There’s something cool about driving a truck, especially a high-riding 4WD truck. You start to feel like you can drive over anything and go anywhere. There are a lot of utes around, and more and more people are buying them as family cars or commuter vehicles rather than trade hacks.
Because of this, the quality, driveability and luxury you can get is steadily improving. The Hilux and Ranger are getting a lot of attention, and now Holden’s new facelifted Colorado is here. People may want to stick with Holden as it’s a local manufacturer, but the Colorado is now built by Isuzu alongside their D-Max ute. So should you still stick with Holden?
There’s a huge range of options when you’re buying a Colorado. It can be had as a pickup or a bare chassis, either single or Crew Cab versions in 2wd, or in 4wd there’s a third option in between the two that Holden call a Space Cab.
The single cab has one trim level, the Space Cab has two and the Crew Cab has four, plus the 4wd version has a fifth option, the Z71 with 18” wheels and lots of external cosmetic enhancements. Then there’s the extensive range of mats, accessories, protection bars, load protection, canopy covers, driving lights. It could get complicated speccing up one of these!
Standard features across the range include Apple Carplay and Android Auto, 7” touchscreen media system with 6 speakers in the Crew Cab, 7 airbags, electric power steering, leather steering wheel, LED running lights, remote window activation, rear camera and park assist, hill start assist, ESC, hill descent control, power mirrors, Helical LSD and Trailer Sway Control. The LT adds 17” wheels, side steps and fog lights. The LTZ adds lots more: 18” alloys, 8” screen and 7 speakers, remote start, front park assist, heated mirrors, auto lights and wipers, tyre pressure monitoring, lane departure warning and collision alert, and a host of exterior trim upgrades.
Another $6k for the Z71 ($66,990 for the auto) adds leather, heated seats, tonneau cover, roof rails, sports side bars, decals, black exterior trims and different bumpers, making it look quite different to the other models.
The whole range has the same 2.8l Duramax 2 Diesel giving 147kW and 500Nm of torque, and maximum torque is produced at 2000rpm.
Our test vehicle, the Crew cab 4wd pickup in LTZ trim, came in a rather striking bright red, which I think is a great colour for the Colorado and really stands out. The other available colours are all pretty muted – silvers, blues, black and white of course. It’s a good looking truck, with an updated version of the Holden double grille which gives it some real road presence. They’ve re-worked a few other things, like the headlights with integrated DRLs, and different foglights. It’s a big beast too, high off the ground giving 215mm of ground clearance. The fat chrome rollover bar on the back and the side steps add to the chunky look.
The inside of the Colorado has changed quite a bit from the previous model with a new dash and entertainment system. The dash has a chunky, utilitarian look to it as you might expect in a truck. The instruments are lit in white and are clear, with a big rev counter and speedo, fuel and temperature gauges, and a 4” information screen in the middle. This is controlled by buttons and a twist ring on the indicator stalk and is a bit fiddly at first, but easy to get used to. There’s lots of information in there including tyre pressures and tyre load, road speed, eco gauge, fuel consumption, trip counter etc.
The central 8″ touch screen controls the media system and is the screen for the reversing camera, which has moving guide lines when you turn the wheel (unlike quite a lot of vehicles). I like that it has physical buttons for the main functions, and a volume knob. There are volume and track skip controls on the steering wheel, the volume being adjusted with a toggle that you flick up or down with your thumb. I wasn’t a big fan of the volume control and would have preferred buttons. Cruise control is also set by steering wheel buttons with a similar toggle to adjust the speed.
I would have liked the steering wheel to have a bit more shape to it. I know this is far from a sports car but having shaped sections at nine and three can really help the comfort level on long trips.
The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable in six directions, passenger seat is manually adjusted, and surprisingly the steering wheel only adjusts for height, not reach. I struggled to find the perfect position, and on a longer trip I started wishing there was some lumbar support for the driver. Side support is good though and the seats are comfortable, not too hard or soft. Both front seats have a handy cloth pocket at the front where you could put a phone or a notebook.
Rear legroom is very good in the Crew cab version and I can imagine the two side seats being comfortable for longer trips. Five might be less so. There are five full seats with 3 point belts, unlike the Space Cab which is a four seater. The back of the back seats can be folded flat in one piece if you want to transport tools or equipment inside the truck without wrecking your seats.
One thing that I found surprising is that there are no cup holders anywhere! There are bottle holders in the door pockets (which are cloth lined inside to stop rattles). You can buy an accessory cup holder from Holden which looks like it clips to one of the air vents.
The Colorado can be started remotely using a button on the key fob. The fob can also be used to open or close all of the windows remotely. Alternatively, a key in the ignition does the job too. Holden say the 2.8 litre diesel has been re-worked to reduce harshness and vibration, and it is pretty smooth for a diesel, but not exactly quiet.
The facelifted Colorado includes more sound insulation and improved, larger seals in the doors to reduce wind and road noise. It’s so well sealed that it drops the window in the front doors when they’re opened to stop it creating pressure when it’s closed. I had a couple of issues with this: one is that it drops the window about 3cm, and a couple of times in the rain I got a shower when closing the door. The second was that one time the window forgot to go back up when I closed the door. The seals work really well, with impressively low road and wind noise on the motorway. The loudest thing you can hear is the engine when accelerating, but it settles down to being hardly noticeable when cruising along. It lets you hear the seven speaker stereo well, which is decent quality, and has the usual inputs: Bluetooth, aux or USB. There are two power sockets in the bottom of the centre console and another in the storage cubby/arm rest.
