Colorado vs Hilux

Holden & Toy­ota utes com­pared

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

IBlun­nies.’ve more been like Less won­der­inglairy hi-vis de­signerand lately more gum­boot­sif mod­ernRM Wil­liams.than 4x4 a utes pair areof steel-capped­be­com­ing

recre­ation­alIt seems that is the be­com­ing bound­ary in­creas­ingly be­tween blurred com­mer­cialas man­u­fac­tur­ersand con­tinue to pour more car-like kits into these trucks.

The sales scram­ble for a slice of the 4x4 dual cab ute pie is now in­deed in full swing. The Toy­ota Hilux has been the tra­di­tional mar­ket leader and emo­tional favourite of many for years, but it is fac­ing some se­ri­ous chal­lengers for sales supremacy in the dual-cab pick-up mar­ket.

Ford Ranger has been hot on the tail of the Hilux for the last cou­ple of years, and has even out­sold it in some monthly tal­lies. Now a vastly im­proved Holden Colorado has hit the mar­ket. How does it stack up against the mar­ket leader? … of be­hind­hasn’t Hold­en­the thingy. Coloradoal­waysthe has It’s wheel.higha been­fair have hopesThe ob­ser­va­tion­the been 2.8-litremost­for lessits re­fined­new Ital­ian-made­thanto say truck im­pres­siveof that beasts,… past Du­ra­max­pick and in­car­na­tions­fromup had… en­gineutea ten­den­cy­poked with to a yowl­big a thou­sand an­gry lawn­mow­ers when 500NmIt looked of great torquein­gon pa­per; (auto 147kW­trans) areof grunt bench­markand a whop­ping­fig­ures in this part of the mar­ket. Past ex­e­cu­tion, how­ever, has been more than a lit­tle un­re­fined. But un­til last year, so was the then-age­ing Hilux. The new cur­rent-gen­er­a­tion Toy­ota ute has had to scram­ble to meet mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tions of cushier trucks that can still lug, wade, carry and haul.

The re­sult is a plusher truck de­signed to strad­dle the line be­tween commercial and pri­vate use. And over mul­ti­ple drives in vary­ing spec, I reckon it’s done a good job of in­creas­ing the wider mar­ket ap­peal of the Toy­ota with­out alien­at­ing the tra­di­tional Hilux heart­land.


The Colorado, how­ever, has just re­ceived ar­guably its most sig­nif­i­cant up­date yet. The Holden has per­formed rea­son­ably well on the sales charts as the mar­ket has slowly turned its sights from rear-drive sedans and utes to SUVs and 4x4s. To be fair, Holden has done well to keep the Colorado sharply priced against the com­pe­ti­tion. Just 12 months ago, I wouldn’t have dreamt of lin­ing these two up to­gether, but now, fi­nally, it seems that Holden may have some­thing to bring to the ta­ble.

A new face is the first and most ob­vi­ous change to the Holden. The new front end has more of a nod to­wards Amer­i­can styling cues than be­fore.

In­side, the old stacked con­sole and hard plas­tics look of the dash has been trans­formed into a classier lay­out. While the plas­tics are still hard to touch, they look softer and take away some of the bare-bones look of the old dash.

A 7- or 8-inch touch­screen does away with the old MyLink en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem and now uses Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid-based phone con­nec­tiv­ity.

The 2.8-litre Du­ra­max en­gine main­tains its power out­puts but fea­tures a new acous­tics pack­age to dis­tance the driver from the clat­ter and growl of the en­gine.

The six-speed auto trans­mis­sion now fea­tures a cen­trifu­gal pen­du­lum ab­sorber-equipped torque con­verter that en­ables the torque con­verter to lock up for longer pe­ri­ods and more of­ten. Both the en­gine and tranny are sit­ting on new mount­ings to re­duce vi­bra­tion.

Elec­tric power steer­ing is also a new fea­ture on the Holden and re­duces low-speed ef­fort while pro­gres­sively get­ting heav­ier for high­way speeds. A fea­ture vir­tu­ally trans­planted from the VF Com­modore plat­form.

The rear leaf springs have lost a leaf, mov­ing from a 3+2 ar­range­ment to a 3+1 in the quest for a sup­pler ride. Pay­load and tow­ing re­mains the same (1007kg and 3500kg).


