2008 Holden Colorado First Steer
“Holden have a new Rodeo but its not called the Rodeo. Meet the Colorado. It’s not only highly capable on and off road, but the revised styling looks considerably better than the outgoing nameplate”
– words by Anthony Crawford.
It’s not that Holden wanted to dump the Rodeo name and start again, that wouldn’t be the smart move. It takes many years and millions of dollars to build automotive brands and the last thing Holden needed, was to start again in the same category.
Rodeo paid dividends for Holden in Australia as a reliable and tough light commercial workhorse.
There was nothing wrong with Rodeo sales either. In 2007, Holden sold over 18,000 of them, skewed favourably toward the 4X4 variants.
Unfortunately for Holden, it didn’t own the name. That intellectual property belonged to successful Japanese truck company Isuzu, who’s relationship with Holden’s parent, General Motors is no longer.
The irony is, Isuzu Ute Australia is set to launch their own light commercial vehicle in Australia called, the D-Max which is sure to compete against Holden’s new model.
I’m not sure that Holden is too worried though, as the name change has forced the local operation to take a step back and look at the category with a fresh set of eyes and make some welcome changes.
For a start, Colorado is a global brand for General Motors light trucks segment, which could offer some economies of scale and subsequent pricing advantages over competitors.
You will be hard pressed to notice much of a difference between the Rodeo and Colorado, at least from the rear of the vehicle. Things are fairly similar down that end, so you need to look closely to spot the redesigned tailgate and taillight assembly.
Walk around to the front of the truck (Holden execs are using the term truck with increasing frequency when describing the Colorado) and you will be pleasantly surprised. The new grille is decidedly Chevrolet DNA and much better looking for it.
Engineering wise, not a lot of change here either. Three engines are on offer including my pick, the 3.0-litre four-cylinder common rail turbo diesel that pulls the Colorado along, effortlessly. It ought to, with 360 Nm of torque at 1800rpm with the manual and slightly less with the auto albeit, peaking at 1600rpm.
But I’m not sure how many of the 3.6-litre Alloytec V6 petrol engine variants Holden thinks they will sell, given the continuing petrol price crisis, but my guess is, not many.
What they will sell plenty of is the just adequately powered, but well priced, 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine variant. At just $19,990 complete with a braked towing capacity of 2000kg, it’s easy to see why.
There’s a premium for diesel power, but you can’t complain at $27,990 for the 4×2 Single Cab Chassis (manual transmission). If however, you wish to step up to a 4×4 Colorado, that will set you back $31,990 but again, this represents good buying, when you consider it has a 3000kg braked towing capacity.
Punters will also have a choice of three Colorado body styles – the Crew Cab, Space Cab and Single Cab. Naturally, buyers can choose between two and four wheel drive variants, depending on their daily duties.
Trim levels range from the poverty pack DX to LX and on up to the new sports LT-R, available in the Crew Cab Pick Up with 4×2 and 4×4 chassis variants.
Top shelf in the Colorado range, is occupied by the $45,990 sports model LT-R 4×4 Crew Cab Pick Up with the 3.0 VCDi Turbo Diesel powertrain. Standard inventory on this sports variant include: Sports bars, soft tonneau cover, side steps, front fogies, 16-inch alloys and Sports interior trim.
Additionally, buyers of the LT-R 4×4, receive Bluetooth capability and Rear Park Assist, both of which I consider essential in this type of vehicle.
Research by Holden reveals that although this class of vehicle is typically purchased by tradesmen, the ability to strip off the overalls and don a pair of board shorts or full motorcross armour for the weekend, is important.
I drove all body styles both on the bitumen and off road and my first impressions are that the Colorado is indeed, a dual-purpose proposition.
Behind the wheel, it feels as tough as nails, very well screwed together. Kind of like, you could drive through a double brick wall and come out the other side unscathed, that kind of tough.
The ride quality though, is certainly not what I expected from a hardcore tradie-mobile. Reasonably supple and compliant, is how I would describe the ride on tarmac and equally so, on the muddy dirt trails in regional Victoria.
Another surprise, is the speed sensitive power assisted steering. It’s well weighted and puts you in touch with whatever surface you happen to be on. More car like, than truck like. That also applies to the interior design and switchgear layout.
