Led by an engineering and design team based in Brazil (made up of representatives from GM's empire, including Australia) and built in Thailand, the all-new Holden Colorado will be sold in more than 60 markets.
Already the third best-selling model in the Holden portfolio, the Colorado has racked up 1500 orders before going on-sale this week. With pricing from $26,990 to $51,990 covering three body styles, four trim levels and 14 different models there's a Colorado to suit just about everyone. And while many of its competitors offer the choice of both a petrol and diesel engine, Holden has opted to offer the choice of two diesels.
Explore the 2012 Holden Colorado Range
Against the established players, the all-new Holden Colorado represents decent value. It will extend its capped price servicing to Colorado - that is: $295 per service for the first three years. At the launch, we spent the bulk of our time in the range-topping dual-cab LTZ ($49,990) which looks properly tough.
It gets, as standard, things like 17-inch alloys (and a full-size spare), alloy sports bar and side steps, eight-way adjustable driver's seat, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity (as does every model), alarm, air-con and a multi-function steering wheel. No sat-nav to be had though.
With more than 90 per cent of all four-wheel drive LCVs sold with a diesel engine, the petrol option won't be missed. Instead, there's the choice of either a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel making 110kW/350Nm at 2000rpm or a 2.8-litre four good for 132kW/440-470Nm.
Bolted onto the back is the choice of either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption ranges from 7.8-9.0L/100km for the 4x2 range and 8.1-9.1L/100km for the 4x4 range, and that's average rather than class-leading.
What is class-leading, though, is the 3500kg braked towing capacity across the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel range. The 2.5-litre turbo-diesel-toting Colorado has a 3000kg braked towing capacity. And, impressively, every model in the line-up has a one-tonne payload. The four-wheel drive system is an electronic shift-on the fly arrangement (you can shift from 4x2 to 4x4 high-range at up to 112km/h) with a two-speed transfer case.
The first vehicle to be designed at GM's design studio in Sao Paulo, the high-riding dual-cab looks every bit as attractive, nay, tough and muscular in the metal as it does in pictures. Climb inside and you're met with a stylish looking interior that's dominated by the cool-looking HVAC dial, it's just a shame that, even in the top-spec LTZ, the plastics are cheap looking and both hard and scratchy to the touch.
There's plenty of room in the front and, despite the absence of reach adjustment on the steering it's a cinch to get comfortable behind the wheel. In the back, there's decent head, shoulder and legroom (which has been increased over its predecessor). As far as the tray's concerned, in the pick-up, it measures 1.48m x1.53m (wise) which is pretty good, but the four tie-down points don't seem to have been particularly well located and there's no lip on the tray.
Holden is confident of good crash safety score. There are airbags for the driver and passenger as well as full-length curtain airbags for front and back seat passengers, stability and traction controls are standard, as is ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, there are three child-seat anchor points across the back, as well as remote keyless entry, engine immobiliser and an alarm.
Despite a healthy 470Nm from just off idle at 2000rpm, the Colorado doesn't feel particularly sharp off the line. This is probably due to the six-speed automatic (from the same family as the Commodore's transmission) which seems clumsy. Indeed, on part throttle, or in slow corners, the Colorado lurches from all to nothing and back again. It's better through faster corners.
It doesn't deliver on Holden's claims for SUV-like ride and handling. It's soft at the front and hard at the back (thanks to the cart-sprung bum) and so tends to skip on bumps and have the traction control working over time in tighter corners, or on dirt. And this skittishness, in two-wheel drive mode at least, is exacerbated by the ponderous steering and the spongy brake pedal.
Take the Colorado off-road and you won't be disappointed. If anything, it feels better in the rough stuff than around town. The ride settles down, and there's plenty of engine braking when you manually select a gear. But, we'll have a better handle on the Colorado once we've had it in the office and put it across our own test roads.