Foton Tunland VS Holden Colorado
- Cummins engine
- Improved build quality
- Roomy interior
- Lack of safety gear
- Front end (bullbar will fix that easily)
- Some flimsy, and awkwardly positioned switchgear
- Shines on Aussie roads
- Touchscreen tech across the range
- Tough-looking LSX lives on
- Plenty of torque, not much speed
- Cabin not particularly quiet
- No AEB
Marcus Craft road tests and reviews the new Foton Tunland dual-cab 4X4 with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
When I told mates I’d be testing a Foton Tunland a few snort-laughed their craft beer out of their noses in not-so-mock shock. “Why don’t you save yourself the hassle and just write about another HiLux or Ranger or Amarok?” they said. The idea of me supposedly risking my skin in a Chinese dual-cab ute, lambasted in the past for lacklustre build quality and dogged by doubts over vehicle safety, delighted these blokes.
“Is your life insurance up to date?” one fella quipped. Yep, funny. Well, the joke’s on them because this latest-gen Tunland is a well built and well priced dual-cab ute with a bloody good Cummins turbo-diesel engine and a stack of other top-quality components thrown in for good measure. But, it’s not all good news – there are some safety issues. Read on.
|Engine Type||2.8L turbo|
The Holden Colorado range has just been updated for the 2020 model year, but to describe it as “new” might be something of a stretch. In fact, even “refreshed” might be over-selling it.
And that’s because mechanically, the Colorado is identical to the 2019 model. And the cabin tech is unchanged, too.
Instead, the brand has focused on upping the standard inclusions on some models, and welcoming the special-edition LSX (which began life as a special edition) as a permanent member of the Colorado family.
|Engine Type||2.8L turbo|
Foton Tunland 7/10
The Tunland is a damn good value-for-money proposition and it’s the best of the budget dual-cab ute mob, but a less than ideal suite of safety features impacts its appeal.
If those flaws are erased from the updated model, then it will likely stake an even stronger claim in a highly competitive ute market.
Does Foton's Tunland make the cut as a family-friendly work truck? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
No news is still good news for the Colorado, which still drives well, carries a tonne and tows even more. It's undoubtedly starting to show its age in terms of modern safety tech, but it remains a strong contender in our booming ute segment.
Does this update get you excited about the 2020 model? Tell us in the comments below.
Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.
Foton Tunland 7/10
The Tunland looks good, not spectacular; like a noughties-era dual-cab rather than a contemporary one. And you know what? That’s fine with this journalist because it’s an easy fix. The Tunland is not unlike the BT-50 of recent years, in that once you’ve thrown a bull bar over the ordinary-looking front end (with its Wi-Fi-symbol-rotated-90-degrees-looking Foton logo) then all is forgiven.
Elsewhere, the Foton is a softer edged beast than some of its modern counterparts, with rounded headlights flowing back to a 'truck-lite' rear end, but it retains a robust, old-school ute presence.
Inside, the Tunland is neat, tidy and roomy. It looks ready for day-to-day duties – whether as a job-site workhorse, a daily driver, or a family mover. There is grey plastic everywhere but the cabin has nice touches like the leather-trim seats and wood-look panels.
While the design of the Colorado is almost entirely unchanged (the body work is mostly the same), the addition of the LSX as a permanent member of the family does up the Colorado’s tough-truck credentials.
The side-view especially - all alloys, sports bar and fender flares - does look both rugged and tough and despite the interior not quite living up the exterior hype, it’ll surely turn heads on the road.
Speaking of the interior, it's a refreshingly comfortable place to spend time, and while some elements (the gear shift in automatic cars especially) feel a little utilitarian, there's enough soft-touch plastic and - in the more expensive trims - leather seating to lift the ambience beyond that of a workhorse.
Overall, though, I don't think it quite matches the toughness of the Ford Ranger, which is put down almost entirely to the front-on view. The Holden Colorado is handsome enough, sure, but lacks the mean-mugging stare of its fiercest rival.
Foton Tunland 7/10
Tunland’s remote entry is two-stage: first press unlocks only the driver’s door; second press unlocks the other doors – that can be annoying when you have people champing at the bit to get into the vehicle during a heatwave, and there is an almost-comical series of mistimed attempts at opening doors and pressing buttons.
