2017 Holden Colorado Launch Review
by STUART MARTIN
Price: from $37,490 plus options and on-road costs
Engine/Trans: 147kW/440Nm 2.8-litre Turbo Diesel / 6-speed auto or manual
Fuel Economy claimed: 7.9 to 8.7 l/100km (automatic)
Construction: Body on chassis
Suspension: Coil sprung independent front and live-axle rear
Towing: 3500kg braked / 750kg unbraked
Holden has shoved its restyled nose back into the market with the facelifted Colorado ute – although it persists with calling it a “truck” or “pick-up.”
Regardless of the title, the new Colorado returns with largely unchanged pricing – most have fallen a little, several have risen but by less than $1000.
A features list upgrade accompanies the sharper and more aggressive look along family GM lines with a new grille, headlights and LED daytime running lights.
Interior upgrades extend to a new-look dashboard and centre stack covered in higher-quality materials, the highlight of which is the updated touchscreen-controlled infotainment system and a cleaner overall layout.
Lifetime capped price servicing is part of the deal now and the 4×4 range starts from $37,490 for a single cab chassis LS, $40,990 for the Space Cab chassis, $43,490 for the Crew Cab chassis or $44,990 for the ute.
That buys 16-inch steel wheels, power windows and mirrors, manual air conditioning, remote window operation, cruise control, a six-speed manual, front disc and rear drum brakes, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a helical limited slip differential, vinyl flooring, LED daytime running lights and two 12-volt outlets.
There’s also a 7-inch screen for the six-speaker MyLink infotainment system which runs Apple and Android integration (Holden is claiming that’s a first for an LCV), as well as digital radio reception and USB input, with steering wheel mounted controls that are carryover from the outgoing model.
Stepping up to the LT adds 17-inch alloys, carpet floor coverings, front fog lamps and side steps; it is available in Crew Cab 4×4 from $46,990.
The penultimate model is the LTZ, which is offered in Space Cab 4×4 from $48,990 and the 4×4 Crew Cab starts from $50,490 – Holden said the price has dropped $500 but there’s an extra $1800 worth of features.
It steps up to 18-inch wheels, as well as a larger 8-inch touchscreen, built-in satnav and premium audio system of 7 speakers.
Single-zone climate control, heated exterior mirrors, an alloy sports bar, soft tonneau cover, powered driver’s seat adjustment, remote start for the auto and chrome trim additions for the mirror caps and door handles are also on the LTZ features list.
The Z71 flagship is available only in Crew Cab 4×4 guise and starts from an unchanged $54,990 – it also gets 18-inch wheels but of a different design, as well as getting a “sail plane” sports bar and side rails with Z71 markings, leather trim, heated seats, a model-specific tonneau cover, black exterior trim pieces, roof rails and a model-specific front end with an integrated nudge bar, although it loses the heated mirrors of the LTZ.
The safety features list has forward collision and lane departure warning systems on the two top LTZ and Z71 models, which also get an auto-dimming centre mirror, rain-sensing wipers, tyre pressure monitoring and front parking sensors, teamed with the standard rear sensors and reversing camera standard range-wide.
Also standard is stability control, seven airbags, hill start and descent control, trailer sway control and seven airbags – front, side, curtain and a driver’s knee airbag.
The new model also has two ISOFIX-equipped rear seating positions and three child seat anchor points – it has been rated a five-star vehicle range by ANCAP.
The drivetrain outputs haven’t changed – the 2.8-litre Duramax turbodiesel common-rail direct injection four-cylinder when hooked to the six-speed manual produces 147kW and 440Nm (between 1600 and 2800rpm).
The torque peak improves to 500Nm – but only between 2000 and 2200rpm – when the $2200 six-speed auto option box is ticked, which brings what Holden calls a “centrifugal pendulum absorber torque converter” to counter undesirable vibrations.
The auto’s calibrations have been revised for improved driveability and better fuel economy, according to Holden; thirsts range from 7.9 to 8.7 litres per 100km, a 0.2 litre per 100km drop.