Toy­ota ap­proached the Hilux with the con­ser­vatism we’ve come ex­pect from the brand. The new 1GD-FTV 2.8-litre turbo-

diesel en­gine re­placed the ven­er­a­ble yet agri­cul­tural 3.0-litre found in the pre­vi­ous-gen Hilux and Prado.

Power out­put trails the Holden, with 130kW avail­able and 450Nm of torque on tap. While the Hilux may have less oomph, peak torque comes on tap at a lower 1600rpm com­pared to the Holden’s 2000-2200rpm peak and runs all the way up to 24000rpm.

The six-speed auto op­tion in the Hilux gets a tow rat­ing of 3200kg braked, while the six-speed man­ual gets the 3500kg tow rat­ing. Both fifth and sixth gear in ei­ther ‘box are es­sen­tially over­drives, and it’s rare for the Toy­ota to slip into sixth on loaded trips.

While the Hilux en­gine has a lower torque curve than the Holden’s Du­ra­max when left to its own de­vices, the auto will try and keep the en­gine revs up.

The in­te­rior styling is a nod to plusher mar­ket re­quire­ments, which has po­larised some ob­servers. The tablet-style in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem looks like an af­ter­thought to some, and a funky idea to oth­ers.

The rear leaf springs of the Hilux have been mounted out­board for this gen, and the springs are longer than be­fore in an ef­fort to ad­dress empty ride crit­i­cism.


We took the new top-of-the-range Holden Colorado Z71 and the Toy­ota Hilux SR5 for a spin in the bush re­cently to see how the in-your-face Holden stacks up against one of the ve­hi­cles it was heav­ily bench­marked against.

If blacked-out bon­net stripes and body kits are your thing, the Holden will no doubt catch your eye. I, how­ever, have reached an age where I pre­fer not to look like I’m try­ing to be 20 years younger.

In­side the Colorado is now a much nicer place to be with the re­designed dash. And turn­ing the key pro­duces a far less in­tru­sive en­gine note than be­fore.

The Du­ra­max power plant isn’t short on poke and gets a boo­gie on pretty quickly, but the most no­tice­able im­prove­ment is the way the en­gine sounds, the auto be­haves, and the way that it steers.

Gone is the raspy roar and en­gine flare be­tween gear changes. The new torque con­verter smooths out changes and locks up as much as pos­si­ble to im­prove me­chan­i­cal ef­fi­ciency and per­for­mance. The re­sult is much smoother and re­spon­sive per­for­mance on and off road.

The auto feels a lot more in­tu­itive than be­fore as well, and will down­change un­der load on de­scent, pro­vid­ing some en­gine brak­ing ef­fect with­out man­ual in­ter­ven­tion.

The re­vised rear sus­pen­sion has taken some bounce out of the ride, and there’s much less body roll than in pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tions. This is topped off by the elec­tric power steer­ing sys­tem.

“The Toy­ota Hilux has been the tra­di­tional mar­ket leader and emo­tional favourite of many for years, but it is fac­ing some se­ri­ous chal­lengers for sales supremacy”

While it may be fair to ob­serve that this is some­thing more likely to help out when park­ing a big ute in town, it does also help when turn­ing around on a tight bush track.

It’s very nicely weighted at high­way speeds, whether on black­top or on coun­try dirt, and there’s enough feed­back to know what’s go­ing on un­der the front wheels. And, I’ll even go as far to say that it feels bet­ter than the Ford EPAS sys­tem on the Ranger.

The Toy­ota’s im­age of re­straint car­ries over when be­hind the wheel. The 2.8-litre diesel is a very smooth and quiet op­er­a­tor; a char­ac­ter­is­tic that is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing a fea­ture of mod­ern small-bore diesels.

Even with some SR5 bling, the Toy­ota still feels more commercial than the Holden, both on and off road. It feels more work­site than ski boat if you will. The Hilux still feels a lit­tle jig­gly in the rear end com­pared to the Colorado when empty, yet the old-school hy­draulic power steer­ing con­veys plenty of feed­back on coun­try road sur­faces.

In­ter­est­ingly, even though there’s not a lot in it in re­al­ity, the Toy­ota feels more nim­ble and smaller than the Holden both on the road and in the bush.


