What’s hot: More refined, quieter and smoother on road, improved interior finish.
What’s not: Some improvements reserved for top-spec models.
X-FACTOR: Genuine off-road ability now mixed with improved on-road compliance; a good family all-rounder.
Vehicle style: Large Utility/SUV
Price: $28,390 - $50,990
Engine/trans: 147kW/440Nm (500Nm auto) 2.8 diesel | 6spd manual/auto
Fuel consumption l/100km listed (Colorado 7): 9.2 | tested: 9.8 (on-road) | 11.7 (beach)
Holden’s refreshed 2015 Colorado range has arrived, bringing interior and suspension refinements to a number of key models in the pickup and SUV lines.
For the new model year, Holden has revised the suspension tune of the top-spec LTZ pickup to make it more compliant on sealed roads, while also introducing improved sound-deadening across the range.
It's an update that buyers will have to experience to notice: the updated Colorado’s outward appearance is identical to the 2014 model.
Sales of the Colorado pickup have grown through 2014 too, in a segment that is generally down around 4.5 percent. The Colorado 7 has also improved its market share this year by around 1.8 percent.
Can this latest update push Colorado sales even further? We took the LTZ in both pickup and SUV body styles through town and to the beach to find out.
Visual interior changes for 2015 are reserved almost entirely for the top-spec LTZ in both Colorado and Colorado 7, which now feature soft-touch areas in jet black, along with piano-black highlights.
There are also heated leather front seats (optional on LTZ Crew Cab), while lower-spec models get new carpets.
Most interior changes however, are invisible to the naked eye.
The 2015 model now sports new inner door padding, new door seals, tighter roof tolerances during manufacturing and more - all aimed at reducing cabin noise for passengers.
Both models retain their spacious interiors, with plenty of room in the front, useful back seats and large cargo areas. The Colorado 7's folding rear seats mean its boot can hold up to 1830 litres.
The Colorado pickup is again available in single-cab, space-cab and crew-cab (or dual-cab) body styles, while the seven-seater Colorado 7 is sold exclusively as an SUV wagon.
Those looking for a Colorado cab/chassis can choose from the single- and crew-cab in 2WD, or the single-, space- and crew-cab in 4WD.
Holden’s MyLink infotainment system carries over for 2015 with a USB port in the centre console bin, and the rest of the interior is also unchanged.
Front seats are comfortable (with electric operation in the LTZ) and do a good job of soaking up the bigger bumps off-road.
A minor complaint would be the traction control in some models: the system itself works fine, but drivers who switch the system off when venturing off-road are greeted with a message in the instrument cluster for roughly two seconds telling them the system is now off - and no warning light to remind them thereafter.
The climate control coped well with a very humid Queensland day, with controls that may look daunting in presentation but are actually simple to use.
Colorado 7 passengers get air-vents for the rear rows with separate controls.
The list of up to 30 storage compartments includes a pair of well-shaped glove boxes, a dash-top storage bin, sunglasses compartment and deep door pockets with drink bottle holders.
Drinks can also be stored in slide-out cup holders, facing both front seat passengers at either end of the dash.
The steering wheel is leather-wrapped and houses audio and phone controls, and the seven-inch touchscreen is mounted high in the dash with clear display graphics.
ON AND OFF THE ROAD
Holden’s aim with the 2015 Colorado and Colorado 7 was to make it quieter with a more compliant ride in urban environments.
So have the changes worked?
In a word; yes. The 2015 model is noticeably quieter in all driving situations, with a particular improvement to engine noise intrusion.
The engine noise is still there - and it’s quite an ‘industrial’ sound from the 2.8 litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine - but it’s mostly noticeable during harder acceleration.
The powerplant still delivers class-leading torque of 500Nm with the optional six-speed automatic transmission (standard in Colorado 7), while power output is 147kW - equal with the Ford Ranger’s larger five-cylinder 3.2 litre diesel engine.
In standard six-speed manual form the Colorado gives up 60Nm over its automatic sibling but despite this, the engine shows no signs of struggle when asked to pull from low RPM in high gears.
Gearshift and clutch interaction are quite good, and the throw from one gear to the next is on-par with the segment standard.
Feedback from Holden customers suggested most buyers of the top-spec LTZ fit into this category, so the carmaker has focused on a ride more suited to its frequented environments.
The new package is called “Comfort Suspension”, and we should stress that only the Colorado LTZ utility gets the revised setup.
