WALKINSHAW HIGH-RIDER AND LOW-RIDER COLORADO 4X4 REVIEW
What’s hot: Vastly improved handling and style, still carries a load
What’s not: That underdone Colorado interior
X-FACTOR: Tougher style, and the right handling tweaks from Walkinshaw, transforms this tough trade ute
Vehicle style: Twin-cab 4X4 sports utility
Xtreme kit pricing: $6990 (available for all Colorado 4X2 and 4X4 models)
Engine/trans: 147kW/500Nm; 2.8 diesel | 5spd auto
Fuel consumption listed: 9.2 l/100km | tested: 10.5 l/100km
No issues with the stout 2.8 litre diesel under the bonnet, nor the ability to handle a load, but the Colorado’s ‘boaty’ ride and handling hasn’t quite made par… until now.
What a difference the right suspension kit and wheel combo makes.
The result is the Xtreme twins, each vastly improved in looks and handling over the standard Colorado rig.
How you intend to use the car, will determine which twin is right for you.
The X-treme High-Rider gets a lift at the front - increasing ground clearance and ramp-over angles - the Low-Rider has the tub lowered.
And the result is tasty. Nice fat bespoke Walkinshaw alloys, Bilstein struts and dampers, new rear springs and the neat insertion of a pair of DRLs into the front bumper (additional to the kit), have these Colorados turning heads.
The Walkinshaw kits add a $6990 premium to the standard Colorado.
The toughened style and transformed handling would suggest that those are shekels well spent.
(It’s easy to burn $10k in aftermarket suspension and wheels and not get the result you want.)
We gave each a good run. If you’re in the market for a working ute that stands a little apart from the pack, we have good things to report.
Well, except nothing to report here. The interior is standard Colorado fare and - we’ve said it before - this is not the best interior in the business.
It has a bits-and-pieces look to it, the odd poor gap and cheap-looking plastics. Which is a shame - surely it can’t be hard for GM to get on even terms with its better competitors here.
The Ranger and Amarok look and feel a generation newer.
And unfortunately, the impression of it being cheap obscures that fact that the Colorado comes well-kitted and with up-to-the-minute communication technologies in the up-spec models.
The seven-inch MyLink touchscreen is a slick piece of work and has an easily navigated interface for finding your way around Pandora, Stitcher, TuneIn and BringGo apps.
It's classier than Ford's SYNC system fitted to the Ranger, and (in these klutzy hands), more easily navigated.
With MyLink comes a dealer-fitted reversing camera option sitting in the updated (last year) centre stack.
That means plenty of room up front, reasonable legroom in the back, and, in the LTZ model, electrically adjustable driver’s seat.
Like most, you also get a wheel that adjusts for rake, but not reach.
In the case of the Colorado, the wheel feels pretty good, with cruise control and audio functions at the finger-tips.
The fabric seats are pretty good. I’d prefer a little more tilt to the squab - a little more under-thigh support wouldn’t go astray - but they proved comfortable on a long run.
ON THE ROAD
Under the bonnet is the stout and durable 2.8 litre Duramax diesel.
This is feisty unit, putting out 147kW and, in automatic form, a very robust 500Nm. (The manual comes with 30Nm less but gets an extra ratio with a six-speed box.)
In the Low-Rider under test, we had a bit more icing on the diesel cake. It came with a 20 percent increase in torque (shoving it up near 600Nm) courtesy of a Walkinshaw-designed tuning chip.
Not slow by any stretch in standard trim, the boosted Low-Rider is very willing on road with a really sharp throttle response. When overtaking, it can get moving very quickly.
And it sounds different. The power boost quietens the diesel rattle and replaces it instead with a gruff appealing groan.
The big news though is in the handling. These Walkinshaw Colorados are like chalk and cheese compared to the ‘factory’ models.
They’ll still carry a load, and drag the Queen Mary up a boat ramp, but they’re far more settled on road, and far more responsive at the wheel.
