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2012 Holden Colorado First Drive

by Brad Leach -

  • OUR VERDICT: 4/5 rating4/5 rating4/5 rating4/5 rating4
  • PRICE RANGE: $26,990 - $51,990*
  • PROS: Towing/payload capacities are impressive; nice looks; beaut diesel
  • CONS: Doesn’t cover all rivals in all specifications.
  • Safety Rating: 
  • Green Rating: 
  • Fuel Consumption:  12L/100km
  • Write your own review

Whether for work or play the numbers count for light commercial vehicles and Holden’s great-looking all-new Colorado presents some impressive stats. Priced from $26,990, the all-new Holden Colorado boasts a class-leading towing capacity up to 3.5-tonnes and a payload up to 1.4-tonnes. 

 



The Colorado is General Motor’s latest mid-size truck architecture and was designed at GM’s Brazil facility in Sao Paulo with input from teams throughout the world (including Holden’s Kirsty Lindsay who spent two years in Brazil working on colour and trims for the interior).

Now being manufactured in Brazil and Thailand (Australian vehicles naturally sourced from the latter) Colorado is sold in 60 countries. Holden’s role in Colorado development was enormous and – for example – our vehicles carry a unique suspension tune, calibrated after thousands of kilometers of testing on local roads and at the Holden Proving Ground in Lang Lang, Victoria.

Holden Colorado Overview


Three body styles (Single Cab, Space Cab and Crew Cab), four trim levels (DX, LX, LT and LTZ), two engines (2.5-litre and 2.8-litre) and 14 models – Holden Colorado, like other light commercials, doesn’t pull-up short on choice.

Holden reserves the 2.5-litre powerplant for entry-grade 2WD DX model Colorados (with a five-speed manual transmission, 16-inch steel wheels and vinyl floor trim). DX model 4x4 goes to the 2.8-litre. 

 



LX models add features such as optional six-speed automatic transmission, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, body-colour exterior mirrors with turn indicators, six-speaker audio, carpet and multi-adjustable drivers’ seat.

For the LT, add front fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Range-topping Holden Colorado LTZ is fully loaded with extras such as handsome 17-inch alloy wheels, projector headlights, alloy sports bar, side steps, soft tonneau cover, LED rear lights, climate control air-conditioning, eight-way electric drivers’ seat and eight-speaker audio.

The full range is:
4x2 Single Cab
DX Cab Chassis (2.5-litre) Man $26,990
LX Cab Chassis Man $27,990
LX Cab Chassis Auto $29,990

4x2 Crew Cab
LX Cab Chassis Man $33,990
LX Cab Chassis Auto $35,990
LX Pickup Man $35,490
LX Pickup Auto $37,490
LT Pickup Man $36,490
LT Pickup Auto $38,490
LTZ Pickup Man $40,990
LTZ Pickup Auto $42,990

4x4 Single Cab
DX Cab Chassis Man $34,990
LX Cab Chassis Man $35,990
LX Cab Chassis Auto $37,990
 


4x4 Space Cab
LX Cab Chassis Man $40,490
LX Cab Chassis Auto $42,490
LTZ Pickup Man $47,490
LTZ Pickup Auto $49,490

4x4 Crew Cab
LX Cab Chassis Man $42,990
LX Cab Chassis Auto $44,990
LX Pickup Man $44,490
LX Pickup Auto $46,490
LT Pickup Man $45,490
LT Pickup Auto $47,490
LTZ Pickup Man $49,990
LTZ Pickup Auto $51,990

Holden Colorado Engine


The all-new Holden Colorado is exclusively diesel – the numbers made that decision a ‘no-brainer’. Some 80 per cent of Colorado sales will be 4x4 models and in 2011, 90 per cent of vehicles sold in that segment were diesel-powered.

In fact, Holden Colorado is the first global application of GM’s latest Duramax in-line, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engines – 2.5-litre and 2.8-litre. With power up by 10 per cent and torque improved by 40 per-cent over the superseded 3.0-litre engine…well engine development never sleeps.

The 2.5-litre engine is only fitted to 2WD versions of the entry-grade DX model with the five-speed manual transmission. Maximum power is 110kW at 3800rpm and peak torque is 350Nm at 2000rpm. 



All other models employ the 2.8-litre engine in two guises. Five-speed manual versions deliver 132kW at 3800rpm and peak torque of 440Nm at 2000rpm, while six-speed automatic versions gain an extra 30Nm to 470Nm at 2000rpm.

The six-speed automatic transmission is GM’s 6L50 – from the same family as the six-speeder fitted to the Holden Commodore.

As you would expect from GM, fuel efficiency is impressive – at 7.8l/100kms, the Holden Colorado 2WD manual actually matches the much-hyped Volkswagen Amarok in that department.

