Holden Special Vehicles has unveiled the first product in its new, post-Commodore-V8 world: the Colorado SportsCat by HSV.
The “enhanced” version of the Holden Colorado goes on sale in February, and is indicative of the more diversified portfolio as HSV enters a new era after decades of high-performance muscle cars.
The “by HSV” part of the model’s name also indicates a new, closer relationship between Holden and Holden Special Vehicles as the latter helps to strengthen the former’s model ranges with special variants.
SportsCat is HSV’s first involvement in a traditional workhorse ute, following Commodore-based utility vehicles such as the Avalanche XUV and Maloo.
The retention of the Colorado name, along with engineering modifications and a price expected to start in the low-$60,000 bracket, positions the SportsCat as a model trying to cover off both the $59,590-plus Ford Ranger Wildtrak and the Blue Oval’s forthcoming Ranger Raptor “performance truck”.
The SportsCat is based on the range-topping $54,490 Z71 Colorado, though there is no extra engine performance as per HSV tradition, or like Toyota’s short-lived, go-faster HiLux, the TRD 4000SL from 2008.
HSV boss Tim Jackson said customer feedback suggested a faster-accelerating Colorado wasn’t a priority.
“The cost/complexity for a relatively minor power increase didn’t make sense,” he said. “We did a fair bit of consumer research. For our traditional customers, it was power, power, power, but for dual-cabs it was about the overall package.
“If this were a Commodore product, I would be concerned about not offering extra power. We thought dynamics was an area we could improve. And I think we’ll have the benchmark in on-road driving [in the light-commercial segment].”
Although there is no upgrade to the Colorado’s 147kW/440-500Nm 2.8-litre Duramax turbo diesel, the SportsCat is also more than a cosmetically enhanced version.
HSV engineers have given the underpinnings a thorough going-over with the intention of improving ride and handling, as well as off-road performance.
The front suspension has been reinforced by a strut brace and features an enlarged anti-roll bar and stiffened and raised springs.
MTV dampers are introduced front and rear, and the SportsCat gains wider tracks, and forged alloy 18-inch rims enveloped in customised Cooper hybrid tyres.
There’s also a larger master brake cylinder HSV says shortens brake pedal travel and improves brake modulation.
HSV has also revised the Colorado’s electronic stability control system.
Two variants will be offered: SportsCat and SportsCat+.
The SportsCat brings a quick-release hard tonneau cover with alloy sports bar, a tailgate with embossed ‘Colorado’ name, EZ-down soft lowering, six-spoke matte-black forged-alloy 18-inch wheels, and large SportsCat decals.
The front-end also adopts a sportier stance and aesthetic to the Z71, with its prominent scuff plate, single rather than double grille, re-profiled lower bumper, LED foglights, and forged front tow hooks each capable of pulling three tonnes.
There’s a total front-end lift of 45mm through raised dampers (+25mm) and the custom Cooper hybrid tyres (+20mm).
HSV says the SportsCat improves the Colorado’s approach and departure angles for off-roading. Its 251mm ground clearance is certainly well above the Colorado’s relatively low 210mm, as well as the Wildtrak’s 237mm.
The Cooper Zeon LTZ Pro Sports All-Terrain tyres are designed to be all-rounder rubber that is effective on bitumen, dirt and mud.
The SportsCat+ is expected to carry a premium of approximately $5000 to $6000 over the SportCat for a range of extras.
It brings an even bolder design, with honeycomb grille, ruggedly styled plastic wheel-arch surrounds, sailplane, and bonnet bulge. The rims also adopt a machined-face finish.
Mechanically, the SportsCat+ gains an AP Racing brake package with four-piston calipers, 362mm front discs (up 62mm) for what HSV claims is benchmark stopping performance.
The SportsCat+’s rear suspension also features an electro-hydraulic anti-roll bar that decouples in low range to improve wheel articulation.
SupaShock dampers, which featured on the GTSR W1 performance sedan, will be available for the SportsCat+ as a factory-fitted option.
A compact accessories range is provided in addition to the larger list of extras available for the Colorado. They include a tub liner, Load Master tray partition, tonneau roof rack, and Eye-Bolt tie-down system.
The Holden Colorado is currently the fourth most popular 4×4 ute in Australia, though its year-to-date sales at the end of October 2017 were half of those achieved by the dominant Ranger and HiLux.
Click through to our gallery for more images of the new SportsCat ute.
Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss the 2017 HSV Colorado SportCat below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.