There’s plenty of low down punch with the 3.0-litre turbo diesel and highway driving is breeze, given the relatively quiet cabin at speeds up to 110 km/h.
I’ve done my time in those rented single cab chassis, which if you are not a tradie, is mandatory, when forced to move house or offload those cherished mementos, which have sat idol in the garage for years, but they didn’t drive like this Colorado.
The five-speed manual transmission requires little effort during shifts, and the clutch pedal is similarly light. You can option a four-speed automatic box on selected LT-R and LX models but with the single cab chassis, I hardly see the point.
Powered by the 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing just 92kW and 207Nm of torque, you might think that keeping up with traffic could be a struggle. Not at all, with a kerb weight of just 1332kg, this thing moves along fine. That’s all the more comforting, when you take into account the recommended retail price of $19,990.
Holden has dealt with safety on board the Colorado with Driver and front passenger airbags standard across the range and ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) standard kit on all 4×4 variants as well as the LT-R.
Brakes are via ventilated discs up front and drums down the rear. Don’t be alarmed though, this set up is the industry standard the LCV class and if I didn’t mention it, you would be hard pressed to pick it.
Despite the compliant suspension, the Colorado is clearly built around a rigid chassis. There is very little body roll on turn in which again is unexpected but fast becoming the norm in this work/recreational light truck segment.
Fuel is certainly a contentious issue these days, especially when you are hauling equipment around day in and day out. The 3.0-litre turbo diesel is by far the most fuel-efficient with the single cab chassis with manual transmission recording 7.9 litres per 100kms while other diesel variants use up to 9 litres per 100kms.
While you can get into a 3.6-litre V6 Alloytec with single cab chassis for as little as $24,990, be prepared to use up to 13.7 litres per 100kms if you opt for the single cab with auto.
The 2.4 litre four cylinder remains the most affordable entry point into a new Colorado despite using 11.8 litres per 100kms in the single cab with auto. I’m surprised at that figure, given its significant weight advantage over the 4×4 LT-R weighing in at a hefty 1932kg.
“Holden’s new Colorado is the better looking vehicle in the LCV category, no question. When you add that to the low entry point for the 3.0 litre turbo diesel, you can bet on this vehicle finding a strong following amongst our tradies”
2008 Holden Colorado line-up & pricing (RRP inc. Air Conditioning)
4×2 Single Cab Chassis:
• DX 2.4 litre, four-cylinder, SOHC engine from $19,990
• LX 3.6 litre, V6 Alloytec, DOHC engine from $24,990
• LX 3.0 litre, VCDi Turbo Diesel engine from $27,990
4×2 Space Cab Chassis:
• LX 3.6 litre, V6 Alloytec, DOHC engine from $27,99
4×2 Space Cab Pick Up:
• LX 3.6 litre, V6 Alloytec, DOHC engine from $27,990
4×2 Crew Cab Pick Up:
• LX 3.6 litre, V6 Alloytec, DOHC engine from $30,490
• LX 3.0 litre, VCDi Turbo Diesel engine from $33,990
• LT-R 3.6 litre, V6 Alloytec, DOHC engine from $34,990
4×4 Single Cab Chassis:
• DX 3.0 litre, VCDi Turbo Diesel engine from $31,990
• LX 3.0 litre, VCDi Turbo Diesel engine from $35,990
4×4 Space Cab Chassis:
• LX 3.0 litre, VCDi Turbo Diesel engine from $39,990
4×4 Crew Cab Chassis:
• LX 3.0 litre, VCDi Turbo Diesel engine from $42,290
4×4 Crew Cab Pick Up:
• LX 3.6 litre, V6 Alloytec, DOHC engine from $39,990
• LX 3.0 litre, VCDi Turbo Diesel engine from $40,990
• LT-R 3.6 litre, V6 Alloytec, DOHC engine from $43,990
• LT-R 3.0 litre, VCDi Turbo Diesel engine from $45,990
Holden Colorado Colour Selection:
• Alpine White
• Impulse Blue Metallic
• Royal Grey Metallic
• Sterling Silver Metallic
• Tornade Red Metallic
• Imperial Blond Metallic
• Black Sapphire Metallic