Stepping Up

Holden shows what we can expect from the all-new Colorado

The Colorado and its predecessor, the Rodeo, have been great ambassadors for Holden in the highly competitive ute market.

Although the current model is now at the end of its production run in its present form, the middle of this year will see Australia welcoming its replacement. And, if the details on paper are anything to go by, it will continue to be a major source of profit for Holden in this country.CAR_Ute_Holden-Colorado_6

It’s an interesting anomaly that the 4×2 ute and cab-chassis market is about half that of its 4×4 relations. Taking the entire 4×2 segment for 2011, we can see that, statistically (VFacts), it formed just 5.2 percent of the overall market, with 11 manufacturers fighting for their share of total sales that reached 52,179 registrations.

Holden’s Colorado 4×2 scored 2.3 percent of the segment, and, with 1,206 sales, it was easily eclipsed by Holden’s Commodore ute that sold 9,849 units for a market share of 18.2 percent. The only 4×2 ute to beat the Commodore was the HiLux at 12,399 units for a market share of 23.8 percent.

The addition of Mahindra and Land Rover in the 4×4 market, and the deletion of Proton which only sells its Jumbuck in 4×2 versions, brings the off-road ability seekers a choice of 12 different manufacturers.

Holden’s Colorado, even as an outgoing product, managed a strong serve in this segment of 10.6 percent for sales of 10,618 units. Performing above the Colorado were HiLux, again in first place (23,725 units and 23.8 percent), Navara (20,162 units and 20.2 percent) plus the Ranger 4×4 at 11,286 units and Triton 4×4 at 11,297 units, both sharing 11.3 percent. Altogether, this segment peaked at 99,850 registrations and represented 9.8 percent of the overall vehicle market.

CAR_Ute_Holden-Colorado_4Mike Devereux, the charismatic chairman and managing director of GM Holden Australia, presented an advanced peek at the 2012 Colorado at last year’s Melbourne Motor Show. At the time, it was expected that it would break ground here early this year, but the ensuing floods in Thailand had their own effect on the production levels at the plant on the outskirts of Bangkok.

As supply levels get back to being able to sustain the new model launch, Holden will be previewing the new Colorado, from April onwards, in a mobile drive programme event visiting dealerships around the country. This gives the brand the opportunity to gauge reaction and also to stimulate advance orders, prior to the full availability in Australia from July.

The 2012 Holden Colorado range will offer customers three body styles – single cab, space cab and crew cab – and offer two all-new 2.5-litre and 2.8-litre DOHC in-line 4-cylinder turbo diesel engines.

Diesel engine technology has come a long way since the original Isuzu-sourced Rodeo and Colorado engine was designed. These latest units offer maximum torque at 2,000 rpm with the 2.5-litre rated at 350 Nm, the 2.8-litre with five-speed manual gearbox at 440 Nm and the 2.8-litre with automatic transmission rated at 470 Nm.

Put into perspective, the diesel engines used in the Jackaroo diesels, which were highly thought of in their day, were rated at 333 Nm. When paired with the six-speed automatic, this new 2.8-litre diesel produces ten percent more power and 40 percent more torque than its 3.0-litre predecessor in the outgoing Colorado.

The new Colorado offers a claimed 3.5-tonne towing capacity across the 2.8-litre turbo diesel range, which reduces to 3.0 tonnes on all 2.5-litre variants.

At this stage, it’s not clear whether the ABS braking system also provides a reactive stability system for the trailer, but the braking system does include electronic brake force distribution and electronic stability control.CAR_Ute_Holden-Colorado_2

In terms of other safety inclusions, the new Colorado adds driver and front passenger airbags and side curtain airbags. Holden will also be keen to ensure that its new model also matches the latest competitors, such as Ford’s Ranger and Volkswagen’s Amarok, offering five-star ANCAP crash rating.

Colorado will also be equipped with lifestyle and comfort features including Bluetooth® connectivity, air conditioning, power windows, auxiliary plug and USB port, two auxiliary power outlets and iPod® compatible audio system.

According to John Elsworth, Holden Executive Director Sales, Marketing and Aftersales:

“The new Colorado is a new era for Holden LCVs and will play a vital role in our product renaissance. We’re so excited about its performance as a tough, daily workhorse and active recreational vehicle that we wanted to preview the range as soon as possible.

“This is the most impressive light truck ever designed by General Motors, and we expect it to be a serious challenger in the competitive Australian light commercial market.

“Our diesel-only powertrain strategy means we’ll offer two very competitive, responsive engines that boast impressive towing capacity of up to 3.5-tonne, which we know our customers will love.

“A number of new Colorados are already out on the road, gathering important data on engine and transmission performance, drive quality and suspension tune. This evaluation work will continue for the next few months to make sure it is perfectly suited for Australian roads and conditions.”

“And, in the meantime, customers will have the chance to inspect the new range at Holden dealerships from April, with a number of Colorados touring the country as part of our pre-launch roadshow,” Mr. Elsworth said.

In terms of the remaining mechanical specification, the diesel-only line up shows that both are four-cylinder, turbocharged designs, the 2.5-litre engine offering 110 kW while the 2.5-litre increases this output to 132 kW, all produced at 3,800 rpm.CAR_Ute_Holden-Colorado_3

The steering moves away from recirculating ball systems, to a power-assisted rack and pinion design, while the front suspension uses a conventional independent double wishbone system with coil springs, and, as expected, the rear suspension is a leaf spring design.

The wheelbase dimensions for the single cab and the space cab are identical at 3,096 mm, as are the width measurements at 1,882 mm, front overhang at 944 mm and front and rear track at 1,570 mm. The overall height is 1,785 mm for the single cab and 1,780 mm for the space cab.

When comparing the single cab with the space cab and crew cab derivatives, there are slight dimensional variations, as one would expect through the difference in roofline.

The introduction of this new Colorado marks the end of the association with Isuzu that dates back to the introduction of the first Rodeo back in 1980. The Isuzu relationship for ute supply actually started much earlier, with Holden importing the Isuzu Faster ute under the brand name of Chevrolet LUV from 1972, changing the name to Isuzu LUV in 1977. It was only the split between General Motors and Isuzu that resulted in the end of the Rodeo nameplate, as Isuzu Ute Australia took responsibility for its own products, that caused the rebranding as Colorado.

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