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Holden Colorado LTZ 2020 review

EXPERT RATING
6.7
The Holden Colorado Ute is as tough as they come, but is it being left behind by Ford, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota? The 2020 Colorado doesn't have a lot of new stuff on offer, so will its seemingly enduring appeal be enough to keep it going for another year?

Six years ago, my introduction to the world of high-riding, off-roading utes was on a particularly amusing day in rural Victoria. I had no idea that chucking a machine around could be so much fun, and it was thanks to Holden's Colorado that I had a new view of this particular segment.

Sure it was gruff, sported a Tupperware interior (as one colleague put it) and looked pretty ordinary, but it did the job Holden suggested its owners would require of it. From the one-tonne cowpusher through to the LTZ, you just knew someone with better skills than I could go just about anywhere in a Holden Colorado.

The 2019 ute world is very different - you can buy a Mercedes one for a start. I reckon that's as weird as current global politics. If you'd suggested that to me on that rainy day in 2013, I'd have suggested a strong course of perspective. And yet, here we are - the HiLux and Ranger sell like crazy, with NissanMitsubishi and Holden snapping at their heels.

Holden colorado 2020: Colorado Base
Safety rating
Engine Type2.8L
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7.9L/100km
Seating2 seats
Price from$31,690

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

At $53,720, the LTZ+ is up there with the Ford Ranger Sport and not far off the Toyota HiLux SR5. On the Colorado you'll find 18-inch wheels, a seven-speaker stereo, climate control, fake-leather interior, reversing camera, carpeted cabin floor, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, auto headlights and wipers, sat nav, remote central locking, sump guard and a full-size spare slung under the tray.

The stereo is run by Holden's MyLink and I gotta tell ya, I yearn for the days of the first Trax's interface, because this one is not at all attractive. Thankfully, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are along for the ride, but like other Holdens the 7.0-inch screen is pretty cheap and washes out the colour, making it look old. It also has DAB+ radio in a fairly frustrating interface (not the only car in this segment with that problem, it has to be said).

To improve its lifestyle vibe, the Colorado runs on shiny 18-inch alloys. (image: Peter Anderson) To improve its lifestyle vibe, the Colorado runs on shiny 18-inch alloys. (image: Peter Anderson)

Is there anything interesting about its design?   6/10

The LTZ+ is definitely aimed at not just well(er)-to-do tradies but probably outdoorsy families, too. To improve its lifestyle vibe, the Colorado runs on shiny 18-inch alloys and has a whopping great chromed sports bar on the back for all your pig-shooting lighting needs (I guess?). Liberal application of chrome helps lift the big ute's kerb appeal inside and out and, you know, it looks all right, I guess. It still has that troubled-looking double grille that I've never warmed to, however.

It doesn't have a pretty interior (but, again, it's better than the earlier cars I drove) with a focus on hardy longevity rather than avant-garde design or, truth be told, particularly good ergonomics. And that steering wheel is distinctly 2014.

  • It doesn't have a pretty interior with a focus on hardy longevity rather than avant-garde design or, truth be told, particularly good ergonomics. (image: Peter Anderson) It doesn't have a pretty interior with a focus on hardy longevity rather than avant-garde design or, truth be told, particularly good ergonomics. (image: Peter Anderson)
  • That steering wheel is distinctly 2014. (image: Peter Anderson) That steering wheel is distinctly 2014. (image: Peter Anderson)
  • It has a whopping great chromed sports bar on the back for all your pig-shooting lighting needs (I guess?). (image: Peter Anderson) It has a whopping great chromed sports bar on the back for all your pig-shooting lighting needs (I guess?). (image: Peter Anderson)

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

In the LTZ+'s CrewCab chassis you have five seats available for use and, given the overall size of the Colorado, there's a decent amount of space.

Front-seat passengers sit on firm but comfortable seats that place you very high in the cabin. Rear-seat passengers will find things a little tougher, with seats that are slightly higher, hard up against the rear bulkhead and a little tight if your clothing isn't loose, if you get my drift. The floor is almost flat, so you can get three across, but you'll miss out on the two cupholders in the armrest if you're full up.

  • The tray is covered by a deeply irritating soft tonneau cover that cost me a couple of fingernails to remove. (image: Peter Anderson) The tray is covered by a deeply irritating soft tonneau cover that cost me a couple of fingernails to remove. (image: Peter Anderson)
  • Something that always strikes me is how the tailgate just falls open in this variant, without any damping at all. (image: Peter Anderson) Something that always strikes me is how the tailgate just falls open in this variant, without any damping at all. (image: Peter Anderson)

You will get two cupholders and door pockets for bottle-holding up front, while the short rear doors don't quite fit a bottle over 500ml.

The tray is covered by a deeply irritating soft tonneau cover that cost me a couple of fingernails to remove (harden up - Ed). No doubt that will get easier with age, but it wasn't great. The cover must be unhitched to open the tailgate, too, which makes it even worse. There is also a tray liner, which looks very hardy and hopefully isn't expensive to replace.