The cabin is spacious. Build quality and fit and finish have been improved well beyond expectations. One or two buttons feel a bit flimsy and the button to adjust the wing-mirrors is tucked away on the right-hand-side dash behind the steering wheel; quite awkward to see, reach and use.
The air con defaults to ‘off’ every time you re-start, which is a bit of a niggle, especially during the heatwave conditions during which some of this review took place.
Seats are supportive enough without going beyond the call of duty; the front seat bases are a touch too short for tall people and extra side bolstering would be welcome.
There is ample head and leg room, front and back, although rear-seat passengers are forced into an upright, knees-high position; still they should be used to that if they’ve been riding around in utes for any length of time. Cupholder count runs to two in the front centre console.
The dual-cab Tunland has a 1025kg payload, a maximum braked towing capacity of 2500kg (1000kg less than most other utes) and 750kg unbraked.
Its cargo area is 1500mm long, 1570mm wide (1380mm, internal width at floor level; 1050mm internal width between the wheel arches) and 430mm deep. The tray has four tie-down points at each interior corner and a poly tray-liner which protects the top ‘lip’ of the tray and that’s a big bonus.
No mater how many words like “lifestyle” or “adventure” you throw at a ute, practicality is still the aim of the game in this segment.
And on that front, the Colorado nails the brief, with every model in the range (bar one - a the LTZ+ - and that’s deliberate, with the lower number helping with novated leasing deals) able to carry 1000kg, with that number climbing to 1487kg in the LS auto 4X2.
Towing, too, ticks the right box, with the Colorado’s braked capacity a claimed 3500kg, thanks to the 2.8-litre diesel engine you’ll find under every single bonnet.
The Colorado rides on the same wheelbase (3096mm) no matter which variant you aim for, but obviously your other dimensions will shift. The width runs from 1870mm to 1874mm, the height from 1781mm to 1800m, length from 5083mm to 5361mm and the tray length from 1484mm to 1790mm.
Price and features
Foton Tunland 7/10
The manual-only Tunland is available as a single cab 4x2 ($22,490), single cab 4x2 styleside ($23,490), single cab 4x4 ($25,990), dual cab 4x2 ($27,990), or dual cab 4x4 ($30,990), which we tested. Single cabs have an alloy tray. Metallic paint on any model is $400 extra.
For a ute firmly located at the budget end of the pricing scale, the Tunland’s interior has a fair few cheeky little extras packed into what is, at first glance anyway, a standard-looking workhorse inside and out. It has a tilt-adjustable-only, leather-trim, steering wheel with controls for Bluetooth, audio and cruise control.
The Tunland audio set-up plays MP3 files and CDs. There is an auxiliary port for a mini USB right beside the CD slot. Music can be streamed from Bluetooth-compatible devices. Air conditioning, electric windows, electric wing mirrors (with defrost function) and remote two-stage unlocking are all standard on Tunlands.
All seats in the dual-cab are leather trimmed and the driver’s seat is (manually) eight-way adjustable.
There are plenty of storage receptacles: a good-sized glove box, cup holders, door and seatback pockets, as well as a few handy little spaces for knick-knacks.
Standard features elsewhere on the dual-cab include daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear step bumper with parking sensor and fog lights, and a tyre-pressure-monitoring system; handy for off-road tourers.
Our test vehicle was one of the last of the model year 2016 examples, fitted with disc brakes all-round and stability control, and had a Euro 4 emissions compliant engine, according to general manager of Foton Motors Australia, Alex Stuart. An updated model, expected mid year, will have a Euro 5 engine, “but with the same exterior and basically same interior”, Mr Stuart said.
Accessories include pretty much everything you could ever want on a ute, ranging from a clear bonnet protector ($123.70) and full recovery kit ($343.92), to bullbar ($2237.84) and winch ($1231.84). Foton has a Tunland kitted out with most, if not all, of its available accessories as an example of what a fully geared-up Tunland looks like – and it looks bloody good.
Like most ute line-ups, the number of Colorados on offer here is pretty damn extensive. So take a deep breath as we dive in.
The entry point to the line-up has changed, with Holden deleting the manual gearbox option on the cheapest LS 4x2 Single Cab Chassis, which now starts at $31,690 with an automatic gearbox. The LS 4x2 Crew Cab Chassis is $36,690, and the LS 4x2 Crew Cab Pick-Up is $38,190.
