|GM Holden's third best-selling vehicle, the Colorado has been given a significant upgrade with an all-new 2.8 litre Duramax engine across the range with the 2.5 litre engine having been shown the door. Colorado also gets a six speed manual transmission replacing the old five speed. The changes apply to the Colorado light commercial range including twin cab utes as well as the Colorado 7 SUV wagon. Major safety improvements were also announced as Holden admitted it was, for the first time, chasing sales to Australia's mining market - for decades the province of Toyota's HiLux and LandCruiser.
It is also looking to increase sales in the private segment, in particular the Colorado 7 to ' grey nomads' who have in recent years taken to Toyota's Prado and to a lesser extent Mitsubishi's Pajero. The push into these two areas is linked by one common factor: having service and parts available in Australia's remote areas. Holden is now building an outback network of service areas in WA and the Northern Territory specifically for Colorado to give both mining companies and private buyers quick access to spare parts and servicing.
"Mining companies are now ordering Colorado," said Holden spokesman Phil Brook at the launch of the upgraded Colorado range. "We are looking for improved fleet sales that have traditionally dominated by Toyota. We are beginning to make in-roads into the mining industry with fleet sales of not just Colorado light commercials, but also Colorado 7." Mr Brook said Holden was on the verge of making a major announcement in regard to mining industry sales.
With tight workplace health and safety requirements for fleet sales, Holden's Thailand-built Colorado that has had a 5-Star safety rating since being launched in mid 2012, is well placed for taking on the large fleet contracts that emanate from Australia's mining industry. This Colorado upgrade sees LX, LT and LTZ models now having side airbags in addition to side curtain airbags. A reversing camera is standard on all Colorado 7 models and the top of the range LTZ dual cab. Other models have the option of a reversing camera at $360. The picture for the reversing camera is shown via the standard 7-inch dash-mounted MyLink infotainment screen.
The light commercial vehicle segment as well as SUVs have never been so competitive than at present. SUV's currently make up the second largest sales segment behind small cars and hold more than 30 per cent of the market. Mr Brook said it was vital to keep products competitive with more content in vehicles as well as maintain a competitive price. Colorado prices remain the same apart from auto versions that see a $220 increase. Other improvements include the addition of hill start assist, hill descent control for going down steep hills without braking and trailer sway control that intervenes of instability is detected while towing a caravan or trailer.
Holden have also included Colorado in its roll-out of high-tech media system via MyLink that connects smart phones to the vehicle's system via cable or Bluetooth and access to embedded apps including Pandora, Stitcher and TuneIn which connect owners to their favourite music, news and entertainment and satellite navigation via BringGo, a navigation app on your phone that displays on the vehicle's 7-inch screen and includes access to 3D maps, turn by turn directions without requiring a 3G connection. The same system was launched with the new Holden Trax small SUV a few weeks ago.
What has not changed for Colorado is the interior, but Holden confirmed improvements were in the pipeline for a future upgrade. No changes were slotted however for the steering or suspension - areas where Colorado, in particular the family oriented Colorado 7 SUV is seen by some to lag behind the competition. Mr Brook said there had been no negative feedback about handling or ride from Colorado owners and no changes were planned.
At launch Holden provided auto Colorado 7 vehicles as well as manual and auto Colorado Dual Cab utes, all in LTZ specification. The improvements Holden have made to Colorado are immediately apparent. The engine is less noisy and has great pulling power in both manual and auto guise. At 110 km/h the manual Colorado sits on 1700 rpm on the highway and at 100 km/h this drops to 1500 rpm. Cabin noise is negligible. The new six speed manual is smooth with the gates easy to locate. Sixth gear is esssentially a highway-only cog designed to reduce revs and improve fuel economy. It does however pull pretty well, but steep hills require dropping back a gear.
The interior is lacklustre not in design but finish and quality. The arm rests are not padded and the overall feel is of hard plastics. But, Holden already know this and improvements have been flagged. They might also like to add reach to the tilt adjust steering wheel to allow drivers to find their optimum driving position. Our road test took us up the Hume Highway to Tallarook State Forest and some serious 4WD tracks that included steep rocky and rutted inclines and mud baths giving the opportunity to test wheel articulation, low range climbing and the new hill descent control that now includes speed adjust on the run. At its best the hill descent keeps the downhill speed to around three or four km/h, but you can feather the accelerator to slightly increase speed if the slope flattens out or touch the brake to reduce speed and the system slows back to around 4 km/h. On even the steepest slopes it works, and works well leaving the driver to negotiate the safest path.
With Colorado having hill start assist there is no longer a great need for 'key starts' the traditional way of re-starting a vehicle after a stop on steep inclines. In any case the Colorado requires the clutch to be depressed to start as a safety feature, so key starts are not an option. We were really impressed with Colorado 7 and Colorado dual cab off road. The suspension that seems so vague on road suddenly becomes forgiving off-road adding to passenger comfort in rough conditions. The six speed and auto had no difficulty with traction in slippery conditions with the rear limited slip diff seemingly enough for the average rough and ready conditions that most owners would want from a stock 4WD. Holden do not offer factory fitted diff locks, so for people wanting to upgrade to more serious ability, after-market options would be the go. The new Duramax 2 engine offers 147 kW of power and 500 Nm of torque when linked to the auto transmission and 147 kW and 440 Nm when hitched to the new 6-speed manual. Fuel consumption has not altered. FULL LIST OF MODELS AND PRICING BELOW
COLORADO MODELS AND PRICING
(Pricing does not include dealer or government charges, see your local Holden dealer for driveway pricing)
4x2 SINGLE CAB RRPLX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $27,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT $30,190
4x2 CREW CABLX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $33,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT $36,190
LX Pickup 2.8L TD MT $35,490
LX Pickup 2.8L TD AT $37,690
LT Pickup 2.8L TD MT $36,490
LT Pickup 2.8L TD AT $38,690
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD MT $40,990
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD AT $43,190
4x4 SINGLE CABDX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $34,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $35,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT $38,190
4x4 SPACE CABLX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $40,490
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT $42,690
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD MT $47,490
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD AT $49,690
4x4 CREW CABLX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD MT $42,990
LX Cab Chassis 2.8L TD AT $45,190
LX Pickup 2.8L TD MT $44,490
LX Pickup 2.8L TD AT $46,690
LT Pickup 2.8L TD MT $45,490
LT Pickup 2.8L TD AT $47,690
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD MT $49,990
LTZ Pickup 2.8L TD AT $52,190
4x4 COLORADO 7LT SUV 2.8L TD AT $46,990
LTZ SUV 2.8L TD AT $50,490