• An SUV capable of going off road; towing ability; spacious and practical with generous third row legroom; relatively fuel efficient
  • Poor cabin quality; engine refinement lacking; lifeless steering; lacks the refined driving manners of car-based SUVs

6 / 10

2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review
2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review
2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review
by Daniel DeGasperi

A decade after the demise of the Jackaroo, the Holden Colorado 7 arrives to (finally) fill mud-encrusted boots in the full-sized, seven-seat SUV segment.

Although competitors these days have a ‘relaxed’ view of off-roading, the Colorado 7 remains true to the roots of its long-buried predecessor. It is a proper bush basher, with a separate chassis, limited slip differential, and dual-range gearbox with switchable four-wheel-drive system (2WD, 4-High, 4-Low), all unsurprisingly borrowed from its Colorado ute sibling.

While the double wishbone front suspension is also shared, the wagon-backed version of the Holden Colorado replaces the rear leaf springs of the tray-backed variant with coil springs to control the live beam axle.

Available in two specification levels – the $46,990 LT, and $50,490 LTZ – utilising a single 132kW/470Nm 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder and six-speed automatic drivetrain, the Holden Colorado 7 will compete with the Mitsubishi Challenger and Nissan Pathfinder – old Jackaroo foes – rather than the Ford Territory and Toyota Kluger.

The entry LT gets 16-inch alloys, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, reversing camera and Bluetooth connectivity, while the flagship LTZ adds 18s, leather trim, single-zone climate control and eight-speaker audio.

2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review
2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review
2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review
2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review

According to Holden’s executive director of sales and marketing, Phillip Brook, the Colorado 7 will appeal to “grey nomads” and rural folk more than urban dwellers looking for a school-run chariot. Brook expects a “few hundred” sales per month; the Challenger has averaged 208 sales per month to October, compared with 227 Pathfinders.

Front to rear, the 4878mm Holden Colorado 7 is 183mm longer than Challenger, and adds 65mm over the Pathfinder.

What that translates to is generous third-row legroom (above), at least by typical third-row standards. With 1902mm body width a full 102mm greater than the Mitsubishi and 50mm up on the Nissan, there’s even room for an open console container between the rearmost two pews, and a cupholder under each window.

The centre bench doesn’t slide, but it does tumble forward to allow easy (but awkward-to-fold) entry and egress. Both rows of occupants can be chilled or warmed, thanks to roof-mounted air vents and a separate rear fan control – standard on both spec levels.

Families who need all seven seats will be forced to accept only 205 litres of luggage room. Fold the third row and that expands to 878L. When there’s only two aboard, with all seats folded, a 1780L cavity is available.

As a static display of space and practicality, the Holden Colorado 7 is impressive, particularly for the price. It also makes economic sense in other ways. The oiler delivers its 470Nm at 2000rpm, and the six-speed auto slurs between changes to keep revs in that ballpark, so the 9.4L/100km claimed economy figure is achievable. On our drive through the hills around Healesville, in Victoria, the trip computer remained below 10L/100km.

2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review
2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review
2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review

For SUV buyers who actually travel off road, the Colorado 7 is very capable. Steep, rain-soaked tracks kept our test vehicle busy, but with differentials locked, and the oiler digging away in an ultra-short first gear, the Holden kept churning through ruts and over boulders.

For caravan-towers, a three-tonne braked-trailer capacity means the Colorado 7 will be the ideal option for those who like BYO accommodation.

There is, of course, a fairly large ‘but’ that accompanies the alternative-lifestyle focus. Being good at towing and being able to deliver 231mm of ground clearance (Challenger 205mm; Pathfinder 232mm) to conquer most terrain means sacrificing the ability to be good at normal, bitumen-based activities.

Fine, there’s a sacrifice. The mechanical power steering is slow and numb, and weirdly weights up into the turn. The tall body and thick-sidewalled tyres exacerbates the feeling of roll, and the solid rear beam hops and skips over large irregularities.

There’s little refinement and balance from fairly utilitarian ute-based underpinnings. At least the long-travel suspension delivers a comfortable ride on the freeway and over really rough terrain.

Again, sacrifice is expected. But what isn’t acceptable – in any class, especially at $47-51K – is poor cabin quality and engine refinement.

