BACK IN 2018 Holden did a limited run of LSX-badged Colorado 4x4s and they must have done alright, because despite the initial disappointment of the special edition not actually having an LSX engine fitted, folks snapped them up quickly. In fact, they were so popular that when Holden updated the Colorado range for 2019, the LSX returned as a full-time variant.
The LSX is based on the low-grade LS variant, but it muscles up with grey 18-inch alloy wheels, a gloss black grille, a new design black sports bar, black wheel arch flares, soft tonneau cover, ‘COLORADO’ decal on the locking tailgate, and a digital radio. Despite the exterior extras, the LSX retains the charm of a hosed-out interior with vinyl-covered floors and rubber mats – the no-frills interior trim many four-wheel drivers like in a car.
The new LSX is designed to appeal to buyers who want the tough-truck look without all the bells and whistles, and it’s priced at $46,990 (manual) or $49,190 (auto). The engine remains the grunty yet efficient stock 500Nm 2.8-litre Duramax, and the drivetrain remains the same as any other new Colorado. The only thing we can complain about is the lack of a factory-fitted locking diff in the front or the rear.
We enjoyed driving the Colorado so much that when we had an LTZ model last year, we racked up more than 15,000km during three months of use, which saw us travel to Stradbroke and Fraser islands and to Finke and back via the Oodnadatta Track. So when Holden said they’d like us to take the new LSX on our next adventure to the Flinders and Gammon Ranges in South Australia, we jumped at the opportunity.
When we told them where we were planning to take the LSX, Holden slapped on some factory extras including a genuine accessories steel front bumper with a Warn Zeon 10-S winch fitted, and a set of Goodyear Kevlar all-terrain tyres, a tow bar, side steps and underbody protection plates, all of which can be optioned from your Holden dealer. The optional extras took the price of this Colorado up to $53,440.
I had my doubts about running the highway-tyre-looking Goodyears on the harsh rocky tracks of the Flinders Ranges, but they proved me wrong.
On the highway drive from Melbourne to the southern tip of the Flinders, the Colorado reminded us of what we like and don’t like about it. We love the punchy 2.8-litre engine and its smart-shifting six-speed auto transmission; equally, we love the way the engine sips fuel as you cruise along on highway drives.
We’re not so in love with the NVH that comes from said engine, as it’s noisy and rattly and you really know about it in the cabin. Thank goodness then for the standard inclusion of Apple CarPlay that keeps the tunes flowing and makes taking and making calls easy. The Colorado is a comfortable highway cruiser, sipping diesel in the low 10L/100km range and with plenty of punch for overtaking.
Once we left the sealed roads behind and hit the gravel of the Southern Flinders, the Colorado felt just as at home as it did on the highway. The sounds of dirt under the tyres blocked out any complaints about engine NVH, and the suspension is well-tuned to the conditions. As mentioned, the Holden doesn’t come with a factory fitted locking rear differential which many of its competitors do, but what it does have in lieu of a locker is an LSD.
A limited-slip differential comes in handy on gravel roads. Most 4x4 utes have an open differential and rely on the locker when off-road and electronic traction control for gravel road control, but ETC is annoying as it cuts your throttle.
The LSD calmly controls any wheelspin and allows the driver to get on with the job. This is particularly handy when pulling out from a stop at intersections on dirt and wet sealed roads in town, especially when you have 500Nm underfoot; so kudos to GM for retaining the old LSD.
The LSD also helps when climbing steep and scraggly tracks in low range, and there’s plenty of that sort of driving to be had in the Flinders. Sure, the ETC covers traction as well, but the LSD does it in a more progressive manner and without interfering with your throttle. The extensive refresh of the Colorado range back in 2017 included a recalibration of the ETC, which greatly improved its reaction time and the car’s ability to ascend steep and rutted tracks. It still falls short of a locker-equipped vehicle on the toughest terrain, but it will go way farther than the pre-facelift models.
With all that grunt available and a steep 2.62:1 low range in the transfer case, climbing the steepest of terrain posed no problem for the Colorado. Hitting the tracks of the Bendleby Ranges, Willow Springs Skytrek, Warraweena Conservation Park and the iconic gorges of the Flinders is a must for any 4x4er touring through this area, as they provide challenging driving and spectacular views over the harsh and rocky landscape.
The rocky terrain also brought forth a big issue with the Colorado in this trim. Holden quotes the Colorado as having 215mm of ground clearance and an approach angle of 28.3 degrees with the standard front bumper – that angle should be a little better with the genuine steel bumper fitted to this vehicle.
Not earth-shattering off-road numbers when compared with most new 4x4 utes, but this LSX seemed to find every rock in the Flinders with its bash plate and side steps. Even high crowns on the gravel roads scraped the underbody protection, and it was particularly bad when descending the steep hills and the weight of the car compressed the front suspension.
We put this down to the added weight of the steel bar and Warn winch over the front end, as we didn’t find any such issues with our bog-stock LTZ last year. As a result, the front bash plate was reshaped by the terrain and we lost a side step, as they are only lightly secured to the body.
We’ve heard stories of Colorados busting sumps in such conditions without proper underbody protection, and we doubt this car would have survived without the optional plates. The simple fix for this would be to install a pair of heavier and/or taller front coil springs and, let’s face it, all of these utes need a lift in ride height for better clearance.
Aside from the clearance issues the LSX proved its muscle on the hills and on the highway. It’s competent and comfortable with grunt to burn, and provides excellent economy and brawny good looks with the LSX extras. A special shout-out to those Goodyear Kevlar all-terrain tyres – despite their soft-roader looks, they came away from the harsh, punishing rocky tracks of the Flinders unscathed … much to my surprise.
Off-road talents tested on 4x4 reviews
2019 HOLDEN COLORADO LSX SPECS:
Engine: 2776cc inline-4 16v common-rail turbo-diesel
Max Power: 147kW at 3600rpm
Max Torque: 500Nm at 2000rpm
Gearbox: six-speed auto
Crawl Ratio: 43.3:1
4x4 System: Part-time with high and low range
Construction: Ladder chassis/4-door pick-up body
Front Suspension: IFS with coil springs
Rear Suspension: Live axle on leaf springs
Wheel & Tyre: 18-inch alloys with 265/60R18 tyres
Kerb Weight: 2103kg
Towing Capacity: 3500kg
Departure angle: 23.1°
Rampover angle: 22.1°
Approach angle: 28.3°
Wading depth: 600mm
Ground clearance: 215mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 76 litres
ADR Fuel Claim: 10.7L/100km
On-test Fuel Consumption: 11.2L/100km
Learn more about the Holden Colorado range