Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the 2014 Holden Colorado 7.
There’s a rash of new one tonne utes and SUV derivatives on the way due to unprecedented demand so Holden has got in early with a mild update to its Colorado one tonner and derivative Holden Colorado 7 SUV.
They put a focus on four main elements to both vehicles: an upgraded engine and equipment list, and new six-speed manual and infotainment system.
The 2.8-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel engine has been upgraded to 147kW and 500Nm on the six-speed auto with slightly less torque (440Nm) available on the manual version.
This has been done by a pressure increase to the injection system, altered engine control module and a water cooled turbo.
Basically, they turned up the power plant and made some modifications to make it smoother and quieter.
The auto has been recalibrated to make it smoother when towing or driving up hills and also offers more downhill engine braking.
Holden’s excellent infotainment system is now fitted complete with a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth phone and audio, Siri voice control Tune-in, Pandora and Stitcher music systems and BringGo satnav – operated from apps in Manlike.
They have opted for vinyl flooring in the lower spec’ models after buyer requests and there is a small amount of interior revision though it retains a cheap, hard, plastic look.
All variants of the ute and seven seat wagon get a five star crash rating with all that entails, now including trailer sway control and other handy items like rear park assist and a reverse camera on higher spec’ LTZ models.
Front and side airbags are fitted to all utes while the wagon gets a couple more.
All ute and wagon variants are capable of towing 3.5 tonnes and all utes have a one tonne payload.
The 4WD system is a traditional three mode transfer case system offering 2WD high and 4WD low and high range – selected by a dial on the centre console.
Both vehicles ride on a traditional and well trailed ladder chassis and run live rear axles with leaf springs on the ute and coils on the wagon.
A number of electronic driver aids are used like stability control, hill descent control and hill start assist.
Knowing that buyers of utilities love to accessorise their vehicle, Colorado and the seven seat wagon has an impressive list of add-ons for the buyer to select from.
These include alloy wheels, front bars of various configuration in alloy and steel, sport bars for the ute tray, side rails and steps and tow bars.
In addition to shiny alloy bars, powder coated black bars are also offered along with a striking new Orange metallic colour.
You can even get daytime running lights as a $550 option.
Holden says it has a loyal customer base for Colorado and went to them for advice about this upgrade which is obvious when you drive it.
This is a medium to heavy-duty mid-size off-roader that doesn’t flinch when the going gets tough.
It is like a tank in rough terrain plugging on regardless. Low range 4WD is handy in this sort of driving. Back it off a tad onto dirt roads and the high range 4WD system comes into its own.
Out on the highway flick it into 2WD and away you go but to change drive mode in 4WD the vehicle has to be below 5kmh. The wagon has shift on the fly 4WD.
The revised engine is much better than before in every way – much smoother and with more pull from low in the rev range. It is ticking over 1500rpm at 110kmh in top on the highway.
The auto version of the Holden Colorado 7 is also much better and the extra cog in the manual is appreciated.
It still handles like a double decker bus through corners but you get that with a vehicle with this degree of off roadability unless you have something like a high-tech air suspension and active sway bars.
There are 15 models in the ute line-up and two Colorado 7’s.
It’s not the prettiest thing around (ute or wagon) but is extremely capable off road and feels as tough as a tank, now with the full suite of connectivity.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.8 litre turbo diesel producing 147 kW and 500Nm (auto)/440Nm (manual)
Transmission: Six speed automatic or six-speed manual
Price: From $46,990