Like all work utes, the Colorado is more about capability and load lugging than dexterity through tight bends.
That said, extensive Australian engineering efforts have improved the Colorado to the point where it is now one of the more enjoyable of the breed to drive.
Its strength is the muscular 2.8-litre engine. Especially when combined with the six-speed automatic, this engine feels very strong when climbing hills or overtaking – to the point where you can add a few hundred kilograms of cargo to the tray and barely notice the difference.
In auto form, the Colorado is significantly quicker than a 3.2-litre Ford Ranger, for example, even if it also sounds noisier and more gravelly from inside the cabin.
Manual Colorados received lower gearing in the update, which has made them more capable than their predecessors of sustaining top gear up long hills – and also improves their driveability when off-road.
The Colorado comes with good tyres, able to withstand some punishment on gravel roads but also to grip impressively through corners.
The update of September 2016 contributed a new steering system with electric rather than hydraulic assistance. This reduces fuel use but has also improved feel. The assistance varies with speed, so that steering effort is light when parking but gets pleasantly heavier at speed, for reassuring feedback on country roads.
The Colorado has good ground clearance, and 4WD versions have dual-range gearing. That allows you to drive comfortably at very low speeds off-road, while scrabbling over rocks, through mud, and up steep, rough climbs.
However while its off-road capabilities are generally good, the Colorado is not as able in extremely rough or slippery conditions as several alternative 4WD utes. It has less suspension travel than, for example, the Toyota HiLux, which means it is less capable of keeping all four wheels on the ground where they can drive you forward.
And while the Colorado has electronic traction control – which limits wheelspin – it does not have a locking rear differential, which would ensure that both rear wheels were driven fully even if one wheel could find no grip at all. Several alternative utes supply a rear diff-lock, and some of these sustain traction control for the front wheels even with the rear lock engaged.