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Holden Colorado SportsCat+ by HSV quick review

By Cameron Kirby, 23 Mar 2018 Car Reviews

Holden Colorado SportsCat by HSV quick review

With no Aussie-built Commodores to fettle, HSV turns its deft hand to making the Holden Colorado tougher

Despite the alphabet-soup name-by-PR-committee, the Holden Colorado Sportscat+ by HSV adds visual and dynamic enhancements to Holden’s dual-cab flagship to capitalise on the big ute boom.

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

The SportsCat is HSV’s first product since the well of V8-powered Commodores dried up after Holden ceased local manufacturing.

Positioned for the cashed-up tradie who wants to stand out from the crowd, the range-topping Sportscat+ adds visual panache, as well as dynamic improvements, over the Holden Colorado Z71 flagship. But are the changes worth the extra dosh?

STRENGTHS

  • Brakes – The Sportscat+ sits above the ‘standard’ Sportscat, with a more performance orientated package. This includes stopping power courtesy of four-piston AP Racing front brake calipers as standard, which clamp down on 362mm rotors. HSV added a larger master cylinder to reduce brake travel and improve feel, with the end result being a firm pedal.
  • Added off-road ability – Another addition the Sportscat+ receives over its regular Sportscat sibling is a decoupling rear swaybar when low-range is selected. This allows for full rear-axle articulation when driving off-road. Beefier Cooper rubber as standard, along with improved approach and departure angles of 32 and 24 degrees respectively give the Sportscat+ a leg-up in rough terrain compared to a standard Colorado. A 25mm front-suspension lift, and larger tyres (adding another 20mm) means the Sportscat+ has a total ground clearance of 241mm.

  • Improved dynamics – It’s not just the dusty stuff which HSV has focused on. Renowned for building dynamically impressive sedans, the Melbourne-based company has done an impressive job on the Sportscat+’s road-handling ability. Body control is improved, thanks to a wider track (33mm), and swaybar (also 33mm) up front. The Sportscat+ also has a thicker rear swaybar (22mm) to improve roll control. However, this is still a large dual-cab ute, so you aren’t going to be carving canyons anytime soon.
  • Visual stance – HSV has done an impressive job of improving the looks of the Colorado. While the changes are purely aesthetic, the black badging, non-functional bonnet bulge, rear sports bar (inspired by wakeboard boats), and black plastic wheel arch cladding adds to the car’s visual impact in a big way.
  • ESC calibration – HSV has given the Sportscat+ its own unique ESC calibration, which is optimised for both bitumen and off-road conditions. While plenty of companies will offer suspension and tyre modifications for a Colorado, only HSV is capable of recalibrating the ESC to suit enthusiast needs.

WEAKNESSES

  • Price – The Sportscat+ costs $66,790 ($6000 more than the standard Sportscat, and $9600 more than a Z71 Colorado). It’s a decent premium, and could put the Sportscat+ outside the budge of many dual-cab buyers.
  • No change in power – Despite all the modifications, the SportsCat or SportsCat+ don’t produce any more power than the standard Colorado Z71 on which they’re based. They feature the same 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder, which makes 147kW and 500Nm when mated to a six-speed auto. This is reduced by 60Nm when paired to a six-speed manual. It’s also down on class leaders like the 180kW-capable V6 Amarok, and soon-to-arrive 190kW Mercedes-Benz X-Class 350d.

  • Material quality: Some of the interior finish is still disappointing for an almost $70k vehicle. While the restyled HSV seats are an improvement, the hard dash plastics, plastic wheel and trim are a letdown.

ARE THERE RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?

Ford Ranger Raptor (when it arrives in Australia), Ranger Wildtrak, Holden Colorado Z71, Volkswagen Amarok V6, Mercedes-Benz X-Class 350d (due later this year), Tickford Ranger, MS-RT Ford Ranger