by Jez Spinks

The 2012 Holden Colorado ute range will start at a lower price point than its predecessor as the local car maker aims to make a bigger play in the commercial field against the market-leading Toyota HiLux and Nissan Navara.

Holden’s new-generation Colorado will cost from $26,990 when it arrives in June – $1500 cheaper than the previous 4X2 cab chassis that currently kicks off the range.

The company announced the pricing at the Colorado’s international launch in Thailand, which CarAdvice is currently attending.

The early declaration is part of a strategy to keep the new Colorado in the spotlight after horrendous floods last year in Thailand caused delays at the ute’s production source.

The entry-level Colorado is the only model in the comprehensive line-up powered by the smaller of two new General Motors turbo diesel four-cylinders that will see the end to the locally built 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine previously offered.

The 2.5-litre diesel comes only with a five-speed manual and offers 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

A new 2.8-litre turbo diesel is employed in the other 25 Colorado variants, which comprise cab chassis, space cab and dual cab (‘crew cab’ in Holden-speak) body styles, and four trim levels – DX, LX, LT and LTZ.

The 2.8 diesel produces 132kW of power and up to 470Nm of torque if buyers choose the $2000 optional six-speed auto over the standard five-speed manual that is restricted to a maximum pulling power of 440Nm.

The torque output is significantly higher than the 360Nm of the Isuzu 3.0-litre diesel used in the outgoing Colorado, and matches the best-in-class pulling power produced by the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 twins.

Parent company General Motors says fuel figures are still not available for the model that will be known as the Chevrolet Colorado in the vast majority of markets. However, it claims the results will “put it at the top of the list”.

Colorados with the bigger-capacity diesel have a class-leading towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes, with a still-competitive 3000kg for the 2.5-litre diesel, while a payload of more than one tonne is consistent across the range.

Holden has confirmed expectations that the 4×2 space cab variant will be discontinued with the arrival of the new Colorado.

Prices both increase or decrease throughout the range depending on model.

The Colorado 4×4 space cab now starts $2000 cheaper at $40,490, while the Colorado 4×4 dual-cab chassis will begin $1800 lower at $42,990. Both entry points are LX trims.

There’s no change for the $34,990 4×4 DX single-cab chassis, but the Colorado LX 4×2 dual-cab now starts at $35,490 rather than $33,990 and the LX 4×4 version rises by $1000 to $44,490.

Holden’s new range-topping Colorado – the LTZ 4×4 dual-cab – will cost $51,990, starting $3300 higher than the current flagship.

As with all models except the base model Colorado, the LTZ can have a six-speed automatic gearbox mated to the 2.8-litre diesel for a $2000 premium over the standard five-speed manual.

4WD variants feature a new two-speed part-time transfer case that drivers can switch between low range and high range on the move.

The 2012 Holden Colorado will include electronic stability control, dual front and side curtain airbags as standard, bringing it in line with the active and passive safety levels now expected in the class but only introduced in recent times by the likes of the Volkswagen Amarok, Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50.

Parking sensors will be offered on local Colorados but Holden says it is still working on making a reverse-view camera available some time after the vehicle has launched.

More car-like features will also be evident in the new Colorado, reflecting the dual roles that utes now play in Australia – especially the dual-cab versions that are workhorses during the week but family cars and lifestyle vehicles on weekends.

Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity, for example, will form part of a features list, while satellite navigation will also be available.

The Colorado range will also expand with the 2012 model. A new seven-seater SUV called the Colorado 7 is based on the ute’s underpinnings and will be sold in various markets including Australia.

Both the Colorado ute range and Colorado 7 SUV were designed by GM’s operations in Brazil.

Click to read CarAdvice’s 2012 Holden Colorado Review.