2014 HOLDEN COLORADO REVIEW
What’s hot: Very strong diesel engine, new improved gearbox and handling tweaks.
What’s not: Still the same dodgy plastic interior.
X-FACTOR: Excellent off-road ability with terrific fuel economy; one built for work and play.
Vehicle style: Large SUV/Utility
Price: $27,990 - $52,190
Engine/trans: 147kW/470Nm (500Nm auto) 2.8 diesel | 6spd manual/auto
Fuel consumption l/100km listed: 9.2 | tested:10.2 (auto) | 9.4 (manual)
While perhaps a little underdone, it has done well for Holden, going after the big-selling Toyota HiLux and now sporting a 5-Star ANCAP safety rating.
The MY14 Colorado is an annual tweak of the range, with a few detail changes.
It's still no oil-painting and no matter what model you're in, it fails to disguise its commercial vehicle origins.
We drove the 4x4 Single, Crew Cabs and Colorado 7 wagon in some pretty tough off-road environments.
The MY14 update picks up a few interior changes.
The Colorado 7 is 'Grand Canyon big' and always will be. The dual-cab is also reasonably spacious while leaving a decent-sized tray; the single-cab basic ute has a huge tray.
All models, bar the farm-special DX, get the new 7-inch MyLink touchscreen, addressing one of the key grumbles of customers of MY13.
This MyLink is the better one, as already seen in Trax and Malibu, with a seriously slick interface for use with Pandora, Stitcher, TuneIn and BringGo apps. It's a much nicer-looking system than the dinkier-looking versions on the Commodore and Cruze.
MyLink-equipped Colorados also get a dealer-fitted reversing camera option.
The screen is mounted on a slightly more upright dashboard and a redesigned centre-stack to cater for it. The climate control in the Colorado 7 and truck is a very compact and a very clever design.
Front and middle-row passengers have plenty of room in all directions while the back row, a fairly upright pair, is a little tight but ok for the smaller passengers.
The seats are basic but comfortable in all models and the cloth/velour combination is pleasant enough. The leather option is slippery but will probably hose out as well as the vinyl of the DX.
The middle-row folds flat and also tumbles forward in its 60/40 sections, but the rear-row creates a fairly high shelf. Either way, it does increase the load bay considerably.
The load height with all the covers and bits and bobs is high and the spare is slung underneath the car, so no unpacking on muddy/dirty roads to get at it.
Storage abounds with a dashtop tray, two gloveboxes, a tray under the steering column, door pockets, deep central console bin and a pair of cupholders in the console and in the rear armrest. The console bin also holds the USB port.
Sadly, the interior plastics are still on the wrong side of hard and brittle, especially when compared with similar offerings from Ford, VW and Toyota.
The top glovebox lid is particularly bendy and the dash-top bin didn't fit properly on all the cars we bashed around in.
The fit around the cabin is also slightly suspect with glimpses of metal between gaps (though these were 'pilot build cars').
When TMR asked about the interior, we were told to "watch this space."
On the safety front, all but bench-seat equipped models are now equipped with side front airbags. This is added to the dual front airbags and full-length curtain bags.
ON AND OFF THE ROAD
The Colorado's dynamics have had a few detail changes to lift overall performance.
The engine range has been reduced to one, the 2.8 litre Duramax. All models see a gain of 17kW to 147kW while the automatic picks up 30Nm to a nice round 500Nm.
The manual doesn't see the extra torque but gets an extra gear to compensate, taking the cog count to six to deal with a still-considerable 470Nm. First gear in both is perfect to picking your way down steep climbs.
Even the novice AWDer, with some suitable guidance, won't need the hill-descent control. The Colorado also picks up hill-start assist and trailer sway control.
The big ladder-frame chassis may not be the benchmark on the road, with plenty of body roll, but the long travel suspension provides a comfortable ride and should keep all six of your passengers reasonably happy.
Steering is a little vague and disconnected from the road surface, but that will have a lot to do with big, baggy Bridgestones.
We didn't get a lot of around-town experience, but you can count on a few nervous moments manoeuvring the Colorado around tighter city streets with many turns lock-to-lock.
Off-road, both the dual-cab Colorado and Colorado 7 proved to be very accomplished. We scrambled up and down extremely steep, rocky paths that troubled those on foot let alone huge four-wheel-drives.
The newly calibrated automatic, one of the standout issues with the MY13 is much, much better. The transmission is smarter on the downhill and uphill when in low range, preventing the lurching, hunting progress of the old 'box.
The manual box feels a little like stirring porridge with a long wand, finding reverse can be a bit of pain but once you're used to it, you should have no trouble.
Apart from that, both wagon and ute cruise reasonably quietly at just over 100km/h in two- or four-wheel drive, with a bit of a grumble at exactly 100.
While you'll know there's a diesel up front, but it's quiet enough and with that fat torque curve, easy to get along smoothly.
In low-range, you feel like you can drive up a wall, again because of the huge torque.
FIRST DRIVE VERDICT
Holden's product people call the Colorado and Colorado 7 "a truck", and trucks they are.
That's not to say they're uncivilised - the addition of MyLink and a few extra niceties to all but the DX cow-pusher see to that - but the range is as tough as old guts.
Both ute and wagon can be an absolute hoot off-road, especially if you know what you're doing. Weekend warriors and big-fleet buyers would seem to be warming to the capabilities of these Holden 'trucks'.
And with no price rise on the MY13, except for the $200 on auto-equipped Truck versions, both old and new owners will be kept happy on the financial front.
The MY14 is an improvement on MY13, bringing it much closer to the Ranger/Amarok/Hilux crowd. It's big, torquey and will tow 3.0 tonnes while packed with kids and gear.
It may not be quite there yet, but its 5-star ANCAP and sharp pricing more than make up for it.
Pricing (excludes on-road costs)
4x2 SINGLE CAB
- LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT - $27,990
- LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT - $30,190
4x2 CREW CAB
- LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT - $33,990
- LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT - $36,190
- LX Pickup 2.8L TD MT - $35,490
- LX Pickup 2.8L TD AT - $37,690
- LT Pickup 2.8L TD MT - $36,490
- LT Pickup 2.8L TD AT - $38,690
- LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD MT - $40,990
- LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD AT - $43,190
4x4 SINGLE CAB
- 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 - $38,190
4x4 SPACE CAB
- LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT - $40,490
- LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT - $42,690
- LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD MT - $47,490
- LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD AT - $49,690
4x4 CREW CAB
- LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT - $42,990
- LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT - $45,190
- LX Pickup 2.8L TD MT - $44,490
- LX Pickup 2.8L TD AT - $46,690
- LT Pickup 2.8L TD MT - $45,490
- LT Pickup 2.8L TD AT - $47,690
- LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD MT - $49,990
- LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD AT - $52,190
COLORADO 7 4X4
- LT SUV 2.8L TD AT - $46,990
- LTZ SUV 2.8L TD AT - $50,490