Both utes use an elec­tric shift dial to se­lect four-wheel drive high and low. This is pretty much the same with all com­peti­tors in this seg­ment save the auto ver­sion of the VW Amarok.

The Colorado re­lies on a rear lim­ited slip diff to help with trac­tion on and off road, while the Toy­ota uses its A-TRC of­froad trac­tion con­trol and rear diff lock (stan­dard of SR and SR5) to give it a boost in the bush. The Colorado scrab­bles at off-road ob­sta­cles us­ing grunt and de­ter­mi­na­tion to get to the top, while the Hilux has a much more se­date ap­proach.

The A-TRC sys­tem on the Toy­ota dis­en­gages on the front axle when the rear diff-lock is en­gaged and can be switched off in ter­rain where wheel spin may be an ad­van­tage. But in rough coun­try, the sys­tem does a mighty job of keep­ing the wheels turn­ing and de­liv­er­ing trac­tion to the ground with­out bog­ging. The Hilux is flex­i­ble and al­most ef­fort­less off road within the bounds of a straight-from-the-show­room ute.

The Holden is rea­son­ably ca­pa­ble off road but lacks the in­tel­li­gence of Toy­ota’s trac­tion con­trol sys­tem. It has a ten­dency to snarl and grab for a foothold rather than gen­tly haul it­self up a chal­leng­ing climb. The re­ju­ve­nated auto in the Colorado has the street smarts, but can’t match the off-road in­tel­li­gence of the Toy­ota in the dirt.

One fea­ture of the Holden that per­formed very well was the hill de­scent con­trol. Com­pared to oth­ers on the mar­ket – and even the Hilux – it proved smooth, quiet and eas­ily con­trolled when clam­ber­ing down off-road ob­sta­cles.

Both trucks are at very dif­fer­ent stages in their plat­form life. This Colorado re­vamp is com­ing in late in the model’s life span, whereas the Hilux plat­form is all-new from the ground up as of last year. As a re­sult, the Hilux feels as if there’s more po­ten­tial to be tapped into as the model ages, while Holden has thrown a lot into a plat­form that was, up un­til now, gen­er­a­tionally lag­ging.

Dur­ing devel­op­ment, this Colorado was bench­marked against the two mar­ket lead­ers, Ranger and Hilux, and it shows. The Holden is now the truck it should’ve been from the start.


As a work truck in the bush and on a work­site, it’s hard to look past the Hilux and its her­itage of durable en­gi­neer­ing.

It’s un­doubt­edly the more commercial of the two, no mat­ter how many giz­mos are loaded into it. But for a plusher ute with more of a road bias, Holden fi­nally has a con­tender wor­thy of men­tion in a mar­ket that will con­tinue to be spoilt for choice.

It’s clear that Holden is se­ri­ous about the fu­ture of this truck, and it has main­tained the same ag­gres­sive price point.

It’s dropped the list price of the new LTZ Colorado by $500 and the pric­ing of the top-of-the-tree Z71 re­mains un­changed at $54,990, where the Hilux SR5 you see here will set you back $56,390. Given the per­for­mance of both utes, they’re hard fig­ures to ig­nore. Though one of them is just a lit­tle less in­clined to get down and dirty.

“Holden fi­nally has a con­tender wor­thy of men­tion in a mar­ket that will con­tinue to be spoilt for choice”

Main: Steer­ing, ride and on road man­ners have all im­proved with the MY17 up­date

1: There’s plenty of grunt on tap

from the Holden in the bush

2: Like the ex­te­rior, some have crit­i­cised the in­te­rior of the

Hilux. It’s a com­mend­able ef­fort to strad­dle the line be­tween commercial and pri­vate buyer ex­pec­ta­tions in my book

3: The Colorado’s in­te­rior is much nicer now with soft-look­ing plas­tics and a re­designed cen­tre con­sole

Above: With all those stripes, I’m not sure I’d want to get it that dirty!

A fresh-look­ing nose gives the Colorado a more up-to­date look

The rear leaf springs of the Colorado have been re­con­fig­ured to pro­vide a sup­pler ride

Opin­ions are di­vided on the Hilux’s styling. I hap­pen to think it looks quite good

The Hilux’s longer rear springs give it a help­ing hand in the off-road stakes. The off-road ace up the Hilux’s sleeve is its A-TRC trac­tion con­trol sys­tem

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