Inside (above, LT cabin pictured top and LTX bottom), the plethora of hard plastics should at least prove durable. However, the Thailand-made Colorado suffers from flimsy lids and cubby-nooks, crude surface joins, and separate audio and climate control screens with different fonts – the former a dot-matrix pixellation, the latter borrowed from a 1990s bedside alarm clock. Even the LT’s mouse-fur trim and LTZ’s vinyl-like leather is from an era closer to that of the late-1990s Jackaroo.

Diesel engine refinement is also sorely lacking. At idle, engine vibes shimmy through the dashboard and tiller. Anywhere in the rev range, clatter penetrates the (clearly underdamped) firewall. It’s loud, unpleasant, and – worst of all – ever present.

It’s understandable that the Holden Colorado 7 will perform better off-road than on. It doesn’t have to be sharp dynamically. However it’s the cabin quality and refinement issues that drag the big wagon down most.

There’s a crudity that no doubt lingers from sharing its parts with a commercial vehicle. It’s a compromise that even off-road enthusiasts with decent money to spend may find difficult to accept.

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2012 Holden Colorado 7 Review
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  • Sumpguard

    Nissan tried this with the last pathfinder and the styling didn’t work for them so why have GM decided to build an SUV on a ute also?

    • Hung Lw

      The Pathfinder still looked a whole lot better than this abomination inside and out.

      • Sumpguard

        I don’t agree. I think they are both pretty dull.

    • Schah7

       Another UGLY AS from the good boys boys @  GM……..Thanks?

  • Zaccy16

    This car is a laughing stock, another awful korean/thailand Holden! 

    • Captain Nemo®™

       Nothing to do with Korea Zuppy.
      You’re not the sharpest tool in the shed are you?

      • http://www.facebook.com/kiran.sb.3 Kiran SB

        So? Is that the best you got? It is Korean anyway. Most of the products in this car come form south Korea, that glovebox looks identical to the tk barina 

        • Captain Nemo®™

          Better go to spec savers kiran BS colour and shape are the only the glovebox share with the Barina. 

        • Noddy_of_Toyland

          It shares components with the Isuzu D-Max. Which is Japanese.

    • Gtr-xu1

      Zaccy is there any Holden that you won’t stick your nose in the air at..

      • Schah7

         & your name is “Gtr-xu1″…. ROFL.!

    • Pro346

      Stick to limp wristed hatchbacks……

    • Glenjamin

      GM Korea has as much to do with this vehicle as GM Holden did. The design house is GM Brazil and it is assembled in Thailand, exactly the same as the Colorado Ute. 

      While true that the Colorado shares some switchgear with other GM Korea Vehicles the same can be said about all GM vehicles (including Cadillac and Opel) as there a GM Common Parts across multiple carlines.

      The glovebox however is not one of them although similar in design.

  • Zaccy16

    That i think is the worst interior i have ever seen for 50,000! horrible plastics and awful screens!

    • 3D4

      I have to agree with you. I saw it at motorshow and really it has very disappointing interior..

  • pixxxels

    Dat interior… $47k… 

  • Ace

    Those rear seats look appalling. Like a dentist chair that has been covered in a millimeter thick leather. Awful!

  • Robin_Graves

    How low will Holden go?  They have the Camira / Nubira / Lacetti /Crude, The Winstorm / Craptiva, the Leganza / Malibu, the Lanos / kalos / Barina  – and now the ‘ole sackapoo replacement with a bit of Daewoo DNA in there to further mutate it.  Certainly most models are beached in the shallow end of the gene pool.

    • Golfmother

      Wait until they top it off with chevy IMPALA , goodnight crummerdore , man this is pretty basic for looks .

      • Schah7

         Now ya starting to “make sense”….. I agree. G/mother.

    • Aussie and proud

      Idiot have you owned or even driven the cars you just bagged…………. no so put up with proof or SHUT UP………. hopefully the latter

      • Johnson

        Why would he want to drive them? Aussie and proud defending those Holden models….the irony is delicious.

  • Rick

    I’ve been looking forward to this vehicle , but with no manual option I’ve lost interest

  • Shak

    Obviously none of you have sat in the Colorado 7.  I dont see what the reviewer was expecting? Of course there wont be soft touch plastics, and leather dashboards. Its a Utility vehicle. For what it is, the cabin quality is fine. Not the best in class but it is ok.

    • Johnson

      It’s also around $50k. It’s not 1992 anymore.

