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Holden Colorado DX 2012 review

Holden’s all-new Colorado, just launched onto the international market, will come to Australia within the next few months.

Unlike some vehicles which are spruiked as being ‘all-new’ when they are really just upgrades, there no doubt about the claim in Colorado’s case. Whereas the first generation Holden Colorado – and its Rodeo predecessor – was built by Holden’s former General Motors affiliate, Isuzu, the new model comes from the biggest name in the GM stable, Chevrolet.

While Chevrolet is based in the USA the new Colorado is very much a world car having been designed and developed by groups in Thailand and Brazil. Subsequent development work, including 2.5 million kilometres of road testing, took place in eight other countries, including Australia.

The final product is being built at factories in Brazil and Thailand, with Australian-specced models being sourced from Thailand. The new pickup will be sold in over 60 countries as the Chevrolet Colorado with Australia the only country in the world where it will be rebadged.

Interestingly, some of the first Thai-built Colorados virtually went straight from the production line and into action to assist in flood relief operations in southern Thailand late last year. To ensure that Ford/Mazda with their Ranger and BT-50 and don’t steal a march on them, Holden has taken the unusual step of releasing prices well in advance of the vehicle’s release.


Chev fans will instantly recognise the company’s characteristic billet grille at the front of the Colorado. The only change to the Chevrolet that we’ve just driven at the vehicle’s international launch in Thailand is badging with the circular Holden lion emblem replacing the iconic Chevrolet bow-tie badge.

We’ve yet to see how the Holden badge is placed but we understand it will be embedded within the horizontal bar that splits the two segment of the grille. While some of the most recent ute models have chosen to go with softer, smoother lines, GM has stuck with a more chiselled look that gives Colorado a tough, pragmatic appearance that’s likely to appeal to the pickup purist.

Engines and Transmissions

After steadily dwindling demand for petrol-powered utilities (just seven per cent in the past twelve months) Holden is now offering nothing but diesel engines in the new Colorado. The two diesels engines are all-new Duramax four-cylinder common-rail units with capacities of 2.5 and 2.8 litres, both are built at the GM Thailand factory at Rayong in southern Thailand.

The smaller engine generates 110 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque while the 2.8-litre gets 132 kW and 440 Nm (manual) or 470 Nm (automatic). Transmission options are five-speed manual and six-speed automatic.



We were able to test both engines when we joined journalists from 15 countries at the Colorado’s international launch at Chiang Rai in Thailand. Mid-sized pickups are hugely popular in Thailand we saw huge numbers of them on the roads, often with large loads in the cargo tray, including many passengers.

Part of the two-day drive program covered around 25 kilometres of steep, narrow tracks, many badly rutted by the torrential rains that hit Thailand last year. So difficult were the conditions that the segment took nearly two hours to traverse. All 24 of the 4WD Colorados that started the course emerged from the torture test unscathed.

We were able to test each engine both on the rugged middle section and on the bitumen segments on either side. The chassis is reassuringly strong with good ground clearance and the Colorado didn’t scrape the ground at any stage. Towing capacity with the 2.5-litre engine is 3000 kg with the 2.8-litre able to pull 3500 kg.

The 2012 Holden Colorado will be offered with a large number of choices between cab-chassis and utility bodies; 2WD and 4WD; single-cab, extended-cab and dual-cab; four specification levels (DX, LX, LT and LTZ) as well as the aforementioned engine and transmissions.

Payload will range from 1.0 to 1.4 tonnes depending upon model. Chevrolet has adopted the marketing slogan of “Haul Anything and Go Anywhere” for the new Colorado and, based on our test, it’s not an unreasonable claim.

Safety equipment in Australian imports will include front passenger and side airbags, ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist and cornering brake control, electronic stability program and traction control.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

DX (4X4) 3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $9,500 – 14,300 2012 Holden Colorado 2012 DX (4X4) Pricing and Specs
LX (4X2) 3.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $7,000 – 10,780 2012 Holden Colorado 2012 LX (4X2) Pricing and Specs
LX (4X4) 3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $12,500 – 18,040 2012 Holden Colorado 2012 LX (4X4) Pricing and Specs
LX-R (4X4) 3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $12,500 – 18,040 2012 Holden Colorado 2012 LX-R (4X4) Pricing and Specs
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