Something that always strikes me is how the tailgate just falls open in this variant, without any damping at all. Obviously it's not aimed at me, but I reckon plenty of kids have seen stars after getting a belt in the head from a tray. The Colorado is not the only offender here, of course and if you go one more step up the ladder, you do get a damped-release mechanism.

In the LTZ+'s CrewCab chassis you have five seats available for use and, given the overall size of the Colorado, there's a decent amount of space. (image: Peter Anderson) In the LTZ+'s CrewCab chassis you have five seats available for use and, given the overall size of the Colorado, there's a decent amount of space. (image: Peter Anderson)

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The Colorado's beefy 2.8-litre Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel still growls away under the high bonnet, producing 147kW and a massive 500Nm of torque. The Ranger's 3.2-litre five-cylinder doesn't manage that torque figure, if you're interested.

Bolted onto the engine is a six-speed automatic, driving all four wheels or, if you prefer, just the rears until you need the extra grip. You also get high or low-range four-wheel drive, selectable from the control dial on the console.

You can carry 1000kg in the tray of the LTZ+ and tow up to 3500kg. If you do that, you're a much braver person than I am.

The Colorado's beefy 2.8-litre Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel still growls away under the high bonnet, producing 147kW and a massive 500Nm of torque. (image: Peter Anderson) The Colorado's beefy 2.8-litre Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel still growls away under the high bonnet, producing 147kW and a massive 500Nm of torque. (image: Peter Anderson)

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Holden reckons you'll get 8.7L/100km on the combined cycle, while chuffing out 230g/km of CO2. That's not a terrible number and I got 10.1L/100km in mostly suburban bashing-around, which is not bad at all for a 2172kg ute.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

The five-star ANCAP Colorado ships form Thailand with seven airbags, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, Hill Descent Control, traction and stability controls, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning and a tyre-pressure-monitoring system.

There is still no AEB on the Colorado as there is on the Ranger. The Colorado scored its maximum five-star rating in 2016.

It comes with a full-size spare slung under the tray. (image: Peter Anderson) It comes with a full-size spare slung under the tray. (image: Peter Anderson)

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?  

Holden's generous five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty applies to the Colorado, with roadside assist for the duration. If you're a high-miler, you'll want to know that the servicing regime might be 12 months, but 12,000km is a little on the short side, so beware of that.

The capped-price servicing ensures you'll pay between $319 and $599 per service, with most of the services lurking at an average of under $500, giving you a $3033 total over seven services.

What's it like to drive?   6/10

I won't pretend city driving in the Colorado is a bed of roses. The suspension is really set up for load and when there's just you and the good lady wife aboard, it's fairly bouncy. It is controlled, however, and the pronounced body lean from a few years back seems to have been sorted out.

The massive torque figure at super-low revs means the Colorado isn't shy of leaping forward, even on a light throttle, which works fine if you're dragging around a lot of weight, which blunts the response, but is a little tiring when you're not. You do feel like you can tackle anything, though, which is a nice sensation.

At $53,720, the LTZ+ is up there with the Ford Ranger Sport and not far off the Toyota HiLux SR5. (image: Peter Anderson) At $53,720, the LTZ+ is up there with the Ford Ranger Sport and not far off the Toyota HiLux SR5. (image: Peter Anderson)

It's absurdly long, at 5.3 metres, so finding a parking space you actually fit into  is a bit of a trial. Parents of young children can expect to lift the kids in and out, and thank goodness for those grab handles so you can haul yourself up and in as well. You're a long, long way up in the Colorado, so be prepared for altitude sickness.

The diesel engine is very noisy and roars at you from the lights all the way until your chosen speed, when it settles into a low rumble. None of its competitors make this kind of racket, but buyers obviously aren't fussed, so my distaste for it is possibly irrelevant - the big slab of torque makes it worth the din.

It's pretty comfortable in the cruise and I expected a howl of wind noise but didn't get it, even with the hefty sports bars and giant rear-vision mirrors.

There are plenty of good reasons to choose the Colorado, but there are a couple that might steer you away. (image: Peter Anderson) There are plenty of good reasons to choose the Colorado, but there are a couple that might steer you away. (image: Peter Anderson)

Verdict

The Colorado isn't my first choice for utes - the Ranger Wildtrak still sits at the top of that pile for me - but the Holden does a pretty good job. It's terrific off-road, is tough as guts and has an engine that, while very loud, delivers plenty of go.

There are plenty of good reasons to choose the Colorado, but there are a couple that might steer you away, specifically in the area of safety - it doesn't have AEB and the number of cars in this segment that don't is shrinking rapidly.

Can the Colorado still cut it in the modern ute world?

Pricing Guides

$42,705
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$31,690
Highest Price
$53,720
EXPERT RATING
6.7
Price and features7
Design6
Practicality7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Safety7
Driving6
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

$31,690

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data
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