Holden Colorado LT-Z

The Colorado first ar­rived in 2012 but it’s the ‘re-birth’ it un­der­went for the 2017 model year that re­ally counts

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

In de­sign­ing and de­vel­op­ing this gen­er­a­tion Colorado for re­lease in 2012, GM didn’t pig­gy­back off Isuzu as it had done for all its pre­vi­ous Rodeo utes and even the orig­i­nal Colorado. In­stead, GM mar­shalled its global re­sources to de­sign a ute from the ground up with its VM Mo­tori four-cylin­der diesel com­ing from Italy, the six-speed au­to­matic from GM in the US, and the whole thing pulled to­gether by a de­sign team head­quar­ted at GM Brazil.

The trou­ble was that it wasn’t quite right on many fronts and was tweaked in 2013 and then again in 2014 be­fore be­ing pulled right apart – al­most down to the last nut and bolt – and put back to­gether with a host of new or re­vised parts for its 2017 re­birth. Aus­tralian Holden en­gi­neers were in­stru­men­tal in all this, and mod­els for lo­cal con­sump­tion re­ceived ad­di­tional noise, vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness (NVH) mea­sures, auto gear­box and man­ual gear­ing up­grades in ad­di­tion to the broad-brush global changes.

POW­ER­TRAIN AND PER­FOR­MANCE

The Colorado 2.8-litre four-cylin­der diesel claims 500Nm of torque, which is more than the no­tably big­ger five-cylin­der en­gines in the Ranger and the BT-50 and only 50Nm less than the po­tent V6 in the Amarok.

Of­ten on-paper en­gine out­put fig­ures don’t trans­late into re­al­world get-up-and-go but that’s not the case with the Colorado, which edges out all the other utes here for pedal-to-the metal per­for­mance bar the Amarok.

In gen­eral driv­ing too, the Colorado de­liv­ers on its 147kW (197hp)/500Nm promise and of­fers plenty of per­for­mance – even if it needs to rev harder than the big­ger five-cylin­ders en­gines in the Ranger and BT-50, which also claim 147kW, or the Amarok’s V6, to get the same job done. All the while, the Colorado’s four-cylin­der, com­plete with counter-ro­tat­ing bal­ance shafts re­lo­cated in the MY17 en­gine up­grade, is smooth enough but still a lit­tle on the noisy side de­spite be­ing much qui­eter than it was be­fore the MY17 changes.

The Colorado’s six-speed au­to­matic was also much im­proved for 2017 and is the pick of the six-speed au­to­mat­ics here in terms of shift qual­ity, es­pe­cially with its proac­tive rather than re­ac­tive shift pro­to­cols.

ON-ROAD RIDE AND HAN­DLING

Among the raft of im­prove­ments im­ple­mented for the 2017 model year, the Colorado gained new springs, dampers and sway bar at the front, and new springs and dampers at the rear.

Elec­tric power steer­ing was also in­tro­duced and re­placed the con­ven­tional hy­drauli­cally as­sisted steer­ing used pre­vi­ously. The end re­sult is light steer­ing and good ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity at park­ing speeds yet a very con­fi­dent and com­posed feel at high­way speeds; good ride qual­ity too for a ute on most roads – even un­laden – and the front-to-rear sus­pen­sion match is well sorted.

Alone in this com­pany, the Colorado has a rear lim­ited-slip diff (LSD), which, ac­cord­ing to Holden’s en­gi­neers, helps par­tic­u­larly on wet bi­tu­men in sit­u­a­tions where you need to put your foot down, such as when join­ing a fast-mov­ing traf­fic stream from a side street. The LSD pre­vents the in­side rear wheel (re­mem­ber, part-time 4x4 means rear-drive only on the road) from spin­ning up and ac­ti­vat­ing the elec­tronic traction con­trol (ETC) and po­ten­tially cut­ting the en­gine’s power … not what you want when you have a truck bear­ing down on you.

LOAD CAR­RY­ING

While the Colorado’s 3,150kg gross ve­hi­cle mass is a nom­i­nal 50kg less than the Ranger and BT-50, it doesn’t re­ally suf­fer in terms of pay­load lim­its.

With our test 900kg to­tal pay­load on board, the Colorado’s chas­sis coped well and didn’t feel un­der any par­tic­u­lar duress. It’s one of the best here, in fact, even if it’s a notch down on the chas­sis sta­bil­ity of the Ranger and the very sim­i­lar BT-50.

There’s plenty of power, too, for load haul­ing, even if you no­tice the Colorado’s en­gine propen­sity to rev harder than the big­ger en­gines in the Amarok and Ranger/BT-50 when not car­ry­ing a load. In our re­cent Max Load and Tow Test (which didn’t in­clude the Amarok V6), the Colorado was sec­ond only to the win­ning Ranger and on equal foot­ing with the BT-50.

As with the Ranger and BT-50, the Colorado has a 6,000kg gross com­bined mass (GCM) and 3,500kg tow­ing ca­pac­ity.

Neg­a­tive marks for the Colorado’s tie down hooks in the tub. The prob­lem is that the two front hooks are mounted high in the tub, which means they are only use­ful to re­strain tall loads.

OFF ROAD

Com­pared with the best utes here off road, the Colorado needs more wheel travel to be truly com­pet­i­tive. It also doesn’t have a rear locker and is one of only two utes here with­out one. (Not that all lock­ers are cre­ated equal as some can­cel the ETC on the front axle when they are en­gaged and oth­ers don’t.)

Thank­fully the Colorado makes up for its mod­est travel and no locker with its now very ef­fec­tive ETC, an­other sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment that came with the MY17 up­grade. Where be­fore, the Colorado was a tail-en­der in this class, in terms of off-road abil­ity it’s now very much a com­pet­i­tive mid-fielder. And, while it worked hard to ne­go­ti­ate our gnarly and steep set-piece hill, it still made it to the top.

CABIN AND SAFETY

Among the many 2017 up­grades, the Colorado re­ceived a much-needed in­te­rior makeover, which saw the pre­vi­ous rather cheap-feel­ing dash re­placed by some­thing far more classy and pre­sentable.

There’s plenty of room in the Colorado cabin, too, even if it’s not as big over­all as the Ranger and BT-50, nor as wide as the Amarok, some­thing you no­tice most with three adults across the rear seat. It has a de­cent level of safety as well, even at this pop­u­lar LTZ-spec level, and a five-star ANCAP rat­ing.

PRAC­TI­CAL­I­TIES

A good spread of deal­ers, es­pe­cially in coun­try ar­eas, and plenty of af­ter-mar­ket ac­ces­sories are both Colorado pos­i­tives. And while the LTZ wears 18-inch wheels, the 17s from the LT fit and will open up the tyre choice as well as im­prove the ride qual­ity on bumpy roads.

The in­te­rior had a much needed makeover in MY17

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