With its coil-sprung rear end Holden says it received no such feedback from Colorado 7 customers, so the SUV’s suspension carries-over unchanged into 2015.
The new ride in urban areas for the pickup has improved noticeably, with the rear end now more forgiving over smaller bumps and speed humps.
This is still a commercial ute with a suspension to match, but Holden has sacrificed some of the LTZ’s payload in pursuit of a better ride.
The LTZ is now the only Colorado with a payload below the one-tonne barrier but with a range of 824-927kg (depending on the model), it should be more than capable of carrying the typical LTZ buyers’ chosen cargo.
Those with boats, caravans or horse floats will be relieved to learn the Colorado’s tow rating has not changed, with a maximum 3.5 tonnes for the pickup and 3.0 tonnes for the SUV.
The pickup’s off-road ability has been enhanced by the new suspension, rather than diminished, with some of the new on-road manners transferring to rougher surfaces.
Our test drive covered surfaces changing from smooth to rough gravel, deep soft sand and harder-packed beach sand, with both the pickup and SUV proving to still be serious off-road machines.
The Colorado 7 in particular is a smooth operator on beach sand, although consistent light rain during our drive had made the surface easier to negotiate.
To further their off-road credentials, both models now feature improved hill descent control and hill-start assist systems over the outgoing model.
Our test vehicles had Holden’s optional off-road wheel and Bridgestone tyre package, and it’s an option worth selecting if you plan to spend a decent amount of time off the black stuff.
We chose the Colorado 7 for fuel consumption testing, with the big SUV returning an impressive 9.8 l/100km during urban driving and 11.7 l/100km on the more demanding beach surface.
5-Stars - (crew cab and Colorado 7) 35.09 out of 37 possible points.
4-Stars - (single and space cab) 29.2 out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: Electronic Stability Control, ABS, EBD, traction control, brake assist, front/side/ curtain airbags, rear park assist, rear view camera available.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The Ford Ranger is something of a ‘crowd favourite’ since the arrival of the new model in 2011, but the Toyota HiLux is sales-king in this segment of the market.
Volkswagen’s Amarok offers an alternative with a class-leading eight-speed automatic, but none of the top-spec variants from the models listed below can match the Colorado pickup on price.
The Colorado 7 is in somewhat limited company as a pickup turned family SUV with genuine off-road ability.
At the top of the range, the 7’s Isuzu MU-X cousin is more expensive but the lower-spec MU-X LS-M 4WD undercuts the 7 LT on price, while also offering both manual and automatic transmissions. Also consider the Mitsubishi Challenger.
FIRST DRIVE VERDICT
But in the range-topping LTZ variants, the sales scope for the 2015 model has been enhanced with some considered changes.
The ANCAP 5-star safety rating in up-spec models remains for 2015 along with Holden's capped-price servicing plan, and importantly, so does the 2014 pricing structure.
That means a 2015 Colorado LTZ pickup can be yours from $41,390 for the 2WD crew cab, rising to $50,490 plus on-roads for the 4WD crew cab with its added ‘fun factor’.
Meanwhile the Colorado 7 is available in two models; the LT from $47,490 and the LTZ for $50,990 plus on-roads.
With a good list of standard equipment, towing ability and class-leading engine outputs, both the pickup and SUV offer strong value-for-money arguments against their rivals.
The 2015 Holden Colorado and Colorado 7 are good on-road, great off-road, and still as versatile as ever.
MORE: 2015 Holden Colorado & Colorado 7: Price And Features For Australia
MORE News & Reviews: Holden | Colorado & Colorado 7 | 4WD
Pricing (excludes on-road costs)
2015 Holden Colorado Pickup
- DX - 4WD single cab/chassis - $35,490
- LS - 2WD single cab/chassis - $28,390
- LS - 4WD single cab/chassis - $36,490
- LS - 4WD space cab/chassis - $40,990 (manual only)
- LS - 2WD crew cab/chassis - $34,390
- LS - 4WD crew cab/chassis - $43,490
- LS - 2WD crew cab pickup - $35,890
- LS - 4WD crew cab pickup - $44,990
- LT - 2WD crew cab pickup - $36,890
- LT - 4WD crew cab pickup - $45,990
- LTZ - 4WD space cab pickup - $47,990
- LTZ - 2WD crew cab pickup - $41,390
- LTZ - 4WD crew cab pickup - $50,490
Optional six-speed automatic adds $2200
2015 Holden Colorado 7 SUV (4WD & Automatic Only)
- LT - $47,490
- LTZ - $50,990