Today’s unveiling of the thinly-veiled concepts follows the publishing of spy photos and leaked press images that reveal the facelifted ute and SUV in their regular production form.
These concepts, however, were developed in secret at Holden’s Melbourne design and fabrication centres to produce realistic - if not entirely confirmed for market - on-road and off-road upgrades for the Colorado twins.
Working together with their Thai and Brazilian counterparts, Holden’s styling and engineering teams were directed to produce a range of new accessories for the heavy duty Colorado Xtreme concept and the Trailblazer (Colorado 7) Premier concept.
“The Colorado Xtreme and Trailblazer Premier show vehicles were created with the intent of injecting excitement and passion into the critical light commercial and SUV segments, while reinforcing Holden and Chevrolet’s commitment to exciting design and listening to customer feedback,” Holden managing director Mark Bernhard said.
Bernhard said that the new Colorado concepts, along with the recent Buick Avenir and Opel GT concepts highlight the role that Holden’s design and engineering teams will continue to play in the global General Motors operation.
Holden’s Port Melbourne facility is one of only two in the world capable of taking a concept all the way from sketchpad to motor show floor, along with the Detroit headquarters of GM itself.
Bernhard’s predecessor, Mike Devereux, now global vice president for GM International Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, said that the Colorado Xtreme is inspired by “the ultimate tough American truck”, while the Trailblazer Premier concept combines the ute’s off-road capability with a “more luxurious and sophisticated” look and feel, inside and out.
In both cases, there’s a new front-end look that includes new headlights with a reshaped housing and a dark new finish to the internals, along with another broad new take on the ‘dual port’ Chevrolet grille design.
The profile and rear styling of both models is largely unchanged, but both pick up a huge haul of accessories - some for fashion and some, in the case of the Colorado Xtreme ute, for function.
“This truck is in direct response to consumer’s desire to personalize their vehicles,” said Australian-born GM International Design vice president and former Holden chief designer, Michael Simcoe.
“Not only does this integrated accessory range looks fantastic but our priority was to ensure they were, first and foremost, practical and useful additions that were perfect additions to the vehicle.
“Inspiration for the truck came from many sources, in particularly we looked at the US market where Chevrolet leads the way as far as truck design. By looking at the Xtreme it’s clear that the North American market influenced many of the styling cues. The end result is a serious pick up with no compromise.”
For the Xtreme concept, those additions include high-lift suspension and large flared guards to accommodate the 18-inch custom-bead-locked all-terrain tyres, a front Safari bar with integrated LED lighting and a winch, and an integrated hood vent.
The list doesn’t quit there, though, with other add-ons including a rear step with integrated corner step and tow bar, a new snorkel, sports roll bar with a specially styled ‘in-fill’ panel, a centre high-mounted stop light and whip antenna.
There’s also a custom tub liner with adjustable tie-down tracks that extent to the gate, an integrated spare wheel mount and tool holder, and a custom spare wheel T-nut.
In the cabin, there’s a completely redesigned dashboard with an eight-inch display, reshaped vents and repositioned air conditioning controls, a new centre panel, a hand grab and integrated pitch and roll meters.
Although Holden has not confirmed, we expect many of these new-look features to transfer to the production 2017 Colorado.
Premium leather and seat fabric has been used with this concept. Regular 2017 Colorado models are unlikely to get this treatment, but high-spec models - including the special Z71 style pack - could get a similar makeover.
For the Trailblazer Premier (Colorado 7) SUV concept, the overall design changes are largely identical inside and out, but with a focus on urban aesthetic preferences rather than off-road dominance.
“The brief was simple, we wanted to dial up the refinement to make sure the vehicle was as luxurious as it was capable,” Simcoe said.
This show car is a result of strong collaboration to ensure we understood the demands of each market. Our research tells us customers, particularly in the Thai market, appreciate luxury, upmarket finishes and sophisticated detail. So our focus has been on ensuring we enrich the driver and passenger experience.”
Along with its silver-blue “Velocity” exterior paint and custom 22-inch wheel set, the Premier’s styling tweaks include a rear spoiler and fascia protector, and integrated side steps with chrome molding.
Inside, there’s the same new dash design but with a two-tone fabric finish and detailed stitching, leather seat trim with hand-made net pockets behind, a wooden door feature with steel strip inserts, chrome highlights and matching floor mats.
“Unlike the Colorado Xtreme, which is loud and tough, the Trailblazer Premier is subtle and softer in terms of color and materials, emphasized with the use of bright chrome and premium materials such as Australian timber which was hand-picked and crafted.”
Holden has yet to confirm that these concepts point to the “exciting plans” that it has for the 2017 model-year Colorado twins, although the clearly production-ready design of the new grille and headlights suggests they’re a shoo-in for our market.
Sources at Holden have also confirmed with CarAdvice that we can expect significant updates to the local Colorado range, including extensive improvements to suspension and steering, developed and tested at the Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria.
Watch for more on the facelifted Colorado pair to surface in the months ahead.
Click the photos tab above for many more images.