SEC­OND COM­ING

Holden dubbed the Colorado a ‘truck’ after its re­cent re­vamp, but does that make it any bet­ter?

4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

LOAD TEST

THE Colorado you see here is the MY17 in­car­na­tion, a ma­jor mid-gen­er­a­tion up­grade that’s been a ‘pull it com­pletely apart and put it back to­gether again’ ex­er­cise for Holden.

Since the Colorado ar­rived in 2012 it has been tweaked here and there, but it’s had noth­ing like the ef­fort that’s been put into the 2017 model in a bid to close the gap on the class lead­ers in terms of gen­eral run­ning re­fine­ment.

The Colorado has four tie-down hooks of a de­cent size in the tub that ac­com­mo­dated our tie-down straps with­out a prob­lem. Not much sag at the rear, ei­ther – around 60mm – even with the 800kg pal­let on board, which is as good as it gets in this com­pany. With a to­tal pay­load of 970kg (in­clud­ing driver, ob­server and tow bar), the ex­tra 800kg leaves around 115kg pay­load in the base-spec Colorado 4x4 dual-cab pick-up, and just shy of 40kg in this top-spec Z71.

The Colorado’s 2.8-litre is notable in this com­pany for hav­ing the most torque, a claimed 500Nm max. This is even more than the big­ger 3.2-litre five-cylin­ders in the Ranger and the BT-50. From pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence we know the 500Nm serves the Colorado well – un­laden, at least – as it’s the fastest ac­cel­er­at­ing of these au­to­matic diesel 4x4 utes.

That 500Nm fig­ure is un­changed for the MY17, but it’s now de­liv­ered in a more re­fined man­ner and with sig­nif­i­cantly less noise and vi­bra­tion. Bet­ter drive­abil­ity as well.

The en­gine coped eas­ily with the 800kg in the tub, as good as any of our test con­tenders, although it gen­er­ally revs harder when climb­ing than the big­ger en­gines in the Ford and Mazda, largely due to the fact the Colorado’s max­i­mum torque isn’t on tap un­til 2000rpm. While the Ford and Mazda ul­ti­mately de­liver 30Nm less, they drop it at 1500rpm and 1750rpm re­spec­tively.

Still, the en­gine is a lot qui­eter and smoother than be­fore, even when work­ing harder to carry

the ex­tra 800kg. Com­pared to the Ranger, and the Hilux in par­tic­u­lar, it still gives a lit­tle away in terms of noise re­fine­ment, but there’s not much in it any more.

For its part, the gear­box’s new torque con­verter (part of the MY17 up­grade) has im­proved the shift quality no­tice­ably, and the Colorado’s is the only gear­box to pro­vide auto back-shifts on hill de­scent with­out a brake prompt. Smart gear selection, too, on the way up: it doesn’t hold short gears too long or pick up the taller ones too early.

MY17 also brings elec­tric power steer­ing for Colorado and, like the Ford, this means very lit­tle steer­ing ef­fort at park­ing speeds, a bonus with all the weight in the back. Like the Ford, the steer­ing weights up nicely with speed to give good feel, de­spite the 800kg tub load. Gen­eral sta­bil­ity with the weight in the tub is fine, and the rear sus­pen­sion doesn’t feel in­clined to bot­tom out on any of the bumps over the course.

TOW TEST

THE Colorado comes into the fray with a point to prove and is the new­est ve­hi­cle here. In the past its lack of re­fine­ment let it down but boy, Holden has made a great leap for­ward!

The 147kw/500nm 2.8-litre is a lit­tle more hushed in the cab, thanks to the new acous­tics pack­age, and the whole driv­e­line has been smoothed out with repo­si­tioned en­gine-bal­ance shafts and new en­gine and trans­mis­sion mounts.

The Colorado took the weight of our 3500kg trailer quite well. Bury the hoof and the ‘lit­tle’ 2.8 per­forms at a level above what its dis­place­ment might sug­gest. It squat­ted and hauled re­ally well with all that weight be­hind. Power de­liv­ery was mea­sured and civilised.

But the Colorado’s big­gest leap for­ward is the new cen­trifu­gal pen­du­lum torque con­verter in front of the six-speed auto. The re­sult is the smartest and most in­tu­itive ’box of the bunch. Haul­ing up hill saw faster, smoother, more de­ci­sive changes, and it al­lowed the tacho nee­dle to hang eas­ily in the 2200rpm torque range un­der load.

Out the other side of the test, on the de­scent sec­tion, there was no need for any man­ual in­ter­ven­tion, as the tranny down­shifted to hold back the weight.

Class-lead­ing torque and a great ’box mean Holden’s caught up with its ri­vals.

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