Colorado picks u

Holden gets se­ri­ous about SUVs — with a seven-seater based on a ute

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cover Story - CRAIG DUFF

HOLDEN has fi­nally got se­ri­ous about the large SUV mar­ket. Af­ter years of watch­ing its ri­vals mi­grate buy­ers out of big sedans and into even big­ger off-road­ers, the Red Lion has launched a proper four-wheel drive of its own. The Colorado 7 is based on the Colorado pick-up, mean­ing a lad­der-on-frame chas­sis and four-wheel drive with a trans­fer case for work far off the beaten track. So it’s tough.

VALUE

There is no ar­gu­ing with the price. Holden has un­der­cut its ri­vals with a ve­hi­cle that is gen­uinely rugged. That price point—$46,990 for the LT and $50,490 for the LTX— comes at the ex­pense of some in­te­rior lux­u­ries, like a touch­screen, and last gen­er­a­tion plas­tics. The dust will wipe off eas­ily, though, and it’s hard to ar­gue with the per­for­mance. This has a three-tonne tow­ing ca­pac­ity courtesy of 470Nm from the 2.8-litre four-cylin­der turbo diesel. And it will carry five adults in com­fort, with the third-row pair of seats deal­ing with pre­teen kids.

STYLING

The Colorado 7 is a part of the GM global range. It is a re-nosed Chevro­let Trail­blazer that is built in Thai­land and was de­signed in Brazil. The slab-sided de­sign gives it a solid look that’s soft­ened by the scal­loped doors while the side steps and fog lights give it a de­cent up­mar­ket look. The in­side is more util­i­tar­ian— es­pe­cially on the LT model— though the graph­ics are mod­ern and the ro­tary dial in the cen­tre stack is easy to op­er­ate. Cargo space is 235 litres but that ex­tends to 878L with the third-row seats folded into the floor. Flick a latch and the tum­ble-down sec­ond row seat­ing ex­pands space to a van-like 1780L.

TECH­NOL­OGY

A re­vers­ing cam­era with over­laid guide­lines on the rearview mir­ror is stan­dard on both the LT and LTZ models, as is Blue­tooth and USB con­nec­tiv­ity and cruise con­trol. A six-speaker stereo sys­tem is ca­pa­ble but not class-lead­ing. The LTZ picks up an­other pair of speak­ers, cli­mate-con­trol air­con­di­tion­ing and high­lights such as chrome ac­cents and leather seat trim. The di­rect­in­jec­tion turbo diesel en­gine is a ro­bust per­former with­out

SAFETY

AN­CAP ac­cepts the Colorado 7’s pick-up her­itage as cause to rate it a high five stars. Only the Toy­ota Prado and ML Mercedes top it and in the case of the Prado, only just. Front airbags and full-length cur­tain bags are stan­dard, along with the ex­pected brake-based soft­ware nan­nies.

DRIV­ING

The diesel en­gine is noisy. It’s not trac­tor-like but a bit more in­su­la­tion in the fire­wall could have soft­ened it. That’s the only com­plaint about noise; for a big bus there is very lit­tle wind rush or tyre roar, even on coarse-chip sur­faces. The five- link rear sus­pen­sion also d de­cent job of soft­en­ing th pitch­ing and rolling usual found in lad­der-on-frame plat­forms. And those on-r man­ners only get bet­ter w the go­ing gets rough. Swit the ro­tary dial mounted be­tween the front seats to range and the Colorado 7 crawls over rocks and wad through slush far bet­ter th should, given the road-bia rub­ber it runs on. Toss a d

be­ing the most re­fined donk in this field. It is matched to a sixspeed auto— that’s an ex­tra cog over its ri­vals— but uses marginally more fuel at a claimed 9.4L/100km.

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