  • SickofHoldenbashers.com

    Oh, the jealousy from some of those above who obviously get paid to bag Holden all the time. Whats wrong? Did your Datsun 120Y/ Sunny, Toyota Corona/RWD Corolla oh and some FWD ones as well break down on your way home, Must be very uneducated to be spending your days on the computer than spending it productivel at work or learning some skils for life at school. 

    • Johnson


    • Noddy_of_Toyland

      “Must be very uneducated to be spending your days on the computer than spending it productivel at work or learning some skils for life at school.”

      Productivel? Skils? Who is the uneducated one here?

  • Pro346

    Wow a proper off roader! With low range and LSD!

  • Jackson

    while I agree its certainly not the best looking 4×4 of the year, It is a proper 4×4 with LSD and very good groud clearance.  This vehicle is really availble for guys that like to go up the beach, camp and or tow but have a family and therefore cant have a dual cab. 

    Its funny to see how quickly ppl jump on the hate bandwagon – if you dont like this car its clearly not for you.  Easy.  I dont like BMW 1 series – but for its intended market its prob an attractive car. 

    Good on Holden for catering to a poorly serviced part of the market.  Id like to see how it stacks up the CG Laredo, Challenger and Pathfinder

    • Joe

       …….I agree with you……us “proper” off-roaders look at different criteria to the average motor journalists. The hard plastics are usually far more robust and easy to clean than soft, the ability of the vehicle to traverse a mountain pass on a Sunday morning blast on bitumen is of no concern etc.

      It certainly is not the sharpest looking tool in the shed but it does give an additional choice in an ever dwindling segment of the marketplace. With a large dealer network nationwide and in the bush it will make quite a sensible choice to many. I will always prefer my Landrovers due to their off-road ability but this is certainly not to be bagged by people who are not in the market for a true off-roader or will never drive one..

      Welcome back Holden and I hope it does well for you.

    • JCSS

      Too right.. I think that people blur the divide between 4×4 and SUV and expect too much from their SUV’s. 

  • subfoz

    Sorry Holden, Its a No from me..

  • Dudeface

    I’d be waiting for the wagon version of the superior Ranger (Everest?)

    • Rick

      Hopefully ford will produce it in a manual

    • Marty

      Have you got shares in FordMo Co, or are you a Ford marketing plant?

  • bg

    this colorado is so ugly and it already has aged badly

  • Poison_Eagle

    Looks roomier in the back than Territory, that will be enough for some. Can anyone confirm this?
    Interior plastics look shocking though = gearlever looks like a 50c xmas tree ball.

    • Pro346

      This is a real off roader,the territory’s not.

  • Pro346

    Much better than the auto amarok….a pretend off roader . No low range what a joke

  • peddy.d

    absolute rubbish, don’t understand why people buy any imported holden product

  • Pilfred

    Poor cabin quality would be hard to live with once the newness wears off

  • MangeRover

    It would be interesting to see how many would buy the Colorado 7 after test driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel or the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Could be the price will drop before too long.

    • tiddy

      As much as I like the Grand Cherokee & I think it would be much better off road than this, there are people who will consider this purely on the basis of the 7 seats, which automatically negates the GC & the Wrangler 

      • McFly

        You think the GC will be better off road?  I hope it is – I would much prefer a GC when i upgrade in the next 6 months (GC interior and exterior are MUCH nicer), but the base laredo is only a 5sp auto, has a lower ground clearance and does not have a locker of LSD.

  • jekyl & hyde

    once you realize who will be buying this (farmers,rural dwellers,grey nomads….not soccer mums),you’ll know holden will sell quite a few on these,and challenge the like’s of overlander,pathy,prado,diesel terry etc.

    • Scotty

      Completely agree with you there. Holden will sell quite a few. It is sharply priced and the power/torque of this engine is second to none if you compare litre capacity etc. yes i admit the pajero has more KW which is only the kick you in your seat feeling. however the grunt/balls you need to tow or get out of sticky situations/ not even get into them is far better. the prado doesnt even rate to this. For the price of the Colorado 7, you just watch toyota/mitsubishi/nissan really start to rip the guts out of their cars just to sell them.

  • filippo

    That Holden badge on the grill looks like an afterthought. The designers at Holden must curse every time Chevrolet design a car with a vertical bar on the grill.