The previous model was criticised for having over-soft suspension, and Holden have made lots of changes to improve this, including shocks and roll bars. They’ve done a good job and it’s firm without being uncomfortable. You do get the usual slightly jiggly ride when the bed is empty but there’s no way around that with limited weight on the rear axle and rear wheel drive. There’s a rotary switch on the centre console to switch the drive from two to four-wheel drive and into low ratio mode when you need it. The steering has been changed in this model from hydraulic to electric, and it’s really good. Light at low speeds and heavier at higher speeds. There’s a lot in the sales information for the Colorado about car-like handling, and they’re right; it may be a big, high truck but it handles really well and is great to drive. The engine pulls hard, making its maximum 500Nm of torque from 2000rpm. Acceleration from a standstill and in-gear are surprisingly quick. All of that torque makes it easy to spin the wheels in the wet, but the traction control sorts it out nicely if you’re a bit heavy footed. The auto gearbox is hardly noticeable in normal driving, which is definitely a good thing as it means it just does its job.
The Colorado has collision detection, which warns you when it thinks you are about to hit something. A loud beep sounds, and a line of red LEDs flashes, reflecting on the windscreen in front of the driver. It certainly makes you pay attention! I know this because I had three or four false alarms during my week with this truck. Presumably it detected the side barriers, or parked cars.
My daughter and I took the truck to Staglands, one of her favourite places, and one of my favourite drives to test out a vehicle. The high vantage point was great on the tight, winding roads, and there was no car-sickness in the back which was a bit of a surprise as I expected some complaints.
We tested out the satnav on the way. The maps are clear and easy to follow and have 3D building shapes in the city to help to visualise where you are. The directions are really good too, but the voice sounds a little bit like a female Stephen Hawking. It does have good manners though, saying “Please take the next left” for example. Talking of sounds, the electronic sounds made by the various controls in the Colorado are a bit harsh: the click when pressing a button on the touch screen, and particularly the indicator sound. They sound a bit old-fashioned to me and spoil the ambience a bit.
Despite its 5.3m length, and being higher than I’m used to, I found parking the Colorado to be easy. It has front and rear sensors with a display to show where you’re getting close to an object, as well as the camera. The side mirrors are great too, being pretty huge. The reversing camera’s not much use when the tailgate is lowered as you just see the ground.
The Colorado’s torque combined with the four-wheel drive and auto gearbox make it feel like it can tackle just about anything. It gives you a feeling of freedom, I found myself driving over rough ground or bumps sometimes just because I could.
There is a surprisingly large choice of utes for us in New Zealand, all with pretty similar pricing and power ratings.
|Brand / Model||Engine||Power||Fuel L/100km||Price Highest to Lowest|
|VW Amarok Dual Cab Trendline||2.0l 4 cylinder turbodiesel||132kW/420Nm||8.3||$61,990|
|Holden Colorado 4×4 LTZ Crew Cab||2.8l 4 cylinder turbo diesel||147kW/500Nm||8.7||$60,990|
|Isuzu D-Max Dual Cab LS-T||3.0l 4 cylinder turbodiesel||130kW/380Nm||8.3||$60,990|
|Toyota Hilux Dual Cab SR||2.8l 4 cylinder turbodiesel||130kW/450Nm||8.5||$59,990|
|Mitsubishi Triton Dual Cab GLS||2.4l 4 cylinder turbodiesel||135kW/437Nm||7.6||$59,490|
|Ford Ranger Super Cab XLT||3.2l 5 cylinder turbodiesel||147kW/420Nm||8.7||$58,990|
|Nissan Navara Dual Cab ST||2.3l 4 cylinder turbodiesel||140kW/450Nm||7.0||$57,490|
|Mazda BT-50 Dual Cab GSX||3.2l 5 cylinder turbodiesel||147kW/470Nm||9.2||$57,250|
The pros and cons
What we think
The new Colorado is a very good truck. The engine, drivetrain and handling are great, it drives well and has lots of safety features. It’s capable off-road and has a 3.5 tonne towing capacity. Being a ute, it’s really practical of course. There’s good interior space and comfort, and decent equipment levels. It’s let down a little bit by some annoying things like that indicator sound, but they are things which Holden could fix pretty easily.
Rating – Chevron rating 4 out of 5
|Vehicle Type||Utility vehicle|
|Starting Price||$39,990 (2WD Single cab chassis manual LS)
$49,490 (4WD Single cab chassis manual LS)
$50,990 (4WD Space cab chassis manual LS)
$52,490 (4WD Crew cab chassis manual LS)
$55,490 (4WD Crew cab pickup manual LS)
$66,990 (4WD Crew cab pickup auto Z71)
(Front Nudge Bar $1080)
|Engine||2.8L double overhead cam 4-cylinder common rail injection Duramax Diesel with 4 valves per cylinder.|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic transmission with active select|
|0 – 100 kph||N/A|
|Kerb Weight||2121 kg|
|Length x Width x Height||5361 x 1872 x 1800mm|
|Tray size Length x Width x Height||1784 x 1534 x 466mm
1122mm between arches
|Towing Capacity||3500kg with trailer brakes
750kg without trailer brakes
|Fuel Tank||76 litres|
|Fuel Efficiency||Advertised Spec – Combined – 8.7L / 100km
Real World Test – Combined – 9.7L / 100km
|ANCAP Safety Ratings||5 stars|