Like Holden, Aussie tun­ing house HSV (Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles) has had to re-in­vent it­self. If the new Coloradobased Sport­sCat TD DC ute is any­thing to go by, that isn’t such a bad thing.

NZ4WD - - CONTENTS - Story by Ross Mackay. Pho­tos by Gra­ham Hughes.

Sub­tle is hardly a word you would as­so­ci­ate with any Com­modore-based HSV prod­uct. Yet that’s the word that keeps pop­ping into my mind when I think of the Mel­bourne-based tuner and be­spoke man­u­fac­turer’s ground-break­ing lat­est model. I re­cently en­joyed just over a week driv­ing a pretty much’ top- of-the-line’ Sport­sCat+ model on or off-road; and ‘sub­tle’ is the best word I can come up with to de­scribe it. For a start un­less you know what you are look­ing for ( the Lion ‘n hel­met logo) you’d be hard pressed to ac­tu­ally tell it is a prod­uct of the renowned Holden tuner. Be­cause grille, wheel cen­tre and steer­ing wheel badges aside there is lit­er­ally no way of telling. If you know that Holden makes a ute called the Colorado, then you’re get­ting some­where, be­cause the word Colorado is em­bossed into the rear tail­gate. But that’s about it. It cer­tainly sounds no dif­fer­ent to the stan­dard 2.8 litre four-cylin­der turbo diesel on which it is based. Nor does it ac­cel­er­ate quicker, punch harder or other­wise out-per­form a base model Colorado be­cause – shock, hor­ror – the Sport­sCat and Sport­sCat+ mod­els must ( surely!) be the first HSVs to land on show­room floors with ab­so­lutely no ( none, zero, nil, nada) en­gine mods. That’s right, what once was the com­pany’s stock-in-trade is no more; no cold air box ‘n K& N fil­ter up­grade, no ex­haust man­i­fold up­grade, not even a chip remap. And as for the LS3 V8 petrol up­grade one reader swore black and blue ‘ the new HSV ute’ was go­ing to ar­rive here with, well, all I can say is ‘good luck with that!’

Needs must

Needs must, of course, and with four-door DC TD utes selling like gang-busters on both sides of the Tas­man the de­ci­sion by

HSV to swap RWD Com­modores for 4x4 Colorados can hardly have been a dif­fi­cult one to make. It’s not as if your av­er­age Colorado was go­ing to be dif­fi­cult to im­prove ei­ther. Reg­u­lar read­ers will know that I am a bit of a fan of the lat­est model. But given the task and a suit­able bud­get there are im­prove­ments I know I’d like to make. Or, the case of the HSV Sport­sCat, let some­one who knows what they are do­ing, do the job! There are two mod­els in the new line-up, the Sport­sCat with RRPs of $ 73,990 ( man) and $ 75,990 ( auto), and the Sport­sCat+ ( as tested here) with RRPs of $ 80,990 ( man) and $ 82,990 ( auto). Both get whole­sale up­grades to the chas­sis, sus­pen­sion, brakes, wheels and in­te­rior. The Sport­sCat+ also gets a trick de-cou­pling rear anti-roll bar ( which dis­en­gages au­to­mat­i­cally when you se­lect low range) for greater rear wheel ar­tic­u­la­tion, plus the op­tion of a set of

Sport­sCat fit­ted right in on mate’s Waikato dairy block.

In­te­rior is Colorado but with bet­ter seats, and HSV badge on steer­ing wheel.

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