    • filippo

       I mean horizontal (I was lying on my side when I wrote that 😉 )

      • JCSS

        Doh, and I should focus a little better

    • Dudeface

      Because it IS an afterthought! Lol. Badge engineering at its finest…

    • JCSS

      You probably mean a horizontal bar. but i agree all the same

  • Bryan

    I think it needs bigger wheels, they look too small in proportion to the body which gives it that asian 4 x 4 look.  As for the third row of seats, the Colorado is a big i.e. long vehicle and if Holden had left the overall length the same they could have had a reasonable amount of cargo room behind the third row of seats which is something that most medium to large wagons are lacking.  There is no point having the ability to carry 7 or 8 people but only having 6 inches between the back seats and the tail to transport their luggage – hopefully Ford don’t make this mistake when they turn the Ranger in to a wagon…

    • Bryan

      Well, I finally got around to test driving one yesterday and I actually quite liked it. There was a bit more engine noise in the cabin than I would have liked but I had pretty much stopped noticing it by the end of the 15 minute test drive and the sales lady assured me that the engines quieten down as they run in…

      For a relatively wide vehicle, the turning circle seemed really good – it was easy to park and considering the tiny third row windows the visibility was adequate although I’m glad it had the reversing camera fitted.

      I sat in the second and third row seats and while the second row was comfortable, the third row was a bit of a squeeze by which I mean my head was touching the roof and knees were pressed against the back of the second row. If I had slouched down a bit and moved my legs it would be o.k. for a short while but I wouldn’t want to spend too much time in there! In fairness though I am six three and somebody up to a couple of inches shorter than me wold probably be quite comfortable.

      As per my original post, there isn’t much room in the back with the third row of seats up but I guess that can’t be helped.

      I think I will wait and see what the Ford Everest is like before I decide whether to seriously consider a “7” or not.

  • CS

    Error in the ground clearance figures you quoted – Challenger 205mm is the 2wd version, 4wd Challenger is similar to this and Pathy, and with better wheel articluation than both of these and hence better off road manners…

  • Marty

    Who pays full RRP for ANY vehicle? The price will fall and make this offroader very good value for money. Try cleaning a prestige interior subjected to dust, sand, rain, spilt drinks, sweat and food crumbs. Prestige 4wd’s are for wankers strutting around Double Bay and Toorak. Who needs them?

    • Mr Irony

      Owners of upmarket coffee shops in Toorak & Double Bay.

    • Golfmother

      Bogan bargain go for it and look like a goose .

  • Neilmckerracher

    I have only seen picture of the Colo7 it does look abit ugly.BUT this is a serious Off-road SUV not a pretty pretender.
    It is Thai Izuzu/Chevy rebadged as a Holden.
    It will sell cos its cheap for a big serious off roader

    • Scotty

      It has nothing to do with Isuzu. The engine is from the Colorado which is purely GM. Isuzu have not paid the money to have the new Duramax Diesel. They are using their previous 3.0L Engine and just put a chip in it. 
      But i still agree. it will definitely sell. Market share is all the motor industry is about now these days.

      • Hy

        Scotty – you know jack mate. Stop pretending you do.

        • Scotty

          so what exactly are you disagreeing with? or are you just trolling?

    • KTJane

      Sorry Neilmckerracher, but I think Scotty is right. the Colorado7 doesn’t have an isuzu engine, which is a pity. As a current jackaroo owner from new, our car has been all round australia and didn’t miss a beat, towing a fully laden camper trailer. Over the years our car does the off road, on road and the soccer mum trips. We have been waiting for Holden to bring out something with a real 4WD again, but I gotta say, it’s not as pretty as Jeep. If Holden put a little bit more effort into the cars looks they could have a real winner on their hands. That being said we are ready to upgrade and will be doing some serious comparing now.

  • Renewelter19

    Finally got a chance to drive one today , Ours was quiet compared to our 09 Triton felt nice on road and seats were comfortable , definitely in our consideration

    • Vcollerp

      Yep the rest shouting here probably never saw one, let alone drove it. And for the bad interior not really worse than the Commodore. I am in South Africa and drive a 3.6 V6 and a SSV ute.

  • Brook

    well its like this guys there is 6 in my family and we tow a 2500 kg race trailer around australia so I think it is going to suit us.

  • Holly

    As a mechanic’s daughter, I know my cars and I know a pile of junk when I see one. These cars are poorly built, as their parts are not painted before they are attached to each other (which leaves bare metal rubbing against itself). This causes bad, premature rusting. The steering on these cars is also poor. If you’re looking into a new 4×4, go with a Volkswagen Amarok or a Ford Ranger. These cars are built a lot better.

