2019 Holden Colorado LT 4X4 Crew Cab Road Test, Review.

Things are pretty grim around at Holden HQ despite Colorado successes.

The Australian arm of GM, now holds a mere 5.2% of the market. That’s down from 7.7% this time last year. Commodore sales are down a massive 59%, so it is little wonder Colorado is by far Holden’s biggest seller, and is vital if Holden is to maintain a viable presence.

Last year, SUV sales outstripped passenger sales for the first time. The news continues to be bad for passenger cars which are now down 20% on this time last year, accounting for around 30% of the market.

SUVs and LCVs like Colorado, along with heavy vehicles like trucks and buses, account for the rest of vehicle sales except.

So, what does that mean for brands who sell commercial vehicles? Simple: at this rate LCVs will be their most important product. The top two sellers are Hilux and Ranger. Ranger sells almost as much as the next two passenger cars (corolla and i30) combined.

Colorado is number 4 in LCV sales behind Triton in 3rd position. Holden sales are down 29% on this time last year in a market that is down 7.4% overall.

Colorado LT is 3rd to the top of the range. Normally, the LT Crew Cab has a drive-away price of 51,628, but the General has knocked 10 grand off. You don’t see that every day. Perhaps Holden has finally realised that if they’re to compete, they can’t rely on the “made in Australia” tag it used to have.

Exterior

Like all Pick-Up trucks, Colorado has an intrinsic whiff of testosterone. Most vehicles of this style come in 3 body types. Cab-Chassis, Space Cab, and Crew cab.

Cab-Chassis allows the owner to have custom drop side aluminium tray for serious tradie duty.

Space cabs have an extended passenger zone. While some brands stick an extra couple of proper seats in, Holden make do with a folding jump-seat for occasional use. It leaves extra space in the back for tools you’d rather keep secure.

The crew cab has and SUV-like interior with seating for 5-ish. That means 4 doors, and a huge rear tray. Even rear passengers have access as good as any SUV. Colorado sits up high so side steps come in handy. Rear legroom is adequate, but like most in the segment, isn’t as great as you’d expect. Designers opt for more space in the tub where it is going to be most handy.

On top of the $41,990 special-offer drive-away price, our test car had some pricey options fitted: Safari Bar $2,710, Driving light package $1,073, Sports Bar $1,340.

The Safari bar makes sense if you intend a little light off-roading. It shaves a little off the front end to allow for a greater attack angle. That’s handy for Sunday arvo pub bragging.

The sport bar adds interest to the tray and gives the impression of a slightly longer cabin. Although purely decorative, it looks rather sexy.

The light bar is impressive. It lights the night with the power of a small sun. It is just the ticket for when you visit your country pile and arrive too late to fire up genny.

17” wheels look great but you might want to consider off-roading tyres if you want to get dirty. Mud tyres will help grip when the going gets really tough. There is a stonking set of black 18 inchers if you want your pretty frock to have even nicer shoes.

The rugged exterior is as butch as it looks, and appeals to buyers who might want more cargo space than a regular SUV.

Interior

The cabin has a similarly sturdy, utilitarian feel to the masculine exterior. You might even describe it as no nonsense.

If you’re expecting to be pampered in the lap of luxury, think again. This is a pucker workman’s ute. It’s for tradies who bang things about, and climb in with muddy boots on. It is, no matter what people say, a commercial ute. The rear tray would benefit with a tub liner as standard.

The cabin manages an impressive level of technology. You don’t get fancy lane control, and radar guided cruise control is a mere dream. However, you do get a reversing camera, Apple CarPlay, Navigation, fog lamps, and no less than 7 airbags. Lane departure warning and forward collision alert come standard on LTZ for many extra shekels.

Not a lot has changed inside since we last drove Colorado.

It is comfortable and quiet. Seating is cloth, with power adjustment for the driver. The passenger makes do with manual levers. The airconditioning is also a manual affair. Luckily for us, you don’t have to crank a handle to get the windows up.

Leather interiors might look good, but think about the Australian summers that are getting hotter. Sitting on a black leather with a cabin reaching 70c is not my idea of fun. Fabric is my pick every time.

Everywhere you look, you see big, solid, manly switches.

The steering wheel has controls like a regular passenger car. There is even a button to answer the phone, and more for cruise and volume controls.

Bluetooth streaming is as easy to connect as any other Holden. Without reading the user guide, an average driver will pair a phone in under 10 seconds with a few simple steps. You get instructions on-screen to walk you through Bluetooth connection. All other controls have buttons, dials, or are in simple-to-use menus.

The same goes for the USB sockets. They are easy to find and reach.

Music via a decent speaker setup has surprisingly good tone.

Features

Despite the fact that Pick-Up utes started as the sole reserve of the gnarled, weather-beaten builder, and the perky, P-plated apprentice, Colorado is chockers full of gear.

