2020 Holden Colorado - Trundle in the Jungle

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Words: Peter Louisson
12 Dec 2019

We headed to where the Holden Colorado is produced, Thailand, to put the double-cab 4x4 ute through its jungle paces. Make that mountainous jungle places.

A road drive from Loei Airport, a few hundred kays north of the capital Bangkok, proved an interesting opening salvo for we’d been allocated one of the locally sold utes. And that gets a smaller diesel than our’s, displacing 2.5-litre and good for 430Nm. By contrast, our Kiwi version runs a 2.8-litre four-pot turbodiesel that outputs the most torque of all the non-V6 utes, a round 500Nm at an even 2000rpm. We felt the 2.5 went quite well, though did need a decent prod on the go pedal for overtaking. And compared with our recollection of the 2.8, this seemed slow off the mark, with perceptible turbo lag. The next day, we swapped vehicles with the Aussie journos and sure enough, within a few hundred metres it became clear the 2.8 was not only snappier but also more effortless on the overtake. And on the cruise, 100km/h a trifling 1500rpm vs 1900 in the lesser ute, though that’s more to do with final drive but whatever. Why do the Thais go with the 2.5? It’s evidently an emissions/taxation thing.

And the 2.5 still had plenty enough low-down grunt on the most demanding jungle ascents to the dramatic Pha-Tud lookout. This rough-hewn track is nigh on impassable in the wet season, at least without mud-pluggers, but in the dry the Colorado made short work of even the steepest pinches. The most extreme of these required 4L and made good use of the standard-fit limited slip diff. Over steep surfaces studded with loose rock, the Colorado plowed on, its 215mm of ground clearance always sufficient, despite obvious ruts where water had carved the track out during the wet season, and some substantial bunker-sized pot holes. The suspension articulates well over these uneven surfaces and the ride is reasonably civilised given the unruly nature of the trail. Steering is calm too, the electric system immune to sudden terrain-induced tugging.

On road this is also a well sorted machine, especially after we swapped into the 2.8 Z71. Again with the reasonably compliant ride, even without much gear aboard. And it’s actually quite engaging to pilot on road, cornering well within the limits of its dual purpose tyres. Suspension changes made a couple of years back ensured this was much more competitive with the likes of Ranger, and it rides calmer than Hilux.

The Z71 model has been mildly facelifted for 2020, with new items like a blackened grille, flared wheel arches, extra underbody protection, DuraGuard spray-on tub liner and a soft-drop tailgate. The latter has a pair of hydraulic stays that facilitate a graceful lowering of the tailgate rather than the usual thump of an unrestrained opening.

The Z71 is the highest spec Colorado, and gets heater elements for its leather-clad seats, dual zone air con, integrated sat nav, and an infotainment system that’s compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The upgrade is especially welcome because there’s no change in RRP, the manual costing $51,490, and the auto $55,490. A three-year warranty includes free servicing and roadside assistance in that period.

Also new to the Colorado range is a limited edition LSX model, the X signifying extra black spec. Included are black 18-inch alloys, an extended sports bar, black wheel arch flares, a blackened grille, Duramax badging, and a bold Ranger-esque Colorado decal emblazoned on the tailgate. There’s also a tailgate lock, an engine cover, and the fitment of a DAB+ head unit. Manual and auto variants will sell for $44,990 and $48,490, respectively. There are just 30 of these available, in a choice of six colours.

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