For that spend, the LS will deliver a 7.0-inch touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, paired with a six-speaker stereo. You also get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a USB charge point. Outside, you’ll find LED DRLs, powered body-colour mirrors, cloth seats and manual air-conditioning.
Next up is the LT 4x2 Crew Cab Pick-Up ($41,190 with an automatic gearbox) which adds 17-inch alloys, carpet flooring, a tailgate lock, fog lights and side steps.
Then it’s over to the LSX, which now joins the range as a permanent member, and which Holden describes as an entry-level tough truck, or “affordable tough”. That toughness arrivers via the 18-inch alloys, the gloss black front grille, the black sport bar and fender flares, and the Colorado sticker across the back. The LSX 4X4 Crew Cab Pick-Up is $46,990 in manual guise, and $49,190 with an automatic gearbox.
Next up is the LTZ, which is available as 4X2 Crew Cab Pick-Up with an automatic for $44,690, a 4X4 Space Cab Pick-Up for $51,190, or as a 4X4 Crew Cab Pick-Up ($50,490 for the manual, $52,690 for the automatic).
That trim earns you a bigger 8.0-inch touchscreen with standard nav and a better seven-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, push-button start and leather seats that are heated in the front. Outside, you get 18-inch alloys, Holden’s new DuraGuard spray-on tub-liner, power folding exterior mirrors, LED tail lights, rain-sensing wipers, a soft tonneau cover, side steps and an alloy sports bar.
Finally, there’s a Z71 4X4 Crew Cab Pick-Up, which is $54,990 (man) or $57,190 (auto), which earns you a soft-drop tailgate, 18-inch Arsenal Grey alloys, a new Sailplane sports bar and side rails, gloss black exterior door handles, mirrors and tailgate handle. You also get some style touches, like fender flares, a new front fascia, roof rails, hood decals and underbody protection.
Holden is also bundling its most popular accessories into new packs, called the Tradie Pack, the Black Pack, the Farmer Pack, the Rig Pack and the Xtreme Pack, with each of them coming with a voucher that reduces the cost of the Colorado itself.
Engine & trans
Foton Tunland 8/10
The Tunland has a Cummins 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine, producing 120kw at 3600rpm, and 360Nm at 1800rpm-3000rpm, backed up by a Getrag five-speed manual transmission. These are two components with great reputations made by the best of the best in their respective fields: engines and transmissions.
BorgWarner, another industry leader (in powertrains, among other things), built the two-speed transfer case in the Tunland 4x4s. All Tunlands in Australia have Dana axles and differentials; the rear is a LSD.
Just the once choice here; a 2.8-litre Duramax turbo-diesel good for 147kW and 500Nm (or 440Nm with a manual) and can be paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox, depending on the trim.
The option of a manual gearbox has been removed on some trims, most noticeably on the LS, which used to form the entry point to the range. Now, that car starts with an automatic, and costs $2200 more.
Holden claims combined fuel use of between 7.9 and 8.6 litres per hundred kilometres, depending on the vehicle setup, and whether it's two- or four-wheel drive. The Colorado’s C02 emissions are pegged at between 210 and 230g/km.
All Colorados arrive with a 76-litre fuel tank.
Foton Tunland 7/10
The dual-cab Tunland is 5310mm long, 1880mm wide (excluding wing mirrors), 1870mm high, and has a 3105mm wheelbase. Kerb weight is listed as 1950kg.
In other words, it’s a big ute, one of the biggest models in Australia, but it doesn’t feel like such a cumbersome beast when you drive it.
The Tunland has a wide stance and sits well on the road, only exhibiting that tell-tale ute sway when it was really thrown into corners. Its hydraulic steering is faster and lighter than you’d assume in a hefty ute at this price-point although there is some ‘play’ in it.
The Cummins engine is a real cracker; gutsy and responsive. We had fun with it in city traffic, on the highway and along back country roads, winding it up, giving it the boot, hearing it growl. Driven judiciously it maintains the rage throughout the rev range.
The five-speed manual is a tall-geared, big-shifting unit; slick and fun to use. We had a few moments early on, but swiftly became used to the notchy action.