The manual models get a final drive ratio change from 3.73 to 4.1:1, which Holden said improves launch performance, towing and driveability; the rating of 750kg of unbraked load or 3500kg with trailer brakes is unchanged.
Payloads range from 1000kg for the manual Z71 to 1477kg for the 4×2 single cab chassis LS model; improvements of 176kg and 13kg respectively.
Upgrades for the engine insulation, as well as relocated balance shafts and an update for the body mounts all contribute to a quieter and more refined package, as do thicker side windows and upgraded exterior seals.
The suspension has benefitted from a larger front stabiliser bar, altered front and rear spring rates, upgraded dampers with the aim of better ride and body control unladen and under load.
A faster steering rack helped by recalibrated electric power steering and new Bridgestone tyres have all helped the Colorado take a big stride back into contention with improved road manners, ability and cabin comfort that puts it among the best of the segment.
It looks even better in the metal than it did in the pictures – bolder and more like a truck than its predecessor.
Largely unaltered at the rear, the new headlights (still halogen) and straighter horizontal treatment of the dual-grille all works.
The cabin has been cleaned up too, getting more definition in its layout and nicer-quality materials; the touchscreen is a decent size and the centre stack is well laid out and self-explanatory.
Built-in satellite navigation is a welcome inclusion, as is the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
Top spec models get powered seat adjustment, although the cushion can’t be tilted up for more leg support, and the steering wheel (leather-wrapped range-wide) is sadly still tilt-only for adjustment.
Outputs are unchanged but the auto – driven more extensively at the launch – makes a solid contribution to improved drivability.
The upgraded auto’s torque converter lock-up makes the Colorado drive like something that has 500Nm of torque.
The throttle still needs a solid prod to get things underway but it’s not too sharp for off-road use either, an activity that seems to be a focus for Holden with the new model.
A towing test involving a couple of tonnes worth of small tractor and equipment, but deliberately minimal revs (which would have had the old manual car coughing to a halt) when getting underway didn’t deter the new model from the task.
A quicker steering rack also helped when manoeuvring the trailer and the steering showed good weight when driving on the road.
Holden had both laden and unladen vehicles to sample, although all tested on the road loop were automatics, but the cargo took the edge off the sharp unladen response over some harsher bumps.
The unladen vehicles were far from the worst in the segment for ride, being firm but not savage; the body control is good and it has lost much of the judder that normally afflicts a ladder frame chassis.
Ambient noise and harshness familiar in the old model has been noticeably reduced and interior quality has risen measurably as well, with nicer plastics and a more solid feel to the switchgear.
The driver gets a clear instrument panel, with digital speed readout on the comprehensive trip computer and the base-model’s touchscreen and the smartphone systems are a welcome inclusion.
The range of accessories has been substantially expanded, the largest choice yet – much of what the brand is offering to customise the Colorado has an off-road bent.
A number of steel and alloy bull and nudge bars are offered, as well as LED light bar, a bash plate, driving lamps, fender flares, rear and side step options, several sports bar options and new 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tyres.
The cabin could do with an extra USB port and a three-pin domestic plug and a 12-volt outlet in the rear tray would also be worthwhile.
Reach steering adjustment is still absent – something the sharper-priced Triton has, along with a more versatile 4WD system.
A standard tow bar would have also been a worthwhile inclusion, but the updated Holden’s value proposition remains one of its strengths.
The off-road launch drive suggested the Colorado has lost none of its prowess with the update.
Suspension work has helped it cover fast dirt roads and while the 4WD tracks undertaken were far from serious, there were enough ruts and bumps to show it had sufficient clearance.
The absence of a proper diff lock is an oversight for off-roaders (the helical limited slip diff will placate some but not all) and hill descent control is slower than the auto’s first gear low range; perhaps the untried manual is not as reliant on electronic assistance.
Improved road manners, refinement and improved looks make it more likely for any potential test drive list.
Whereas once it sold largely on outlay, the Colorado now represents a value for money package with more than just price on its side.