Holden Colorado LX 4x4

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Keywords: Holden Colorado LX 4x4
Description: 2012 HOLDEN COLORADO REVIEW Vehicle Style: Double cab 4x4 utility Price: $46,590 (including $2000 optional auto) (plus on-roads) Fuel Ec...

At face value, Holden’s new RG Colorado range looks to have what it takes to rival the star performers of the 4x4 utility segment: the Ford Ranger. Mazda BT-50. and Volkswagen Amarok.

Like the Ranger/BT-50 twins, it has grown in size over its previous generation, with significant improvements to passenger accommodation, safety and overall performance.

This performance boost is led by the grunty VM Motori-sourced 2.8 litre turbodiesel engine, matching the Ranger/BT-50’s category best 470Nm when paired to the automatic transmission tested here.

Australia has taken to the new model well, and in its first full month of sales (July 2012) 1159 4x4 models found homes, nearly equalling the much-heralded Ranger 4x4 with 1250 sales.

We sampled the new model at its Australian launch, testing the 4x4 Colorado with three tonnes in tow and a dose of off-road driving (but shorter than preferred) where it showed itself capable.

Given the opportunity for a longer test, rather than put it through a slippery fire trail, we wanted to see how the entry-level LX 4x4 model stacked up under regular daily use - the kind it might have as a family driver or tradie work-companion.

Interior material choices and fit are of a similar calibre, though not perfect. One niggle we found was that the power window switch surround on each front door moved in unison with the switch. It’s a small thing, but this was in a new car.

Despite this, the Colorado was impressively rattle-free over the worst of Sydney’s concrete pavement .

Comfort: The LX normally comes fully-carpeted front and rear, which will please families but perhaps not those getting in and out with muddy boots. However, our tester came with the optional rubber floor mats - the sensible choice for a work vehicle.

Front and rear seating is covered in soft cloth, but with rather firm cushioning underneath. Both front seats are manually adjustable in six-directions, though like all other utes in the category, steering is adjustable for height only.

Rear seat passengers are well catered for, with a comfortable backrest angle and legroom to genuinely rival a Ford Falcon.

Equipment: The Colorado LX comes pretty well-stocked for the base model 4WD model, with cruise control, leather steering wheel with multi-function controls, trip computer, power mirrors and windows, Bluetooth and audio streaming, along with 3.5mm and USB jacks.

Our tester was optioned with ($550) metallic paint, though it’s worth noting that the only non-metallic colour in the Colorado palette is white.

We’d be inclined to choose the LX model over the $1000 more expensive LT, foregoing just the LT’s alloy wheels and front foglights.

The LX’s steel wheels will cope better with off-road use, and $1000 buys one hell of a set of infinitely more useful aftermarket driving lights.

Storage: The Colorado LX’s Pickup tray lacks the standard bed liner of some competitors, but meets the category standard for dimensions.

A payload of 1084kg also compares well with rival models, and is complemented by a segment-leading 3500kg maximum towing capacity and 6000kg gross combined mass (GCM).

Inside, there is an assortment of storage bins, including dual gloveboxes and a lidded bin beneath the rear seat base, plus HiLux-aping cupholders integrated into the corners of the dash.

Driveability: The LX’s 132kW 2.8 litre turbodiesel engine is a version of the unit found in several Chrysler and Jeep models, and provides spritely performance in the Colorado.

In automatic guise, it produces 470Nm of torque which combines well with the six-speed torque-converter automatic ($2000) fitted to our tester.

Peak torque is available from 2000rpm, which gave the stability and traction control a good workout on the slippery wet roads experienced during testing - traditionally a challenge for nose-heavy utes.

The accessibility of all that torque also makes for predictable overtaking and helps the Colorado hold sixth gear on all but the steepest of motorway climbs.

On a smooth freeway, the Colorado’s only notable compromise for long-distance travel are its stiff seat cushions.

Refinement: Overall, the Colorado remains more truck than family sedan, with the 2.8 litre engine feeling more gruff than we remember in Chrysler/Jeep models.

From the inside, there’s more diesel clatter and turbo whoosh than Ranger/BT50 or Amarok, though this is largely cancelled out at speed by some road and wind noise - but neither of which is particularly intrusive.

The Colorado’s automatic also does a good job of delivering the 2.8’s torque in a comfortable fashion (the manual versions we’ve sampled are prone to driveline clunking with less-than-perfect clutch actuation).

Suspension: The RG Colorado uses double wishbones and coil springs for its front suspension, compared with the torsion arms used previously.

However, the benefits of coils are not overly obvious to the driver, with the bump absorption of the Colorado’s variable-rate coils feeling almost as rigid as the previous linear-rate torsion bars.

This stiffness is matched by the rear leaf suspension - like most utes - due to its load-lugging priorities.

Such ruggedness may pay off when putting the Colorado’s 6000kg GCM to the test, but the Ranger/BT50 and Amarok each deliver far better ride comfort with similar GCM ratings.

Braking: The Colorado’s 300mm front disc/rear drum combination work well to rein in the LX Crew Cab’s 2016kg kerb weight, giving credence to the Colorado’s rated hauling capacity.

Safety features: Four airbags, anti-lock brakes, EBD, stability and traction control, front seatbelt pretensioners and three child seat anchorage points.

Service costs: Service intervals are set at nine months or 15,000km. The Colorado is covered by Holden’s capped price servicing plan, with a maximum service cost of $295 for the first four services within three years or 60,000km.

Isuzu D-Max 4x4 LS-M Crew Cab Ute ($46,200 auto) - Close cousin to Colorado, differing mainly in driveline and exterior detail.

The 3.0 litre Isuzu turbodiesel trails Colorado 2.8 by two kiloWatts and a significant 90Nm less torque. Also, its 3000kg towing capacity is 500kg less than the Colorado. (see D-Max reviews )

Mazda BT-50 4x4 Dual Cab Utility XT 3.2 Diesel ($46,160 auto) - Like its Ford Ranger blood brother, BT-50 blends on-road refinement with ruggedness and practicality like no other.

In XT guise, it undercuts Colorado LX on price, making the BT-50 a very compelling alternative. (see BT-50 reviews )

Toyota HiLux SR 4x4 Double-Cab Diesel ($44,490 auto) - The established category leader with an unbeaten reputation for toughness. However HiLux lags behind newer models in key mechanical specs and refinement. (see HiLux reviews )

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

The RG Colorado is a good thing. As a daily driver in this test, it is a vast improvement over the previous generation, and compares well with its fresher competition in terms of safety, spec, and practicality.

It does retain more of a commercial vehicle feel than Ranger/BT-50 and Amarok, and this will deter some lifestyle users.

The Colorado’s drive experience can easily match the HiLux (which it was almost certainly benchmarked against), and betters it with spec levels and performance.

The contemporary yet inoffensive styling also appeals, but given the strength of competitors in this segment, we’d recommend test driving the alternatives before signing on the dotted line.

  • 2012 Holden Colorado 4x4 Crew Cab Pickup - Manual - $44,490
  • 2012 Holden Colorado 4x4 Crew Cab Pickup - Auto - $46,490

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

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