2012 Holden Colorado LX Manual 4x4 On-Road Review Photo:
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What's Hot
Brawny performance; safety, space and ?presence? in spades.
What's Not
Engine can be a little gruff, interior quality needs work.
Built for work, and tough as nails, but ?softened? - just enough - to be an everyday drive.
Kez Casey | Oct, 01 2012 | 8 Comments


Vehicle Style: Double cab 4x4 utility.
Price: $44,490 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy claimed: 9.1 l/100km | tested: 9.4 l/100km



If you haven’t noticed the change in commercial vehicles in Australia, you seriously haven’t been watching.

Now, just as many are being purchased for their ‘lifestyle’ versatility as work vehicles. And manufacturers have not been slow in recognising the opportunity.

Volkswagen has its Amarok, Ford and Mazda the Ranger and BT-50. Even Isuzu’s D-Max comes with creature comforts as well as a gut-busting appetite for work.

So with all that choice - not to mention Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Nissan - we set out to see where the new Colorado sits in the new car toolbox.



Quality: The interior style of the Colorado is greatly improved over its predecessor, offering a little flair to set it apart from ‘all work and no play’ utes.

Hop in though and there’s a lot of hard surfaces on the dash and door trims, the latter in particular are easy to mark, with our tester showing signs of wear-and-tear around the door handles.

In terms of build, the Colorado stacks up alright. All panel-joins align neatly, ventilation controls feel sturdy, and nothing squeaks or rattles.

Comfort: Work ute? What work ute? As with its class-competitors, the Colorado has ditched hard wearing vinyl and rubber for fabric seats and carpet floors. A boon for comfort, but not always welcomed by those on farms and worksites.

Big, wide seats up front will handle the biggest blokes pretty easily, and have enough shaping for most frames. Height-adjustable steering helps getting set at the wheel, but lacks reach adjustment. (Which wasn’t a problem for my lanky ape-arms.)

In the rear, the cramped quarters and upright seating position of the old model are consigned to yesterday: the Colorado’s bigger dimensions mean more rear space, both in length and width, and allow a more comfortable seating position for those in the back.

Equipment: As the entry point to the Colorado 4x4 range, the LX comes with trip-computer, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, power mirrors and windows, Bluetooth and audio streaming, along with 3.5mm and mini-USB jacks, remote central locking and alarm, rear step and air conditioning

Storage: Up to 1084 kilograms can be loaded into the tub of the Colorado crew cab, with a standard tub (without the accessory canopy as shown) measuring 1552mm long, 1534mm wide (1122mm between wheel arches) and 481mm deep.

Inside there’s plenty of storage space with dual gloveboxes, a roomy centre console, deep door-pockets with bottle holders, and under-seat storage for the rear bench.

There’s also a dash-top lidded bin and outboard cup-holders that not only place your drink in front of the vents to help keep them cold, but with the top section slid back, can also accommodate an iced-coffee carton (sadly there’s still no pie holder though) - other manufacturers take note!



Driveability: Colorado’s new Duramax diesel may adopt its name from the American engine series, but the origins of the engine lie with italian company VM Motori (which also manufactures diesel engines for Jeep and London Taxis International, among others).

In 4x4 models, the engines measures 2.8 litres capacity with 132kW of power @3800rpm and 440Nm of torque @2000rpm. We had the manual for this test, but in automatic versions there’s an extra 30Nm of torque available.

Off the line the Colorado isn’t afraid to show what it's got, and can be happily launched in second gear when unladen.

From there it will rev freely to cut-out, but there’s no real need to push it too far beyond 2500rpm, just slot it into the next gear and utilise the bulky torque peak.

It has no trouble running with the hounds in the traffic, and barely notices hills such is the power and torque underfoot.

The gearbox is fairly user-friendly too; the gate is a little vague, but clear enough to avoid miscueing gear changes. With extra weight on board we were looking for an extra ratio to keep power delivery a little more even.

As for the clutch, after sitting in peak hour traffic there was no left leg cramps so weighting isn’t an issue.

Unlike the Volkswagen Amarok which demands a perfect marriage of revs and friction point, the Colorado is far more forgiving - a setup that suits off-roading or towing much better.

Refinement: It isn’t all good news for the Colorado’s engine however, there’s plenty of vibrations that filter past the firewall and into the cabin.