    • Bob

      Neither of which come as wagons. Wake up, for what it is not much else comes close for both price and offload capability in a wagon.

    • Shellwok

      If it’s painted and rubbing, it will soon be bare and rusting

  • Dms_roofing

    that is right, it’s competing for rural sales not grocery getters, easy to maintain interior makes cleaning mud dust and water easy compared to a leather wrapped dashboard range rover which is double the cost. I think 50k is to much should be around 40-45k respectively otherwise patrols and landcruisers are a better option even as a base spec which is what you’ll get for a few grand more.

  • Hollyanne

    Grand cherokees are beautiful cars. For the same price as this, you get a FAR better car. The interior is well finished, and all Jeep’s cars have a far superior build quality to Holden’s. 

  • Paul_dunne_3800

    Hmm, not real fussed on the new Holden line up – Daewoo hasn’t really had a good reputation, have had a Commodore years ago myself, and, it pretty much is just an enlarged Opel Omega – the only good stock that Holden really has these days are the Commodores and the Colorado’s, as the Colorado is more based on the American Chev Colorado.  At this point, I feel Ford has an edge over Holden as their cars are European cars, which are known to be a bit better quality – I think the Falcon is based on a Jag of some sort, but still, better than Daewoo.

  • hilldweller50

    we test drove and ordered on the same day. It’s great, just what we were looking for. We are rural horse lovers with relatives overseas so the airport run is regular for us. We love the three ton towing, the seven seats and that it is a real four wheel drive for the farm. Our only dissapointment was the lack of an external temperature reading and a very boring choice of colours.

  • Phantomskips

    Everyone is so opinionated I don’t understand the problem if you don’t like it don’t buy it I don’t see the point complaining about I myself was in the market for a seven seater I had looked at ever car there was and I found that the colorado had a lot more leg room at the back the seperate airconditioning for the front and back is brilliant its time everyone found something else to do other than complaining about something you don’t like don’t want and don’t need as for the vehicle I am one happy customer. Thanks holden

  • Noemail

    That’s is one UGLY looking car

  • Uncleduey

    Try the Hyundai Santa Fe – now this IS a reliable Korean car…unlike the Craptiva that has driven so many Holden enthusiasts (as I once was) away from Holden.

  • Kay

    Agree although this one has more room with all 7 seats up than Prado. 

  • Kay

    I also drove one yesterday and it went smooth and fast! It didn’t jump on the dirt and the hard plastic everybody is complaining about is easy to clean! I think people are complaining because they are not into what the car is capable of, just looks.. 

  • vic

    all the negative nancies can pull there heads in
    I am now a proud owner of a ltz Colorado 7
    my previous car was an r51 pathfinder which was too soft and scary to tow heavy loads and prior was a pajero.
    for cabin noise ride space layout and serious towing ability this has them both beat hands down
    if you are in the market for a 7 seat tow vehicle nothing else comes close for value
    compare this to a territory which is soft and not for serious 4wd, not even designed for towing
    and pajero has a bigger much noisier engine with the same power..
    yes interior is missing some soft touches like the center console lid is harsh on the elbow but all I all its a great all round truck !!
    9/10 thankyou holden for selling a truck I could justify buying brand new ..

  • Monotream

    Having driven both the Colorado 7 and the Prado while living in far north west Qld i feel a lot more comfortable on those longhaul drives with the Colorado 7 then the Prado i haven’t driven anything else except utes. So my verdict for us real Aussies not the ants in the cities is that the Colorado 7 simply craps all over the Prado. This car is not designed for those girly city slickers who like their leather dashes and gay interiors if it keeps me cool and has mean punch to overtake those road trains then it makes me happy. Also the 5 star ancap rating makes me feel safer with my baby boy in the back. Don’t dis the car unless you have really tried it out . The only drama we have is the availability of accessories their isnt much also the nozzle for fuelling up cant fit the high flow fuel pumps into it.

Holden Colorado 7 Specs

Car Details
LT (4x4)
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$32,890 - $37,380
Dealer Retail
$32,930 - $39,160
Dealer Trade
$25,600 - $29,900
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
470Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
132kW @  3800rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.4L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:3000  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
245/70 R16
Rear Tyres
245/70 R16
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Control & Handling
Traction Control System
Trip Computer
Side Steps
Side Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Optional Features
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
9 months /  15,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Mid Driver Side Chassis
Country of Origin