HIGH ACHIEV­ERS

The Advertiser - Motoring - - COVER STORY - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDI­TOR

AUS­TRALIA, your new hi-tech Holden Colorado is al­most ready. Chevro­let un­veiled the up­dated model in Brazil this week, ahead of the ute’s ar­rival in lo­cal show­rooms in Au­gust wear­ing Holden badges.

The sharp new nose is a pointer to new tech, in­clud­ing a rear cam­era and Ap­ple Car Play for the en­tire range, and a for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing cam­era and lane wan­der alert on top-end mod­els.

Holden also prom­ises sub­stan­tial changes to the way the Colorado drives.

The Colorado was de­signed and en­gi­neered by Gen­eral Mo­tors in Brazil and Aus­tralian ex­am­ples will be built in Thai­land. How­ever, Aus­tralian en­gi­neers have been tin­ker­ing with steer­ing, sus­pen­sion and en­gine re­fine­ment on lo­cal roads over the past two years to pre­pare for this up­date.

Holden is re­main­ing tightlipped about the full suite of changes un­der the Colorado’s skin but it’s fair to say there was am­ple room for im­prove­ment.

The cur­rent gen­er­a­tion Colorado was re­leased four years ago to mixed re­views. Devel­op­ment was de­layed dur­ing the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis when GM was in bank­ruptcy and bud­gets were cut — and the ve­hi­cle fell short of the ri­vals.

Holden, de­spite go­ing into dis­count mode within months of the ar­rival of the all-new Colorado, strug­gled to stim­u­late sales.

The Colorado cur­rently ranks fourth in sales tal­lies be­hind the Toy­ota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Mit­subishi Tri­ton.

But with ute sales at record lev­els, the Colorado is likely to be­come Holden’s big­gest sell­ing model — in much the same way as the Ranger is the hero of the Ford range — once lo­cal pro­duc­tion of the Com­modore ends in 2017.

The Colorado led the Holden line-up for the first time in Jan­uary and has been the brand’s sec­ond-best seller for 13 of the past 15 months. The up­graded Colorado will join the rest of the ute mar­ket in try­ing to “bridge the gap be­tween week­day work­horse and weekend ex­plorer”.

Holden ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of sales Peter Ke­ley says: “With sig­nif­i­cant lo­cal en­gi­neer­ing, this ve­hi­cle will be the most re­fined Colorado ever while main­tain­ing all of the ca­pa­bil­ity of the cur­rent model.”

Holden ve­hi­cle devel­op­ment man­ager Jeremy Tas­sone says the Colorado has had “key Aus­tralian en­gi­neer­ing in­put” to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of lo­cal buy­ers.

Tas­sone says Aus­tralian cus­tomers de­mand a lot from a util­ity “re­gard­less of whether it’s be­ing used as the week­day work­horse or for weekend surf trips”.

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