The Tunland has double wishbones and coil springs up front and leaf springs down the back. The set-up seemed firm but nothing out of the ordinary for a ute. Overall, ride and handling was drawing ever nearer to that of car-like dual-cabs that cost at least $10,000 more than this.
Our test vehicle was shod with Savero HT Plus 265/65 R17 tyres, which were generally fine on bitumen, gravel and off-road, however, we’d opt for ATs for off-road touring.
Visibility is mostly good, except for the chunky A-pillar and window shield combination, which eats into the driver’s view, and the shallow slit of a rear window, again not an unfamiliar feature for ute drivers everywhere. (The window shields are dealer-fit accessories).
Off-road, the Tunland is more than capable. It has an unladen ground clearance of 200mm, the BorgWarner dual-range transmission and LSD at the rear.
We took it through a couple of shallow water crossings (the air intake is up high in the engine bay), over a section of knee-high jagged and staggered rocks, along a heavily rutted bush track, through sand and along washed out dirt roads. Some of it was very slow going, challenging stuff. The Tunland handled everything with ease.
Working through 4WD modes is simple enough: the driver uses buttons just in front of the gear stick to shift between 4x2 High and 4x4 High at speeds of up to 80km/h. You have to stop the vehicle to engage low range.
Underbody protection includes a steel plate sump guard, which is standard on the Tunland 4x4.
How does it drive? Ah, exactly the same as it used to.
Under the skin there are absolutely no changes for 2020. Same 2.8-litre Duramax diesel with a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto, same suspension, same steering. Short answer, it's the same.
But that’s not a bad thing. Holden’s local engineers had plenty of input in the Colorado when it was last majorly updated, including demanding it use the electronic power steering system taken from the Commodore program, and they're changes proved so successful, they have now been adopted by other markets.
The suspension was tuned here, too, and the final rubber-stamp approval testing was done in Australia.
The result is a vehicle that is pretty bloody good on our roads, if a little gruff-sounding in the cabin.
The steering inspires confidence, feeling direct enough for the segment, and more importantly, the Colorado enters corners in way that convinces you you're going to pop out the other side where you expect to, even at a fairly rapid clip.
It being Victoria, the weather for our drive program was predictably atrocious - with that sideways rain and bone-chilling cold the state is so famous for - and so Holden abandoned a more challenging 4WD section in favour of a rough muddy track lined with puddles big enough to double as water crossings and fallen trees that crunched under tyre as we climbed over them.
And while there was nothing that would seriously challenge the Colorado, we can attest to it handling the rougher stuff as well as at it did, too, at least for cars with 4WD, where low range and Holden's DuraGrip LSD/traction control system arrive as standard.
The engine isn’t going to win any drag races, but that’s probably not the point. The 2.8-litre turbo-diesel always feels like there’s plenty of grunt on offer, but it never translates into actually speed. More a marathon than a sprint, then, but a performance ute this ain't.
The point is this. This 2020 update entirely on the look and equipment of the Colorado, so if you like the old one, then you’ll like this new one.
Foton Tunland 6/10
The Tunland has a three-star ANCAP rating, and was last tested in 2013.
As standard there are driver and front passenger airbags (no front side airbags); height-adjustable, front seat belts with pre-tensioners, as well as ABS and EBD. Our test vehicle also had the ESC package, which includes disc brakes all around.
There is only a lap belt for the middle passenger in the rear and there are no curtain airbags.
There are no top tether points in the rear seats for child-seat restraints, but those are coming in the 2017 model, Mr Stuart told CarsGuide. Only booster seats, which don’t require those top tether points, should be used in the 2016 models.
Those safety flaws are substantial, but it seems Foton plans to have them sorted out in the next-gen Tunland.
Holden's Colorado wears a five-star ANCAP rating right across the range, with the full-marks score awarded in 2016.
The safety story starts with seven airbags, rear sensors, a reversing camera and Hill Descent Control, along with the usual site of traction and braking aids, all of which are offered across the range.
Spending big on the LTZ or Z71 unlocks extra kit, including front sensors, Forward Collision Alert (but not AEB - which is offered across the Ranger range) Lane Departure Warning and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Holden offers a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty across the Colorado range, with servicing required every 12 months or 12,000kms. The brand’s capped-price servicing program is published on its website, and the first seven services (covering seven years) will cost you a total $3033.