Holden Colorado VS Toyota HiLux
- 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
- Rugged appeal
- Improved safety
- A spec for everyone
- Yesteryear’s multimedia
- Not the best on-road ride
- Annoying six-month service interval
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|
When Toyota launched its HiLux ute in the late ‘60s, there’s no way the brand could have predicted predicted using it to own the Australian sales charts month after month in 2019.
Then again, I suppose a few years ago it would have been a laughable idea that dual-cabs rather than SUVs would have been snapping up the leagues of driveway spots once occupied by Falcons and Commodores.
The ute segment is one of the most hotly contested in Australia, though, so was the HiLux’s most recent rolling update and expanded range enough to keep it front of mind for Australia’s buyers? We took the popular SR5 4x4 spec for a weekly test and ran our eye over the rest of the range to find out.
|Engine Type||2.8L turbo|
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.
Not as car-like as the Ranger, but not as industrial as the D-Max, the HiLux provides a middle ground that will be ideal for a great many buyers looking for a truly capable dual-purpose ute.
There are some compromises in its expansive range, not least of which is its multimedia offering, but with an updated warranty and safety package the HiLux rightfully remains a formidable force in Australia’s dual-cab market.
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.
The HiLux isn’t pretty. It’s tough, almost industrial looking.
The 2020 model year brought with it a mild aesthetic nip and tuck for the exterior that included a new grille full of black gloss plastics.
I don’t like it. It looks all clunky now, I found the previous truck with its thin chrome grille was a little more resolved. My opinion aside, the HiLux looks undeniably ready for action, with its raised bumpers putting its approach and departure credentials on full show.
The extra chrome on the SR5 in its grille, door handles, bumpers, flashy 18-inch alloys, and sports bar really lift it above the rest of the HiLux range to give it that ‘top-spec’ look from a distance.
As mild as those tweaks seem, it’s part of what’s drawing customers to such highly-specified trucks.
The HiLux forgoes the American-truck look being popularized by its main rival, the Ranger, instead leaning into its cropped dimensions that have helped it lead the segment for so long in Australia.
The inside is unchanged from the pre-MY20 model, with a great many hard plastic surfaces and a little design going into the swept dashboard.
Unlike the Amarok or Ranger Wildtrak, though, the SR5 isn’t so plush you’d feel bad sullying it with work equipment.
The wheel feels great under hand, and the dash has a traditional layout that will please most, but there are a few annoyances here.
The system itself is clunky, with old, difficult-to-navigate menus and a lack of the latest phone connectivity tech. Don’t expect that to change any time soon, either. The HiLux’s media suite is too outdated to receive the connectivity updates on the way for much of Toyota’s refreshed passenger car range.
Aside from some poorly placed hard plastics and the jiggly suspension explored elsewhere in this review, the leather seats and padded trim for the driver on the doorcards make the cabin a decent place to be for long journeys.
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.
Toyota knows its target audience for the HiLux and has provided them with massive cupholders all around the front seats for gigantic bottles, meat pies and sausage rolls (and wallets, and phones…).
There are a few extra spaces around, a small trench under the air-conditioning controls, a double glove box set-up on the passenger’s side and a deep centre console box for everything else.
The back seat is decent on space, but not stellar. My 182cm frame can fit behind my own driving position with only a little airspace for my knees. A very welcome addition for the Australian summer at the SR5 grade is the presence of air vents on the back of the centre console stack.
The rear seat bases are on a 60/40 split and can be swung up to turn the rear portion of the cab into a more practical storage area.
The SR5’s tray won’t fit a standard Australian pallet, although few utes do. The dimensions come in at 1550mm long, and 1520mm wide (although this crops down to 1110mm between the wheel arches).
Toyota notes that the steel sports bar is not to be used for securing loads, leaving that task to four tie-down points around the edges of the tub. Those wanting to use the tray for more than recreational purposes will probably be saying goodbye to the sports bar before long.
In high-riding 4x4 trim, the HiLux has a payload of 955kg and a towing capacity of 750kg unbraked and 3200kg braked.
Those are just the figures stated by Toyota on paper, for a more in-depth look at the HiLux’s capacities, check out Mark Oastler’s TradieGuide review.
Price and features
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.
To say the HiLux range is “expansive” is an understatement of epic proportions. There is a HiLux to suit almost any ute buyer – whether it’s for a fleet of stripped-down workhorses or a pre-packaged bells-and-whistles recreational off-roader.
This is a cornerstone of the truck’s success, for sure, but results in a range of 36 HiLux variations which can be overwhelming for consumers.
To break it down, there are now six HiLux trim levels consisting of (in price-ascending order): Workmate, SR, SR5, Rogue, Rugged, and Rugged X.
The entry-level Workmate has the most complicated range, as it is the only HiLux still available with either a 2.7-litre petrol or 2.8-litre diesel. It can also be had with either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto with the option of 4x4.
To complicate things further, it can be ordered with a body-matching tray, or as a cab-chassis.
The Workmate range alone stretches from $21,865 through to $46,865. It manages to undercut primary entry-level rival versions of the Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max, although the latter two come with diesel powertrains as standard.
Those looking for further bargains will have to venture into the relatively murky waters of Chinese alternatives.
Stepping up to the SR ($40,285 - $50,740) offers the choice of extra- or dual-cab bodystyles in 2.8-litre diesel automatic high-rider only and adds an improved list of equipment.
To save you from reading a short essay, we won’t outline the spec of every HiLux grade in this review, but our test car is the most popular SR5 variant, which is available only as a 4x4 hi-riding automatic in dual-cab form.