You’ll notice this most when stationary, but after a couple of hours at the wheel the vibrations transferred along the steering column can be tiresome.

The trademark diesel rattle is no stranger either; there’s enough noise generated to remind you this is a workhorse first and foremost.

There’s no doubt Ford’s Ranger shades the Colorado for refinement, though the Colorado’s road and wind noise is well-damped.

Suspension: Holden’s switch to a coil-sprung, wishbone type independent front-end helps with on-road accuracy, while still maintaining generous ground clearance and wheel articulation.

At the rear, a load-hauling leaf-sprung, rigid axle rear-end is deployed. As usual, this means the rear can be a little skittish with an empty tub, but by the time you add the implements of work or play the Colorado settles.

Suspension tune has been honed to Australian conditions. With a crew on board, but admittedly not much in the tub, we liked the way the Colorado rode over corrugated gravel roads and its ability to take a big hit in its stride.

Braking: Packing 300mm ventilated front discs and rear drums, the Colorado pulls up well.

There’s a long pedal-stroke for ease of control. It’s also free of ‘grabbing’ when unladen. In the wet or with plenty of gear on board, stopping length increases, but not so much to be of great concern.



ANCAP rating: 5 Stars

Safety features: Dual front airbags and full length curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, EBD, stability and traction control, front seatbelt pretensioners with adjustable shoulder height and three-point belts in all seating positions.



Warranty: Three years/100,000 kilometres.

Service costs: Service intervals are set at nine months or 15,000km. The Colorado is covered by Holden’s capped price servicing plan, with a maximum service cost of $295 for the first four services within three years or 60,000km.



Volkswagen Amarok TDI400 Trendline ($45,990) - If your workload includes more family duties with less rough and tumble, the Amarok might be the way to go. A more inviting, car-like interior is a welcome addition to the category.

There’s also the choice of comfort or load-rated rear suspension, but the Amarok just doesn’t feel as gutsy as bigger engined utes when the going gets tough. (see Amarok reviews)

Ford Ranger XL ($46,390) - TMR selected the Ranger (and BT-50) as 2011’s Top Buy and thanks to its spread of talents it shines. Well-equipped, strong, refined and capable off-road.

For the budget-conscious there’s a cheaper 2.2 litre four-cylinder option, but for hard working applications Ranger’s 3.2 litre five-cylinder diesel is hard to beat. (see Ranger reviews)

Mitsubishi Triton GL-R ($44,990) - Like the top-selling Hilux, the Triton is starting to show its age, both inside and out. Driving dynamics are more agricultural next to the Colorado, but the 2.5 litre diesel isn’t too far off the boil.

For peace of mind, Triton models also come with a warranty period two years longer than competitors. (see Triton reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.



If you’re in the market for a diesel dual-cab ute, there has never been more choice.

But before buying, we’d advise that you decide where your priorities lie. The work-vehicle origins of some, like the Colorado and D-Max, are a little more evident, while others, like the Amarok, offer more on-road comfort and refinement.

After a week of mixed duty, we’d have to say the Colorado probably fits the ‘work’ role a little better. If you’ve got a wider duty-roster in mind, with more family or lifestyle pursuits planned, we’d suggest Amarok or Ranger.

Ford’s Ranger perhaps straddles both camps better than all.

What does impress with the Colorado though is a diesel engine that offers stump-pulling torque, good fuel economy, and tractable on-road power and performance.

And no complaints about a modern interior that has grown to fit a work crew, and protect them with 5-Star ANCAP safety - even with a bull-bar.



4x2 SINGLE CAB Body Engine Transmission RRP
DX Cab Chassis 2.5L TD MT $26,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $27,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT $29,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $33,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT $35,990
LX Pickup 2.8L TD MT $35,490
LX Pickup 2.8L TD AT $37,490
LT Pickup 2.8L TD MT $36,490
LT Pickup 2.8L TD AT $38,490
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD MT $40,990
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD AT $42,990
DX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $34,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $35,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT $37,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $40,490
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT $42,490
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD MT $47,490
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD AT $49,490
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $42,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT $44,990
LX Pickup 2.8L TD MT $44,490
LX Pickup 2.8L TD AT $46,490
LT Pickup 2.8L TD MT $45,490
LT Pickup 2.8L TD AT $47,490
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD MT $49,990
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD AT $51,990

Note: pricing excludes on-road costs.

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