IF THERE was one big mover among the nine four-wheel drive double-cab utes we had in the big test last month, it was the Holden Colorado.
The revisions to the long-serving model back in 2017 have elevated it from a back-of-the-pack player to one worth serious consideration if you’re in the double-cab ute market. The improvements in refinement, equipment, styling and, most of all, off-road ability have seen it climb up the leaderboard of this ultra-competitive segment.
We thought the improvements were so significant that it warranted a closer look, so we secured this Colorado LTZ for the next three months. We picked it up from Holden on a Friday, I packed it Saturday and on Sunday took off on a drive to Alice Springs to watch the Finke Desert Race – a 5000km round trip covering highways, back roads and the Oodnadatta Track.
The Colorado doesn’t have a 12-volt power outlet in the cargo tub like many other utes these days, but travelling solo meant I had plenty of interior space. With the backseat folded up I was able to secure a 47-litre ARB fridge and a power pack behind the driver’s seat and power them via the 12-volt outlet at the rear of the console.
Other soft goods took up the rest of the backseat, while a swag, stretcher, barbecue hotplate, chairs, table, firewood, saw and a large Space Case that holds most of my camping gear went in the tub. It all fitted neatly under the factory tonneau cover, which protected the load from rain but not dust. The fine red outback dust sucks in from the tailgate, as it does on all utes without aftermarket seals fitted, and left its signature over everything.
The Colorado LTZ’s 2.8-litre diesel engine is a grunty yet noisy little rattler that gets along well thanks to its abundance of torque and the quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. With 500Nm on tap, this Italian-made mill is the torquiest four-cylinder engine in its class, beaten only by V6 diesels … for now.
More impressive than the grunt of the engine is the fuel economy. After our previous two long-termers – Y62 Patrol and the G-Professional Mercedes-Benz – the Colorado is a fuel miser. Average fuel use for the trip was 9.83L/100km, with the worst fuel numbers of 10.94L/100km scored on the 130km/h sections of the NT highway. On the highway run from Adelaide to Melbourne, it averaged 8.2L/100km.
With no time to replace the OE tyres on the LTZ’s 18-inch alloys before we left, I was concerned about the durability of them on the rougher sections of the Oodnadatta Track, so I was very careful as we travelled its length.
Shopping for an ute? Find the best in our 2018 Ute Test
Still, travelling at a fair clip I was constantly mindful of the tyres and the rocks on the track and checked them for damage each morning before leaving camp. It was with relief when we hit the highway at Marla not having to replace any of the tyres, which inspired confidence in the Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684s.
The OE suspension coped pretty well with the rough and tumble as well. Some sections of the track were pretty corrugated and had my Land Cruiser-driving mate complaining about the conditions. The Colorado wasn’t fazed by them; although, the leaf-sprung live rear end was prone to kick out a bit as you crossed over them, but you expect that of a mid-size truck.
The Colorado LTZ applied itself well as an outback tourer: it was comfortable, economical, carried the load well and didn’t let me down.
If I was going to be using it in this terrain more regularly I’d be fitting some tougher tyres for more confidence in their dependability, some frontal protection in the form of a bullbar, and a dual-battery system to keep the cans cold in the fridge. The weight of those accessories would probably warrant a suspension upgrade as well, but in stock-standard guise this Holden goes all right.
Any journey is an adventure with 4x4 Shed
4x4 Shed Log: 2018 Holden Colorado LTZ
Current mileage: 10,513km
Date acquired: June 2018
Price: $50,490 + ORC
Mileage this month: 5463km
Average fuel consumption: 9.53L/100km