SHED: HOLDEN COLORADO LTZ

TWO DAYS AF­TER SCOOP­ING UP THE KEYS TO OUR NEW HOLDEN COLORADO, IT WAS OFF TO ALICE SPRINGS FOR THE FINKE DESERT RACE.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

IF THERE was one big mover among the nine four-wheel drive dou­ble-cab utes we had in the big test last month, it was the Holden Colorado. The re­vi­sions to the long-serv­ing model back in 2017 have el­e­vated it from a backof-the-pack player to one worth se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion if you’re in the dou­ble­cab ute mar­ket. The im­prove­ments in re­fine­ment, equip­ment, styling and, most of all, off-road abil­ity have seen it climb up the leader­board of this ul­tra­com­pet­i­tive seg­ment.

We thought the im­prove­ments were so sig­nif­i­cant that it war­ranted a closer look, so we se­cured this Colorado LTZ for the next three months. We picked it up from Holden on a Fri­day, I packed it Satur­day and on Sun­day took off on a drive to Alice Springs to watch the Finke Desert Race – a 5000km round trip cov­er­ing high­ways, back roads and the Ood­na­datta Track.

The Colorado doesn’t have a 12-volt power out­let in the cargo tub like many other utes these days, but trav­el­ling solo meant I had plenty of in­te­rior space. With the back­seat folded up I was able to se­cure a 47-litre ARB fridge and a power pack be­hind the driver’s seat and power them via the 12-volt out­let at the rear of the con­sole. Other soft goods took up the rest of the back­seat, while a swag, stretcher, bar­be­cue hot­plate, chairs, ta­ble, fire­wood, saw and a large Space Case that holds most of my camp­ing gear went in the tub. It all fit­ted neatly un­der the fac­tory ton­neau cover, which pro­tected the load from rain but not dust. The fine red out­back dust sucks in from the tail­gate, as it does on all utes with­out af­ter­mar­ket seals fit­ted, and left its sig­na­ture over ev­ery­thing.

The Colorado LTZ’S 2.8-litre diesel en­gine is a grunty yet noisy lit­tle rat­tler that gets along well thanks to its abun­dance of torque and the quick-shift­ing six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. With 500Nm on tap, this Ital­ian-made mill is the torquiest four­cylin­der en­gine in its class, beaten only by V6 diesels … for now.

More im­pres­sive than the grunt of the en­gine is the fuel econ­omy. Af­ter our pre­vi­ous two long-ter­m­ers – Y62 Pa­trol and the G-pro­fes­sional

Mercedes-benz – the Colorado is a fuel miser. Av­er­age fuel use for the trip was 9.83L/100km, with the worst fuel num­bers of 10.94L/100km scored on the 130km/h sec­tions of the NT high­way. On the high­way run from Ade­laide to Mel­bourne, it av­er­aged 8.2L/100km.

With no time to re­place the OE tyres on the LTZ’S 18-inch al­loys be­fore we left, I was con­cerned about the dura­bil­ity of them on the rougher sec­tions of the Ood­na­datta Track, so I was very care­ful as we trav­elled its length. Still, trav­el­ling at a fair clip I was con­stantly mind­ful of the tyres and the rocks on the track and checked them for dam­age each morn­ing be­fore leav­ing camp. It was with re­lief when we hit the high­way at Marla not hav­ing to re­place any of the tyres, which in­spired con­fi­dence in the Goodyear Wran­gler 684II H/TS.

The OE sus­pen­sion coped pretty well with the rough and tum­ble as well. Some sec­tions of the track were pretty cor­ru­gated and had my Land Cruis­er­driv­ing mate com­plain­ing about the con­di­tions. The Colorado wasn’t fazed by them; al­though, the leaf-sprung live rear end was prone to kick out a bit as you crossed over them, but you ex­pect that of a mid-size truck.

The Colorado LTZ ap­plied it­self well as an out­back tourer: it was com­fort­able, eco­nom­i­cal, car­ried the load well and didn’t let me down. If I was go­ing to be us­ing it in this ter­rain more reg­u­larly I’d be fit­ting some tougher tyres for more con­fi­dence in their de­pend­abil­ity, some frontal pro­tec­tion in the form of a bull­bar, and a dual-bat­tery sys­tem to keep the cans cold in the fridge. The weight of those ac­ces­sories would prob­a­bly war­rant a sus­pen­sion up­grade as well, but in stock-stan­dard guise this Holden goes all right.

SOME SEC­TIONS OF THE TRACK WERE PRETTY COR­RU­GATED BUT DIDN’T FAZE THE COLORADO

Track­side digs for the 2018 Finke Desert Race.

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