  • 8L Duramax diesel engine
  • 6-speed manual transmission
  • New MyLink infotainment system:
    • 7” colour touchscreen
    • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto Phone Projection
    • Digital Audio Radio (DAB+)
    • USB input with iPod® connectivity
    • Steering wheel mounted controls
    • 6 speaker audio (Crew Cab)
  • Air conditioning
  • Rear ventilation duct – heat and cool (Crew Cab)
  • 2nd Row ISOFIX x2 (Crew Cab)
  • Electric Power Steering (EPS)
  • Cruise control
  • Rear park assist with Reverse Camera (wiring provisions available for cab chassis variants)
  • LED Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs)
  • Auto On and Off Halogen Reflector Headlamps
  • Helical Limited Slip Differential (LSD)
  • 7 Airbags (Driver, Passenger, Front Seats, Front Curtains, Driver Knee)
  • Front disc brakes
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) System
  • Hill Start Assist (HSA)
  • Coil front and rear leaf suspension
  • Trailer Sway Control (TSC)
  • Hill Descent Control (HDC)
  • Body coloured exterior door handles and mirrors
  • Power adjustable exterior mirrors
  • Power windows (driver & all passenger express up/down)
  • Remote window operation (via keyfob)
  • 2 x 12V power outlets in centre dash
  • 17” alloy wheels with full size spare
  • Carpet interior flooring
  • Front fog lamps
  • Side steps

Drive and Engine

2.8 Turbo-diesel engines come on two tunes depending on transmission. Both have 147kw of power. Manuals have 440Nm, and the automatics get an 60 extra Nm of torque at 500Nm.

A 6-speed manual is standard. Our test car had a 6-speed automatic instead, and is my preference. Holden has automatics with more cogs which would improve fuel consumption even further. I’d like to see this in Colorado in the future.

Stability control scrambles as tons of torque trembles tyres. Sticking the boot in gets the rear end all loose with pleasing chirps of disapproval at the traffic lights. You have 4WD “on the fly” which goes some way to getting a grip on things.

Leaf springs and rear drum brakes may seem a trifle prehistoric, but along with the ladder chassis, provide a firmer platform for loads. We’ve carted everything from bricks, to bric-a-brac, bags, balls, and balloons, an on one occasion, brunettes. Holden gave a clowder of Colorados to Mardi Gras. Boundless bevies of beach-weared beauties were borne in the back of Colorados festooned with flickering frivolity.

You’re left in no doubt you’re driving a substantial bit of kit. The relatively small diesel can be called upon tote a gross mass of 6,000kg. Of that, 3,500kg is a braked trailer load.

Although ride with a load on, feels quite different, unladen trips are still very comfortable. Gone are the days when you are launched in to orbit every time you hit the smallest of imperfections. Colorado is all grown up and much of that ride quality is thanks to Holden engineers. You get a slightly floaty feeling, especially on the open  road.

I don’t have much call for bearing builders bits and bobs, so I used Colorado for a full week just as I would any SUV. You know what? It felt just like any other SUV.

You can throw a couple of chums in the back if you want.

We took a couple of the chaps for a light lunch at a lagoon. We did an airport run, and finally, the weekly shopping. We parked the Holden at the local shops, and filled reusable plakky bags with meat and veg. It was as easy to park as an Astra, and as roomy as a Trailblazer. You can carry more than in a Commodore wagon with the economy of a Spark, well, almost.

In many ways, Colorado is all things to all people, and that is why it is Holden’s biggest seller.

Safety

5-Star ANCAP Rating across the ENTIRE Colorado Range *TBC

  • 7 Airbags Standard across the entire Colorado Range
  • Driver & Passenger Front, Curtain, Seat and Drivers Knee Airbag
  • Front Passenger Presence Detection
  • Driver, Passenger AND Rear Seatbelt Reminders
  • Front Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners
  • 2nd Row 3-Point Retractors for all 3 Occupants
  • 2 x ISOFIX Child Seat Attachment Points
  • 3 x Child Restraint Anchors
  • Automatic Locking (Ratchet) Rear Seatbelts
  • Structural Improvements including Roof Crush performance

Active safety features:

  • Rear Park Assist and Reversing Camera Standard on all Crew Cabs (Wiring supplied for Cab Chassis Variants)
  • Auto On & Off Headlamps
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) incorporating: Anti-lock Braking (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Roll Over Mitigation (ROM), Traction Control System (

Good Bits

  • Fabulous carrying capacity
  • Endless flexibility
  • Driveability on and off-road

Not So Good Bits

  • Takes up a regular city parking space
  • Makes you want to go to Bunnings
  • Your other half will expect you to DIY yourself into a frenzy

Summary

I’ve become unexpectedly fond of LCVs.

Some are better on the road than others. Some carry more load, and others are friskier in the dirt.

They drive like trucks for the most part. You have to allow extra space when parking, and the sensors and cameras let you use every available centimetre. Although it is as easy as parking a Mini, there is no fooling yourself in to thinking you’re driving a sporty hatch. The steering is not as sharp as a hatch, but, try bringing a build-it-yourself wardrobe home from IKEA in an Astra.

None of that is any good if the price isn’t right. None of it matters if you don’t feel comfortable each and every time you slip into the driver’s seat. You don’t want to feel as though you’ve had to compromise on every principle you’ve ever held.

You don’t have to.

In the end, it won’t be for every driver, but Colorado is solid and has local input from Holden engineers. It is backed by a 5-year warranty and has all the comforts of home. In fact, put a cabin on the back and you can take your home with you.

If you want more gadgets, you can get the LTZ or Z71. If you want even more, HSV does a nice line in luxury mods.

NOTE: ALL PHOTOS ARE COLORADO LTZ

Look at it any way you want, but after a day or two driving something that makes you feel so invincible, something happens to your soul.

Facts and Figures: 2019 Holden Colorado LT 4X4

  • Engine: 2.8L four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 147kW/500Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
  • Safety: Five stars (tested 2015)
  • Origin: Thailand
  • Price: from $41,990 (for manual) drive away offer

Author: Alan Zurvas

Rating: 8/10