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Holden Colorado 7 first new 4WD in years

The Colorado 7 was designed in Brazil and will be built in Thailand alongside the Colorado utility.

The Trailerblazer will wear the lion for Holden under the name Colorado 7. The last big off roader to wear the Holden badge was the Isuzu based Jackaroo in 2004. 

As its name suggests the Colorado 7 shares its architecture and underpinnings with the new Colorado range of utes due to arrive here mid-year. General Motors has taken the unusual step of replacing the ute's leaf springs with a mult-ilink rear suspension setup that it said improves on-road handling and ride quality. 

Colorado's offroad credentials are underscored by standard fitment of a low range transfer case and locking differentials on 4WD models. It will be available in rear and all-wheel drive confiurations, with petrol and diesel power trains like the ute. 

A big brother to the Captiva, the Colorado 7 is expected to appeal to a broader range of customers, with greater capacity and serious off road ability. 

Two turbo diesels have been confirmed, a 2.5-litre four cylinder engine producing 110kW/350Nm and a 2.8-litre version of the same engine that delivers 132kW/470Nm, paired with a five-speed manual or six-speed auto. No word yet on what petrol combinations will be offered. 

The seven-seat wagon will be able to tow a 3 tonne boat, caravan or trailer  500kg less than the ute. Competitors include the usual suspects as well as the Isuzu version of the same vehicle plus a wagon based on the Ford Ranger utility on which Ford is said to be working. 

Holden's John Elsworth said the growing popularity of SUVs in Australia would ensure the new Colorado 7 had a ready-made fan base when it is launched at the end of 2012. "Australians are buying more SUVs than ever before, and we've seen this demand reflected in the growing popularity of our Series II Captiva range," Elsworth said. 

"The Colorado 7 will be a perfect fit for customers looking for the increased packaging flexibility and lifestyle benefits of clever interior storage, seven seats and rugged off-road performance. "Developed to deliver everything Australians could want from a tough 4WD, with coil-sprung five-link rear suspension and a competitive 3-tonne towing capacity the Colorado 7 will be an impressive addition to our SUV line-up. 

"Its heavy-duty 4WD credentials and refined driving characteristics make it equally at home in the suburbs and off the beaten track." Due early next year, Australians will get their first look at the Colorado 7, most likely in concept form, at October's Sydney motor show.

The Colorado 7 was designed in Brazil and will be built in Thailand alongside the Colorado utility. More information, specification and pricing details will be revealed closer to launch.