HOLDEN’S re-engineering of its Colorado for 2017 has been highly successful, propelling it from disappointing tailender to a good thing among the eight popular 4x4 dual-cabs. The Ranger, on the other hand, has always been a good thing, ever since it arrived in 2011, a year before the Colorado. It became a whole lot better thanks to a mid-generation upgrade in 2015.
However, Holden has moved the Colorado on more in this upgrade than Ford did last year with its Ranger. But then again, something special had to be done, given the Colorado was previously so far towards the back of the pack.
The Colorado has improved to the point that in many ways it’s now the equal of the Ranger in what it does and doesn’t do.
On-road the two are now a close match in terms of refinement, comfort and general driveability. The Colorado’s smaller engine doesn’t give it a performance disadvantage, either. In fact, it can even feel a bit sportier than the Ranger thanks to its gearbox tune and higher peak engine torque – and being a bit lighter doesn’t hurt.
The Colorado’s on-road dynamics, at least on better roads, also have a sporty edge to them compared to the Ranger. It feels a bit smaller and more agile than the slightly longer and bigger Ranger. There’s generally a nicer steering feel in the Colorado, too.
But things start to go downhill for the Colorado once the roads deteriorate. It doesn’t handle the bumps as well as the more compliant and supple Ranger. Things unravel even more compared to the Ranger off-road, thanks to less suspension travel, no rear locker and less effective chassis electronics.
That said, the Colorado will still comfortably do 99 per cent of what most people will ever want to do off-road; it’s just that the Ranger, in its post-2015 iteration at least, is a stand-out performer off-road.
Throw in its extra cabin space and towing and load-carrying prowess and you can see why it justifies the extra cost.