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Car Advice


by James Ward

Whether it be through a multitude of contrasting paint options, bespoke build programs or just some clever technology, ways of making your car, even more, yours (Mike wouldn’t let me say ‘yourer’), is pretty hot property at the moment.

Our 2017 Holden Colorado Z71 long-termer, Mr Plow, has taken a relatively traditional personalisation route though, through the addition of some genuine accessories.

As detailed in our first instalment, the $57,190 Z71 automatic is draped with a further $7,646 worth of goodies from the Holden catalogue.

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So far, the extra equipment has helped us look cool, but little else. We haven’t towed or pushed anything, but the LED light bar sure lets us remind slow-moving Uber drivers that we’re behind them.

It’s not all underutilised though. The cup holders have kept many a water bottle chilled, and the rubber mat in the back has come in handy while using the Colorado as a production support car on a number of video shoots.

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But even with all this hardware, Mr Plow felt a little underdressed, so we ordered a couple of extra items from the selection of 18 interior and 27 exterior accessories available for the Colorado dual-cab.

Some of these can simply be clipped in or thrown on by any ham-fisted writer, but others require a more considered and often permanent approach.

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When the car arrived in February, some of the ‘bigger’ items were already on board. Most notably the safari bull bar, tow pack and LED light bar.

But this month we ventured to a local Holden Dealer, Patterson Cheney in Vermont, to see what is involved in fitting the fender flares and weather shields.

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Patterson Cheney has a dedicated workshop just for accessories, and for our day in the shed, Mr Plow was joined by plenty of other Colorados as well as a constant stream of Trax Actives, getting their roof racks installed.

I’ll be honest with you, I initially had grand ideas of fitting them myself. It took about five minutes at the workshop to realise that was never going to work.

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The fender flares are a reasonably simple kit, with all the required clips, adhesives and Torx screws supplied in the box. Even the diagrams on the instructions were reminiscent of old Tamiya RC car builds, but the actual installation process, while not requiring any permanent modifications to the car, is better done with all the right tools close to hand.

Case in point, to even get the Colorado on the hoist required the removal of the side steps.

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These off, and the car in the air, we removed all four wheels to replace the standard Bridgestone Dueller highway-bias tyres with some Goodyear Wrangler all terrains. These are an optional fit from Holden, and give the car just a little bit more of an aggressive face for off-road work.

They are the same size as the Bridgestones though. Some larger (wider), mud-terrain tyres might have to wait for the Christmas list.

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Taller tyres will help our ride-height on tougher trails, as with the car off the ground, plenty of scrapes were noticeable on the front bash plate and subframe mounts. There is a heavy duty underbody protection kit available too… maybe next time.

Prepping the arches is a time-consuming and delicate process of forming the rubber seal, which has an adhesive backing to ensure a weatherproof fitment to the car, around the leading edges of the plastic flare.

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The mudflaps need to be taken off, and some minor trimming performed on both them and the lower guard liner to refit along with the wider profile flares, and while the installation requires care and attention, some screw holes and a bunch of clips, both rear flares were on quite quickly.

The front flares though are a generic size which are designed to fit a Colorado with, or without the bulbar.

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While the fender flares are essentially a ‘reversible’ modification, allowing the car to return to stock bodywork with minimum fuss, fitting a bulbar isn’t quite so victimless.

We noted a bin of ‘Colorado faces’, the trimmed lower front fascias, cut away to accommodate the bar mounting, a result of the no-turning-back approach. I’d recommend the nudge-bar if you have an aversion to cutting your nice, new car.

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With a bar in place, the front overhang of the pickup doesn’t extend as low as it does with the standard bumper, and the flare itself needs to be cut to fit.

The result isn’t a perfectly seamless one, with a clear gap between the end of the flare and start of the bar. We’d suggest fitting the flares before the bar to ensure a more complete finish, but even as it is, the black arch mouldings give the Z71 an even tougher look, the black and red elements contrasting nicely.

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The flares, aside from giving Mr Plow extra street cred, will protect the paint from scratchy trees on narrow trails, but will also accommodate the wider mud-tyres we mentioned.

We added the weather shields too, which attach with a series of clips, as one of the ‘features’ of the new Colorado, sees the front windows dropping about an inch when you open a door, so as to help equalise pressure when the doors are closed again.

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Cool in theory, but if it has been raining, each time the windows crack down a stream of water comes in. The weather shields, despite being a bit of an old-school accessory item, stop the water drops and even allow you to drive with the windows cracked in poor weather, for a bit of de-fogging airflow.

Handy! Our tip, make these a must-have on your Colorado.

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The end result, a completely unique and personalised 2017 Holden Colorado Z71. With everything warranted and supported by the dealer.

Installation of the flare kit is included in the price ($1330) and took about four hours from start to finish.

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The service team at Pattersons noted that while many customers had accessories fitted as part of a new vehicle delivery process, there were plenty of ‘after the fact’ installations scheduled for when a car was to be booked in for a service.

It’s worth saying too that our experience with the staff at the dealer was excellent, with everyone being very friendly and helpful in managing our job, plus putting up with Tom and myself hanging around to ask questions and take photos.

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So now the car is all dressed up, where should we go?

We’ve got a few ideas, but bottom line, in the next update, we wont just be Tony Plow from Leave it to Beaver, we’ll be Mr Plow who plows driveways… in the bush!


2017 Holden Colorado Z71
Price: from $57,190 with automatic transmission
Options: $7646 (Safari bar, LED driving lights, tub mat, cup holders, fender flares, tow pack and brake controller, weather shields, fender flares)
Engine: 2.8-litre four cylinder turbo diesel
Power: 147kW at 3600rpm
Torque: 500Nm at 2000rpm
Transmission: six-speed automatic, selectable four-wheel drive
Claimed fuel use: 8.7 litres per 100 kilometres
Weight: 2088 kg (tare mass – in standard trim)
Seating: five
Gross vehicle mass: 3150 kg
Country of origin: Thailand

ODO reading: 16,389 km
Travel since the last update: 2491km
Fuel consumption on trip: 10.3L/100km

Click the Photos tab above for more images by Tom Fraser






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