Holden Colorado The Interior


If you’re familiar with the interior of the previous generation Holden Colorado…well you can forget it because pleasingly, the all-new model is much more modern, exudes a much better quality look and feel for the trim materials and a ‘GM-family’ look – in fact the twin gauges and instrument panel actually resemble the Chevrolet Camaro.
 


Range-topping Holden Colorado LTZ gets up-scale instruments and audio as well as power driver’s seat adjustment and was our favourite. And here’s a lesson in market nuances – the nicely-shaped steering wheel only adjusts for rake (no reach) as light truck buyers said that feature wasn’t important to them…so GM was able to pull-out related costs from Colorado production.

Trip computer information is terrific and those who tow trailers will be pleased to hear one of the displays shows the transmission oil temperature. 



Holden says the Crew Cab versions of the all-new Colorado provide rear seat legroom (914mm) which matches the best in-class. And unlike some rivals, there back of the rear seat in the all-new Colorado isn’t bolt-upright, it’s recline angle providing a more relaxed seating position.

We like the look of the Holden Colorado Space Cab models and with both doors open, the pillar-less cabin access is handy for both cargo and rear-seat passengers.

Holden Colorado Exterior & Styling


With concepts like ‘Powerful’, ‘Strong’ and ‘Big’ within their horizon, GM’s stylists in Sao Paulo, Brazil had a clean sheet of paper when starting on the Colorado. Holden calls it ‘The Right Kind Of Big’ and certainly the all-new Holden Colorado has a commanding on-road presence.

And, even though the finished design is a function of customer styling clinics held in all markets, there’s no doubt the all-new Holden Colorado has a look and feel of an American ‘pickup’. For example the muscular front-end and twin element front grille continued from the very first concept car. 



This is enhanced in the range-topping Holden Colorado LTZ thanks to its projector headlights, alloy sports bar and very nice side-steps.

Other design features like the nice character lines in the tailgate and rear panels of pickup versions and the athletic touch of the wheel arch flares all contribute to a very good looking design package.

Holden Colorado On The Road


Holden gave us a very thorough two-day test program in a variety of Colorado models – all based near Ipswich, west of Brisbane. Car Showroom tested 4WD and 2WD models on and off-road and even towed a heavy trailer carrying a trench-digger…and that’s not something you see at all new car launches. 



Kudos for Holden’s suspension development are justified. All-new Holden Colorado runs a body-on-frame chassis - with eight cross-members for impressive rigidity - an independent front-end and rear leaf-springs with the springs over the axle for extra ground clearance (rated at 210mm). Ride comfort is very passenger car-like.

Also passenger car-like is the interior acoustics – aided by the impressively quiet Duramax turbo-diesel.

Over the off-road tracks, Holden Colorado was un-fazed and while it doesn’t have Ford Ranger’s impressive downhill decent control technology, the all-new Colorado (even with an automatic transmission) made short work of a couple of steep tracks. 



It’s been a whole since we’ve towed a heavy trailer and of course towing is the Holden Colorado’s strong suit. With lots of room inside combining with that 3.5-tonne capacity, ‘Grey Nomads’, boating or equestrian enthusiasts have a lot t like in the all-new Holden Colorado.

Holden Colorado Challenges


Holden Colorado looks great, drives great and has many of the features light commercial buyers look for. We drove a number of Colorados over two days and only quibbles were a couple of them had some minor rattles around the dashboard and some interior trim elements which didn’t quite line-up.

Holden Colorado Verdict


We expected the all-new Holden Colorado to impress – and it does. This vehicle is too important in the global GM world to be anything less.

Like the Ford Ranger, we score the Holden Colorado highly for its American ‘light truck’ looks – hey the U.S. has for decades built the world’s best light trucks so it makes sense to take some cues from them. And on the inside, the transformation over the previous generation Colorado - in style, quality, comfort and features - is like night and day. 



And, also like the Ranger, Holden Colorado delivers driving dynamics which are so good even hardened sedan buyers could drive them every day and be happy.

Of course Holden Colorado’s trump cards are its 3.5-tonne towing capacity and 1.4-tonne payload.

Holden Colorado The Opposition


Light commercials are a complex market segment and you need to be very specific about features important to you when making comparisons.

No better example than the locally-developed, made-in-Thailand Ford Ranger. While Holden boasts of Colorado’s payload capacity up to 1.4-tonnes, Ranger’s cargo-area tie-down system (pickup models) is slicker. 



Both have great looks and driving dynamics which match the Volkswagen Amarok (the stylish German hitherto regarded as the slickest on-road drive).

Of course this segment is dominated by the top-selling Toyota HiLux. Both HiLux and Nissan Navara have recently been freshened but we’re talking generational change for Holden Colorado (and Ford Ranger) and both Japanese rivals now look an drive a little dated.

 

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