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Expert Review: Holden Colorado

Expert Review: Holden Colorado

by Sam Purcell, Journalist at CarAdvice.com


We’ve teamed up with the experts at CarAdvice to bring you honest, no holds barred reviews of some of Australia’s most popular vehicles. Here’s what they had to say.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same. Holden’s 2020 Colorado is here, although it's more a subtle development of the current model than an all-new proposition…"

The Colorado was made much more compelling with a big facelift in 2016, having entered the market in 2012 as a post-Isuzu collaboration. This mild facelift for 2020 is designed to keep it fresh and competitive against a forever-evolving throng of assailants, before an all-new model lobs in sometime in the future. Holden is tight-lipped about when. 

So, what’s new? Specification details have changed, with the previously-finite LSX model now a permanent fixture in the lineup. This is pinned as an affordable black-pack option; darkened styling abounds, without the bells and whistles of tech (and associated cost) you get higher up the range.

We think the Colorado's best bits are:

  • Limited-slip differential beneficial on-road and off-road
  • Gruff, grunty performance from the 2.8-litre diesel
  • Slightly improved value for money

That said, it could do with some improvement here:

  • Missing active safety tech
  • While solid across the board, it's lacking any real standout features

There’s also a LTZ+ variant, which comes with a factory tow bar, and is designed to suit novated leasing with a payload just under one tonne. All models come with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and capped-price servicing. 

At the bottom of the ladder, the Colorado LS still fights the good fight with steel wheels, vinyl floors, a 7.0-inch touchscreen... and not much else. The only change for LS in 2020 is a bit of black on the grille.

Pricing starts at $31,690 for an LS 4X2 single cab-chassis. Four-wheel drive dual-cab is where the majority of the market sits, however. Your cheapest option is an LS 4X4 Crew Cab, which is $43,490 for a cab chassis or $44,990 with a tub.

The new LSX dual-cab costs $46,990 and gets 18-inch Arsenal Grey wheels, fender flares, DAB radio, a tonneau cover and a blackened tailgate, grille and sports bar.

Going to the LTZ and you get a ‘Duraguard’ spray-in tub liner, along with leather seats (heated up front). That’s atop the recurring features: 8.0-inch infotainment with navigation and smartphone connectivity, premium audio and plenty of other bits. The LTZ crew cab is $50,490.

Top of the tree is the Z71, which is mostly a style pack over the LTZ. You get a sailplane-style sports bar and folding soft tonneau, along with some underbody protection, decals and embroidery. There’s also a soft-drop tailgate, roof rails and grey 18-inch alloys. $54,990 is the asking price. 

Holden Colorado owner and CarAdvice reader Ryan recently submitted an owner review and summed up why he looked towards the Holden in this super-competitive segment; “I shopped nearly all 4x4s when looking to upgrade my VF Storm ute. Not because I needed a 4x4 as a white-collar worker, but I just always wanted one. 

“I had my heart set on the Amarok, but jeez, servicing was expensive. The Navara just felt, well, not manly enough. The Triton was squeezy and felt low-rent inside. The Isuzu, now that was tough, but the tech was poor, which was a non-negotiable for me.”

What’s the same? Almost everything else. The Colorado runs a single option under the bonnet: a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel making 147kW at 3600rpm and 500Nm at 2000rpm. This goes through a six-speed automatic or manual gearbox, and a part-time 4X4 system with a low-range transfer case.

Ever since its 2016 update, the Colorado has been a sweet and composed performer. It’s one of the quickest utes this side of a European V6, with a suspension and gearbox tune that suit Australian roads really nicely.

The 2.8-litre VM Motori engine is a relatively good sipper of distillate as well, with a claimed combined fuel economy of 8.6 L/100km. We didn't get a full indication on our launch review, but previous tests indicate 9.5L/100km is a good number to bank on.

Another Colorado owner, Mitch reckons what’s under the bonnet of the Colorado is the key to his happiness with the car; “In something that will probably surprise many, the best part of the Colorado is the drivetrain, particularly the 2.8-litre turbocharged diesel four-cylinder, which appears to be severely underrated as an engine by many. 

“While the outputs of the unit are not the highest and it isn’t the strongest from idle, the Duramax is a willing, if vocal, performer that packs a surprising amount of grunt at mid-range revs, and also possesses a linearity of power delivery that is most unlike what would be expected from a heavily boosted diesel donk.”

Part of the puzzle here is the helical limited-slip differential in the rear end, that helps keep composure as torque flows through the driveline. The peak 500Nm (440Nm with a manual gearbox) comes on pretty hard, but single-peggers are kept to a minimum.

The limited-slip differential does give benefits off-road, as well. It’s not as good as a locking differential, but don’t write it off completely. Combined with good ground clearance and a decent underbody design, the traction control works well with the diff to keep you moving in the right direction when traction is scarce.

The Colorado is quite a potent off-roader, helped no doubt by the engine’s low-down torque and nice gearing.

Suspension and steering tuning is unchanged for 2020, but it’s well sorted. You could argue the electric-assisted steering sometimes feels a little vacant but for a four-wheel drive ute, you’re probably clutching at straws. It holds well in corners, and the suspension handles bumps and rough sections pretty well, without feeling overly firm.

The engine is a similar story: while some of the more modern power plants in the segment might feel more refined, I rate the Colorado as nicely gruff. It’s far from offensive, and doesn’t mind being revved out every now and again. I like the high-mounted alternator under the bonnet, as well.

The engine's grunt is nicely handled by the six-speed automatic gearbox. It holds its gears at the right time, and feels nicely matched, in both high range and low range. 

Inside, the Colorado is a pretty solid performer. The 7.0-inch screen does feel a little bit underwhelming in the centre stack, but having Android Auto and Apple CarPlay helps with its functionality. The 8.0-inch system, on the other hand, feels pretty premium. Interior quality overall feels quite good. It’s mostly plastic, with a handful of different surfaces around, but it doesn’t particularly strike me as cheap.

Like many who use their utes for work and play, Colorado owner Ryan added; “The tech is great. I use Apple CarPlay every day. This truck is my mobile office, and the quality of the Bluetooth is the best I have experienced. The voice commands work promptly and the screen is simple to navigate, even on the fly.”

There’s no rake adjustment, but you can dial yourself in pretty well with seat adjustments. They aren’t the best in the segment, but are far from the worst, and definitely good enough. Second row comfort is good, with nice legroom.

The fact the Colorado is mostly unchanged shouldn’t deter prospective buyers. It’s a solid, competitive ute with a good warranty and a grunty donk. There’s no real weaknesses in the lineup or details, with good performance on-road and off-road. There's decent tech and comfort on offer, and the value proposition has improved slightly with the MY2020 changes.

That being said, while being a solid performer across the board, the Colorado does struggle to stand out. It’s a very good ute, but competition is as stiff as ever.

 

Sam Purcell, Journalist at CarAdvice.com

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