Wowee, what a mule! These trucks have come a long way over the last few years. Every time I hop into my big, blue Collie, it is like taking the missus out spontaneously to a fancy restaurant: you know she sure will be impressed, you have a giant smile on your face, and she is sure to show you the love straight after. Guaranteed, every trip!
'The beast', as my grandmother likes to call it, has a burly stance so that when you pull up in the driveway it hugs both lanes. It's quite imposing, yet I can turn it straight into the supermarket carpark with ease and it doesn't look out of place.
I shopped nearly all 4x4s when looking to upgrade my VF Storm ute. Not because I needed a 4x4 as a white-collar worker, but I just always wanted one. I had my heart set on the Amarok, but jeez, servicing was expensive. The Navara just felt, well, not manly enough. The Triton was squeezy and felt low-rent inside. The Isuzu, now that was tough, but the tech was poor, which was a non-negotiable for me.
The BT-50 was well priced, but then I went for a drive and almost needed a chiropractor to fix my back, such was the jittery ride. HiLux, yeah, it's number one for a reason, but I didn't want something that every man and their dog owned, and well, the Ranger nailed all of my wants and needs on my list, except for the price. I couldn't justify the $10K difference to the Colorado, and the Ford dealer was so stubborn he wouldn't even negotiate floormats into a sale. So for what was effectively the same truck, the Collie was my winner and I haven't looked back.
My work colleagues have nicknamed it the 'Canyonero' and love to sing the song from The Simpsons, because, let's face it, the Colorado is roomy, smells like a steak and seats 35! It practically is 65 tonnes of American pride. (Though I don't recommend Squirl Squashing and Deer Whacking, as the paint is very thin and chips easily.)
It's planted on the tarmac and gives you an air of confidence to go anywhere. The steering is well weighted, and only feels floaty at high speeds. I opted for the auto, as my last three cars were all manual, and the extra power in the engine with the auto was no deal-breaker, but hey it's a bit of extra oomph.
It's reliable, ticking over 45,000km in 18 months and I'm yet to have an issue. Free servicing from Holden was a major bonus too, though Holden dealerships aren't the best in customer service.
The tech is great. I use Apple CarPlay every day. This truck is my mobile office, and the quality of the Bluetooth is the best I have experienced. The voice commands work promptly and the screen is simple to navigate, even on the fly.
The seats don't offer much support – they are flat and uncomfortable. The steering only has tilt and not reach, which is a pain too for a $50K truck, and the fact they didn't upgrade the steering wheel with the facelift was just wrong. It is most probably more ugly than the VH Commodore steering wheel, and that was terrible. The lane-departure warning also constantly beeps and drives me mad, but it's easy to flick off.
Remote start is a novelty, and I get a good laugh out of watching randoms at the supermarket look on in horror when the diesel rumbles and no-one is inside.
The Collie is the ultimate weekend warrior. From small 4WD trips, chucking the swag in and towing the boat up to the dams or throwing the mountain bike in for a quick downhill with the boys, nothing is too much to ask. And come Monday after a quick bath, most clients always comment on how impressive this truck looks, compared to most people in my industry who have made the German saloons their weapon of choice.
So I'm halfway through my car's life cycle before I turn it over, and would I buy another one? Well, the answer is yes. Let's just hope Holden designs a nicer steering wheel and maybe adds some comfy seats, though the SportsCat+ may just have answered my calls.