The Holden Colorado is now the unsung hero of the ailing Lion brand, and is still kicking strongly(ish) for a manufacturer who used to dominate the local sales charts.
While it is true that the Lion brand is suffering through its darkest days, let’s not dwell on that fact; the Holden Colorado is genuinely a shining star for the Aussie manufacturer.
What is it?
The Holden Colorado LTZ 4x4 automatic we have on test sits near the top of the range and is well-equipped for its asking price of $52,690.
For that spend the car comes well-appointed, receiving a very functional cabin with leather upholstery and a number of bells and whistles to play with.
The interior also boasts heated front seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, automatic wipers and climate control. The Colorado’s infotainment is accessed by a larger 8.0-inch colour touchscreen that includes satellite navigation and smartphone mirroring tech for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Inside you also get forward collision and lane departure warnings, remote start, tyre pressure monitoring and carpet for your floors.
Outside, front sensors join those at the back, 18-inch alloy wheels spruce up the outside appeal and fog lights are standard. Our Colorado also had a tow package which differentiates the LTZ and LTZ+, so technically we’ve got a LTZ+ on our hands.
With all this gear and a booming dual-cab ute market, though, Holden can’t quite seem to capitalise on the buyers flocking to the segment as Toyota and Ford can. Is there something we’re missing?
What’s it like to drive?
The Colorado LTZ 4x4 is powered by a 2.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that can send power to either just the rear or all wheels, thanks to an on-the-fly switchable drivetrain system.
As for the power, it puts out 147kW and 500Nm and it can haul a one-tonne payload or a 3500kg braked trailer.
Forgetting the on-paper specs, though, the stand-out aspect we’re always quick to praise is the fulsome torque of the strong Duramax diesel.
The full 500Nm torque figure is available from 2000rpm and you really feel the engine pulling strong between each successive gear.
And in terms of on-road behaviour, the Colorado is generally a nice car to pedal along. It’s not especially unwieldy through corners and body roll is kept to a minimum, thanks to its Commodore-sourced steering rack and locally-tuned spring and damper tune.
It’s easily one of the nicer dual-cab utes to drive around town.
Big strides in refinement came to the Colorado as part of its 2016 refresh, and it shows with its noise and vibration kept to acceptable levels for a dual-cab ute. The diesel power unit does make itself heard at times but it doesn’t thrash and rattle like others.
While we didn’t venture off-tarmac this time with this Colorado, we’ve spent time in it on the rough stuff before and it can handle itself just fine.
It might lack a differential lock, but make the most of low range function and you should see yourself out of trouble.
What’s it like to live with?
While the Colorado might not be the last word in luxury, the interior is well thought out and all amenities are easily accessed.
The instrument cluster information can be changed using the indicator stalk to get information like trip data and tyre pressure monitoring, while the 8.0-inch touchscreen controls the stereo.
Holden’s infotainment isn’t the nicest thing to look at but it gets the job done, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is always available should you prefer to take things into your own hands.
The artificial leather seats offer a wipe-clean surface, while other trim materials offer a good combination of durability and good looks.
On the whole, you get the feeling that cabin components and materials will stand up to the test of time.
The seats themselves are comfortable although aren’t overly bolstered. They are electrically controlled and add two stages of heating for front passengers. The driver’s seat is mounted quite high which aids visibility, but it might cause issues for taller people.
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Accommodation in the second row is generous, with adequate foot and headroom. An issue that could again plague taller passengers is the fact that the bench is positioned low, which could in turn force some knees into seat backs.
A few more storage cubbies throughout the cabin wouldn't hurt – the second row lacks cupholders (apart from door bins) and there are no USB outlets in the rear, just a singular output in the centre console. The front lacks a spot to stash keys or a phone, with options limited to just the pair of cupholders.
In terms of running costs, our Colorado returned a fuel use of 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres which is a little up from its 8.7l/100km claim.
Holden offers a complimentary one-month service and then servicing costs are $319 for the first year (12,000km), $499 in the second year (24,000km) and $399 for the third year (36,000km).
Is it worth the money?
At the moment Holden is trying to clear old stock ahead of the new year, so you’ll likely get yourself a great deal if you bargain hard.
From a $52,690 (excluding on-road costs) retail price for MY20 cars, Holden is currently offering demonstrator crew cab models in a near-identical specification for $47,990 driveaway, which represents a massive saving. (pricing current as of September 2019)
It’s an unapologetically decent ute that, although lacking a few frills, will see you well into the future at a good price.
It's very easy to live with, cost-effective and shouldn’t leave you wanting for more than it has.
While some brands offer dual-cab utes that can jump off cliffs and others provide more power than you’ll ever need, the Colorado’s no-nonsense approach just flies under the radar, silently getting the job done.
But in a world of excess, that might be what’s actually holding it back from stardom.
Pros: Strong engine, sturdy interior, value for money
Cons: Limited storage options, no reach adjustment for steering