The Xtreme Low-Rider, our preferred kit, has the ride height at the rear of the vehicle lowered by around 30mm. The front ride height remains the same.
So, despite the moniker, it still sits high with a 4X4 stance (a comma is needed between Xtreme and Low-Rider).
Like the Xtreme High-Rider, it gets bespoke 19x9-inch charcoal grey alloys, but with a Continental Conti Cross Contact road tyre package. The spring rates front and rear are also firmer than on the High-Rider.
Each twin comes with a suspension pack engineered by Walkinshaw Automotive. It includes Bilstein Struts and front and rear dampers with Walkinshaw developed valve coding.
Also down below are Walkinshaw engineered springs with revised spring rates for both models.
The standard Colorado is set-up primarily for load-carrying. That means a very soft front end, and stiff rear springs. And, especially unladen, at speed it can be a handful on undulating or broken bitumen.
The Low-Rider doesn’t ride like a car; it’s still a ute after all. That means there’s a bit of rebound on highway corrugations and hollows, but it’s SO much more settled than the standard Colorado.
It also turns in more eagerly, and is far more responsive (and more fun) when shown a set of corners. Because it sits much flatter, it can carry some surprising speed without getting messy on a winding road.
Importantly, that firmer front end fixes the understeery sway that can make the standard Colorado feel like a bit of a barge.
The High-Rider doesn’t have quiet the dynamics of the Low-Rider. It’s sitting higher, raised by 50mm at the front, and the spring and damper rates are slightly softer.
We had it off-road and on the highway. It’s also improved in both departments.
The Colorado in standard trim is no slouch off-road. You can use the massive torque of that diesel, and good wheel articulation, to clamber up and over nearly anything you’d sensibly point it at.
The extra height and firmer spring settings of the High-Rider doesn’t compromise the articulation but does give it a little more ‘stepping over’ ability.
And, like the Low-Rider, highway travel is also vastly more settled and comfortable than the standard Colorado.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Yep, spend a week with these Walkinshaw Colorado twins and you’ll be left with something to think about.
Our 4/5 stars on-road rating reflects that these are 4X4 trade vehicles. So don’t go expecting Golf GTI performance and handling. The star rating is relevant to the sector.
But, both High-Rider and Low-Rider, these Walkinshaw- enhanced utes are vastly improved Colorados.
And, though the visual enhancements are minor, they look so much tougher than the standard Colorado. On that fat rubber and flattened stance, each has a real US sport-truck look.
The Walkinshaw Xtreme kits will set you back $6990 on top of your Colorado purchase, and another $795 for the DRLs. But you’ll have Saturday morning bragging rights at the timber yard when you show up in one of these twins.
With this kit, the Colorado in handling and style can eyeball Ford’s Ranger Wildtrack (and you’ll have funds left over to put in a leather interior should you want to even up the card).
"The first thing you're going to notice is the improved response and general feel of the car," Tony Harris, Walkinshaw Automotive Group GM, said.
He’s right. You’ll notice it straight away.
The Walkinshaw Xtreme Low-Rider and Xtreme High-Rider Colorados will be available in July and August through participating Holden dealers, mostly limited to Victoria.
If you’re interested, you may need to move quickly.
- Walkinshaw Automotive 19x9-inch Forged Alloy Wheels in Graphite Black Finish (set of 4)
- Continental Conti Cross Contact UHP 255/55 R19 111H TL XL Road Tyres (Xtreme Low Rider)
- Cooper Zeon LTZ 255/55 R19 111H Off-Road Tyres (Xtreme High Rider)
- Walkinshaw Automotive Engineered Suspension Package
- Bilstein Struts, front and rear dampers, bump stops and unique Walkinshaw Automotive developed valve coding.
- Walkinshaw Automotive Engineered Springs with revised spring rates
- Walkinshaw Automotive and Xtreme Decal package
- Walkinshaw Automotive balance of New Vehicle Product Warranty
- Certificate of Authenticity
- Applicable Vehicles: all Colorado 4x2 and 4x4 Models 2012-2014