HSV SPORTSCAT

Life af­ter Com­modore at Clay­ton? It looks like this

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents - RYAN LEWIS

Colorado 4x4 ute gets done for rough han­dling

THEY say Amer­ica is the land of sec­ond acts. It might be the only place on earth where a heav­ily ac­cented Aus­trian body­builder can make a Hol­ly­wood for­tune then rein­vent him­self as a politi­cian to gov­ern the state that made him fa­mous.

Arnie’s meta­mor­pho­sis could pro­vide in­spi­ra­tion for the folks at HSV. Trans­for­ma­tion is pre­cisely what the lo­cal out­fit is go­ing through post-com­modore, but a wary Aus­tralian pub­lic means its sec­ond com­ing as a dual-cab ute ven­dor presents a few haz­ards.

The full moniker of its en­trant is Holden Colorado Sportscat by HSV. The awk­ward suf­fix sug­gests there’s a lit­tle dis­com­fort at Clay­ton about go­ing all-in with HSV brand­ing even though Sportscat is cur­rently the only prod­uct in its deal­er­ships.

Keep­ing an arm’s-length may be down to the fact it makes no more power than a stan­dard Colorado: 147kw and 440Nm with a man­ual or 500Nm with the op­tional auto ($2200). There’s noth­ing wrong with the burly 2.8-litre four-cylin­der turbo-diesel in this ap­pli­ca­tion, but it’s a big de­par­ture for HSV, es­pe­cially left un­touched.

That’s not to say HSV has sat on its hands here. Both ver­sions, Sportscat ($60,790) and Sportscat+ ($66,790), have ex­ten­sive sus­pen­sion, braking and styling up­grades mak­ing them bet­ter on- and off-road.

The Sportscat+ tested here is ex­pected to be the pop­u­lar choice. It’s the more heav­ily stylised of the pair, in­clud­ing a non-func­tional bon­net bulge and op­tional rear sail-plane ($1300) in­spired by ski boats. A lower bash plate, LED lamps and tow hooks add util­ity and road pres­ence.

Ride height has grown 25mm with a front sus­pen­sion lift (to even out rake), and a taller 285/60 Cooper tyre de­vel­oped with HSV adds an­other 10mm for to­tal ground clear­ance of 251mm. Arch ex­ten­sions house 18x10inch forged al­loys and keep the 30mm wider track within check. Strut brac­ing in­side the arches adds rigid­ity, and a larger (33mm) front anti-roll bar and the ad­di­tion of a rear anti-roll bar (22mm) in the Sportscat+ de­liver bet­ter cor­ner­ing sup­port.

On road the up­rated sus­pen­sion brings clear han­dling im­prove­ments, with bet­ter body con­trol than ex­pected from this class of ve­hi­cle with­out a pro­nounced im­pact on the rough and ready ride com­fort that’s par for the course in this cat­e­gory. Buy­ers flush with cash can op­tion even tougher Su­pashock sus­pen­sion ($3600) with ex­ter­nal oil reser­voirs sim­i­lar to that in the HSV GTSR W1.

Up front, four-pis­ton AP Rac­ing brakes clamp 362mm ro­tors, and a larger mas­ter cylin­der re­duces pedal travel for greater feel. The stop­pers work well con­sid­er­ing the 2274kg heft they’re ar­rest­ing.

But this is ob­vi­ously not a sports car, and still needs arm­fuls of steer­ing to wind lock-to-lock. The rub­ber at each corner hangs on rea­son­ably well at nor­mal road speeds, but squeals early in faster cor­ner­ing. Driven like the dual-cab that it is, it’s a more com­pe­tent pack­age than a reg­u­lar Colorado.

In­side, sports seats trimmed in leather and suede fea­ture a unique base with larger bol­sters. It’s other­wise stan­dard Colorado Z71 fare in­clud­ing Ap­ple and An­droid con­nec­tiv­ity, 8.0-inch screen, re­vers­ing cam­era, lane-de­par­ture warn­ing and re­mote start.

Few could have known 30 years ago that HSV was build­ing a house on sand by fo­cus­ing on a sin­gle large sedan. Sportscat may sound like a stab in the dark in Com­modore’s im­me­di­ate wake, but the ex­e­cu­tion is good enough that it could prove a solid foun­da­tion for HSV’S rein­ven­tion.

Model Holden Colorado Sportscat+ by HSV En­gine 2776cc 4cyl, 16v, dohc, turbo-diesel Max power 147kw @ 3600rpm Max torque 500Nm @ 2000rpm Trans­mis­sion 6-speed au­to­matic Weight 2274kg 0-100km/h 10.5sec (es­ti­mated) Econ­omy 9.1L/100km Price $68,990 On sale Now

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