Holden Colorado

HOLDEN COLORADO Holden is call­ing its Colorado a ‘truck’ rather than a ute since its re­cent re­make, but does that mean it’s any bet­ter suited to hard work?

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

LOAD TEST

The Colorado you see here is the MY17 model, a ma­jor midgen­er­a­tion up­grade that has been a ‘pull it right apart and put back to­gether again’ ex­er­cise for Holden. The Colorado has been tweaked here and there since it ar­rived in 2012, but noth­ing like what has been put into this MY17 model in an ef­fort to close the gap on the class fron­trun­ners, es­pe­cially in terms of re­fine­ment.

The Colorado has four tie-down hooks in the tub of a de­cent size that ac­com­mo­date the tie-down straps with­out a prob­lem. Not much sag at the rear, ei­ther – around 60mm, which is as good as it gets in this com­pany – with the 800kg pal­let on board. 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 the top-spec Z71.

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

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

The en­gine coped eas­ily with the 800kg in the tub – as good as any here, al­though it gen­er­ally revs harder than the big­ger en­gines in the Ford and Mazda when climb­ing. This is prob­a­bly due to the fact the Colorado’s max torque isn’t on tap un­til 2000rpm, whereas the Ford and the Mazda claim their max, al­though 30Nm less, at 1500 and 1750rpm re­spec­tively.

Still, the en­gine is a lot qui­eter and smoother than be­fore, some­thing you es­pe­cially no­tice given the en­gine is work­ing harder any­way car­ry­ing the ex­tra 800kg. Com­pared to the Ranger and the Hilux in par­tic­u­lar, it still gives a lit­tle away in noise re­fine­ment, but there’s not much in it.

For its part, the gear­box’s new torque con­ver­tor (part of the

MY17 up­grade) has im­proved the shift qual­ity no­tice­ably, and the Colorado was the only gear­box to pro­vide auto back­shifts on hill de­scent with­out a ‘prompt’ via ap­ply­ing the brakes. Smart gear se­lec­tion is on the way up too – it doesn’t hold the short gears too long or pick up the taller gear too early.

MY17 also means 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 weighs up nicely with speed to give a good feel de­spite the 800kg tub load. Gen­eral sta­bil­ity with the 800kg in the tub was fine, and the rear sus­pen­sion didn’t feel to bot­tom out on any of the bumps over the course.

TOW TEST

The re­cently up­dated Colorado came into the fray with a point to prove and was the only new ve­hi­cle in the test. In the past, its lack of re­fine­ment has let it down, even though it looks to have the goods on pa­per. And boy, it has made a great leap for­ward.

The 147kW/500Nm 2.8-litre is a lit­tle more hushed in the cab with the new acous­tics pack­age, and the whole driv­e­line has been smoothed out with new mounts for the en­gine and trans­mis­sion.

The Colorado took the weight of our load quite well. But bury the hoof and the Du­ra­max donk is an­other en­gine that per­forms at a level above what its dis­place­ment may sug­gest. It squats and hauls re­ally well with some pud­ding on its back. Power de­liv­ery is mea­sured and civilised.

But the big­gest leap for­ward for the lion-badged ute is the new cen­trifu­gal pen­du­lum torque con­verter in front of the six-speed auto. The re­sult is the smartest and most in­tu­itive ‘box out of the bunch. Haul­ing up­hill saw faster, smoother de­ci­sive changes, and it al­lowed the tacho nee­dle to hang in the 2200rpm torque range eas­ily un­der load.

There was no need for any man­ual in­ter­ven­tion on de­scent as the tranny down­shifted to hold back the weight. While the Colorado had its rougher edges smoothed out by this lat­est up­date, one area that let it down was the rear end. The Colorado lost a leaf spring time around, mov­ing from a 3+2 to a 3+1 ar­range­ment and it showed on the road. At max weight, the Holden feels a lit­tle soft and wig­gly out back.

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