab range. When it comes to smooth and quiet though (not to mention inexpensive), the new Mitsubishi Triton is hard to beat.
The Colorado also topples the interior of the latest Toyota HiLux (despite Toyota’s best efforts in that department), undercuts it on price, and out-grunts it all in one fell swoop.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Holden really is very serious about improving its vehicles to shake-down the best cars in each segment, and that focus extends from little guys like the Spark all the way up to the Colorado.
More than just window dressing, parent company GM has even overhauled the factory in Thailand to deliver better paint and build quality.
The end result is a new truck that’s vastly improved compared to the outgoing model, and, thanks to its improved front styling should have little trouble luring buyers back into Holden showrooms.
Not only that, but Holden has ramped up its efforts on genuine accessories, providing more choices than ever before as well as ensuring that five-star safety remains with a genuine bull bar or nudge bar in place.
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