Standard equipment on this truck is a 7.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with built-in nav (but not with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto yet… ), 18-inch alloy wheels, a colour display screen in the dash, body matching bumpers, a rear chrome step bumper, LED auto-leveling headlights, LED DRLs, privacy glass, side-steps, steel sports bar, cloth seat trim, carpeted floors (as opposed to vinyl), an air-conditioned console box, 220-volt accessory socket, single-zone climate control with rear air vents, and all-weather floor mats.
Our SR5 was fitted with the 'Premium Interior Package' which adds hardy leather interior trim with heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat ($2000), and the fetching 'Olympia Red' colour ($600).
On the technical front, the SR5 has disc brakes at the front, drum brakes at the rear, “heavy duty” suspension consisting of double wishbones at the front and leaf springs at the back, as well as a tow pack and rear locking differential as standard.
It has a low-range transfer case, downhill accelerator control, hill start assist, and underbody protection to round out its off-roading gear. We’ll look at capacities and dimensions later in this review.
The total cost (MSRP) of our truck came to $59,840 with the options fitted. A cool sixty thousand is significantly more expensive than the similarly-equipped Mitsubishi Triton GLX Plus ($43,490), or Nissan Navara ST-X ($55,250), and for the same money you can have the marginally better equipped Ford Ranger Wildtrak ($56,340) with the older 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine.
It’s a nice bit of kit, sure, plus you’re buying into the HiLux badge and the “rugged” reputation that goes with it, but it’s worth at least cross-shopping its rivals in such a competitive market.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to fork out extra for a tub-liner, as the SR5 doesn’t come with one.
Engine & trans
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.
The HiLux continues with its well-regarded 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine in the SR5. Outputs are nominal for the segment, at 130kW/450Nm.
There’s nothing flashy about it. Not like the Ranger’s engines (which will get you more power from either an extra cylinder, or an extra turbo), or the Navara (extra turbo), or the D-Max (it’s literally a truck engine).
But the HiLux’s engine seems to pull it along at a fair pace for recreational duties. In terms of towing, a recent tow comparison had the HiLux falling behind the Ranger in terms of available torque, although ahead of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class which shares its powertrain with the Nissan Navara.
The six-speed auto was super compliant on my freeway and unsealed road tests and has performed the same way on previous comparison tests. The SR5 has a low-range transfer case with a rear differential lock as part of its drivetrain arsenal.
This truck’s ‘unbreakable’ visage was shaken lately with recent diesel particulate filter (DPF) issues, however Toyota claims those days are behind it with the introduction of a manual burn-off switch.
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.
My freeway/unsealed/daily grind test week produced a fuel consumption figure of 10.1L/100km. That’s 1.6L/100km more than its official claimed/combined figure of 8.5L/100km.
Given the amount of freeway driving on our test, we think you’d be hard pressed to get below 9.0L/100km on any given day.
4x4 HiLuxes are diesel only and have an 80-litre tank.
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.
On the road, the HiLux backs its tough look with a tough feel. Visibility is great from the driver’s seat, and with the range of adjustability in the seat and wheel its fairly easy to find a driving position suited to most.
The ride is stiff to a fault on the road when unladen though, and after being on the road for three or so hours you’ll be well and truly sick of its ladder-chassis jiggle. It’s particularly bad around the rear where those leaf springs will transmit bumps and jolts to the passengers with impunity.
The HiLux has firm but not unduly stiff steering. There’s plenty of feedback from the front wheels, so it’s easy to feel out where they are in lower-speed off-road environments, too.
Lighter, more car-like steering can be had in the Ranger or Amarok, which benefit in the ease of maneuvering tight city environments, although the compromise is less feedback.
At least the HiLux’s steering isn’t as heavy as the Triton which can, at times, be genuinely unpleasant.
The 2.8-litre turbo-diesel chugs along about mid-way through the segment in terms of outputs and it feels it behind the wheel. Refinement is about what you’d expect. Not as quiet as the Amarok or Ranger, but also not as industrial as the D-Max.
The SR5 feels at home the moment you take it off the tarmac and onto an unsealed surface. The suspension feels much better here, chugging over bumps, rocks and clambering over obstacles with relative ease.
At higher speeds, those stiff rear springs can have the rear fishtailing around over corrugated surfaces, although this can be reined in a little by driving in 4H.
While my test was limited to a few unsealed trails in regional NSW, the more hardcore off-road test segment in our six-ute comparison test (which featured this exact truck) had the SR5 come first place over its direct rivals.
Make sure to read it for more on the HiLux’s off-road performance.
As it is, the SR5 is a capable dual-purpose truck on and off the road, although unlike some rivals it prioritises ability over day-to-day comfort.
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.
The 2020 HiLux updates brought with them a significant increase in standard safety gear.
Active items that make up Toyota’s 'Safety Sense' suite include auto emergency braking (AEB – with pedestrian and cyclist detection), lane departure warning (LDW), road sign assist (lets you know what the speed limit is), and active cruise control. That last one is more than welcome for long freeway trips.
Notably absent are blind spot monitoring (BSM), rear cross traffic alert (RCTA), and driver attention alert (DAA).
On the side of expected safety refinements, the HiLux has seven airbags, stability, brake and traction controls, a reversing camera and hill start assist.
There are two ISOFIX child-seat mounting points on the outer two rear seats and three top-tether points.
This HiLux (from July 2019 onwards) has a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.
There are many utes on the market that still do not have the level of safety refinement now offered by the HiLux and this resonates down through its range.
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.
On the face of it, the HiLux looks promising. Strong dealer network, capped price servicing, and at long last a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty was introduced by the brand early in 2019.
Delving into the details a little proves the HiLux to be a bit frustrating, however. Although services are capped at an incredibly cheap-sounding $240, you’ll have to visit twice (maybe even three times) a year with intervals set at six months/10,000km.
Affordable, sure. Annoyingly frequent nonetheless.