Going for Gas

Holden adapts its LPG technology into the Colorado

Some might say it’s been a long time coming, but, for Holden, the inclusion of an LPG option in the Colorado range makes a sensible addition to that of the LPG availability in the Commodore ute.

This is dual fuel territory, where a touch of a button can switch you from petrol to LPG power and back again. The advantages of this are more power when on petrol but a reduction in fuel cost when on gas. The other advantage comes in the form of increased range when both fuel options are used to compliment the overall range of the Colorado.

In practical terms, about the only trade-off is the lack of space under the rear tray in which to store the spare tyre. In the case of the dual cab ute version, the tyre ends up in the tray, chopping back space, which is already far from premium. In the single cab ute version, it’s not such a concern with many owners already losing space, intentionally, to toolboxes. Although we haven’t yet seen a cab chassis LPG version, we are presuming it might be possible to find an alternative mounting position for the spare tyre somewhere under the tray.

Colorado has until the end of this year to run its course, before being replaced by a totally new platform and engine, so this latest release does enable a little more showroom traffic to be generated before we hit runout phase around the end of the third quarter.Holden-Colorado_1

There are three models in the Colorado range to benefit from the availability of LPG. These are the Colorado 4×2 Single Cab Chassis, and the Crew Cab pickup models, in both LX and LT-R guise, and all are powered by the Australian-built, dual-fuel LPG Alloytec V6 engine. LPG is not available as an option with 4×4 variants.

In its base format, the Colorado currently presents well, and time has shown it’s an honest workhorse. Sure, it doesn’t come fully loaded with lots of upmarket specification, together with the significant additional price of some of the competition, but we are talking work utes here, so let’s keep it all in perspective.

Holden Director of Marketing, Philip Brook, said the LPG option added to Colorado’s reputation for offering practical and user-friendly features for heavy-duty work.

“We think the introduction of the LPG option to the Colorado range is a clear advantage for the customer,” Mr Brook said.

“Customers have the space, power and performance that they need, while slashing their fuel bill in a big way.

“LPG is widely available across Australia, and, perhaps most importantly, gives customers access to heavy-duty truck benefits with small car running costs,” he said.

The three models add to Holden’s EcoLine range, which highlights the company’s vehicles that use an alternative fuel or fuel saving technology.

Colorado’s dual-fuel system, which complies with the Euro 4 emissions standards, delivers 155 kW of power at 5,400 rpm and 300 Nm of torque rated at 2,700 rpm. It employs Sequential Vapour Gas Injection (SVGI) technology, which injects gas directly into the engine’s intake manifold, mimicking the petrol injection sequence.

Both models can be fitted with a default LPG switch that sounds a warning tone when the LPG tank is empty and the vehicle is running on petrol. The 4×2 Cab Chassis comes fitted with a 56-litre cylindrical LPG tank located between the chassis rails, while the Crew Cab models use a 76-litre toroidal tank located in the spare wheel casing. On all variants, the existing petrol tanks are unchanged. The towing capacity for a braked trailer is 2,500 kg. If you want to go to 3,000 kg, you’ll need to look at the diesel 4×4. The kerb weight of the single cab LPG/ULP cab chassis is shown as 1,446 kg, giving a payload of around 1,000 kg (dependent on the weight of the body chosen) out of a GVM of 2,800 kg.

There’s a difference in power and torque outputs from the standard petrol-fuelled Alloytec engine that offers maximum power of 157 kW at 5,300 rpm and peak torque of 313 Nm rated at 2,800 rpm.There’s also a variation of fuel economy and emissions levels, with the LPG 4×2 version with manual transmission being quoted at 16.7 l/100 km and 275 g/km, against the higher emissions of 313 g/km, but improved economy of 13.1 l/100 km, when running on petrol.Holden-Colorado_6

It’s at this stage the diesel devotees will be looking at how the four cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled, common rail injected diesel engine compares. These figures come in with economy of 7.9 l/100 km and an emissions level of 208 g/km. For the greener pasture enthusiasts, the equation really stops there, as emissions and economy from the diesel option outweigh the petrol and LPG dual fuel argument on everything except the price of filling a tank. The diesel engine is also sanctioned by Holden to run on a five percent bio-diesel mix, which brings in the crops for fuel debate.

As a driver, or owner, the only difference within the cabin is a small rocker switch and a display of lights situated under the dashboard that illustrates whether the engine is running on LPG or petrol and the level of LPG within the tank. The standard petrol fuel gauge, at the top right section of the dashboard, remains purely as status information about the petrol fuel tank.

There is a noticeable difference in power output and engine response for the driver when switching between fuel sources, but this needs to be kept in perspective when discussing which fuel source to choose for your new ute. Nobody is expecting their ute to rocket around the district like a sports car, and, for those who want to do just that, they’ll leave a trail of nuts, bolts and screws behind as the contents of the tray or tub explode out of their pots and packets and tumble over the road behind.

Buying the LPG option is something to benefit the long-term user, or those travelling high distances and looking for the lowest fuel costs. At around 60 cents per litre, there’s an obvious advantage over paying $1.39 or more at the bowser. The debate over whether LPG, petrol or diesel offers the best power and performance is, frankly, irrelevant, as all the performance comparisons depend on how much weight has been loaded into the tray.

A sensible buyer will need to sit down with a calculator and consider how long the ute is going to be kept on the payroll, how far it will travel each year, how often it needs to be serviced and, of course, the initial purchase price.

Holden’s dual-fuel LPG system is available as a $3,850 RRP (excl GST) vehicle option, and is covered by a three-year /100,000 kilometre warranty. Delivery readers are well advised to check pricing of 4×2 utes in our specification charts, in each issue, to find what suits their budget.

A Government Rebate of $2000 on LPG Vehicles is available for eligible private vehicle purchasers. An additional rebate of $1000 may be available for vehicles registered in Western Australia. For eligibility, refer to the WA Government’s LPG Vehicle Scheme at www.dpi.wa.gov.au and the Federal Government’s LPG Vehicle Scheme at www.ausindustry.gov.au.

 

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