Sponsored by Holden
It’s something we’ve all wanted to do: pack up the family and hit the road – for a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Australia. Now while you can simply roll up a swag and camp under the stars, plenty of Australians are looking to caravans and mobile homes to make the adventure a more comfortable one.
To get a feel for life on the road, our home away from home is this 19-foot go-anywhere Lotus Freelander off-road caravan. It sleeps up to six people, and has all the comforts of home – including a kitchen, lounge and full size shower.
With gas and water on board, the Freelander weighs in at 2800kg – so we need something powerful to pull it.
The Holden Colorado 7 has a 147kW 2.8-litre duramax diesel, and with 500Nm of torque and a 3-tonne towing capacity, it will be perfect for towing the big caravan.
The Colorado 7 wagon was launched in late 2012 and received a number of updates for the 2015 model.
It does sound and feel a bit trucky, but the top spec LTZ version we have here has a full leather appointed interior – including heated seats in the front – and is a pretty comfy place to eat up lots of miles.
Holden’s MyLink touch screen can handle your phone and audio, plus with your smartphone connected, can utilize a number of internet based apps.
Pandora streaming music is great – Bringo navigation less so. In fact we’d actually recommend grabbing a 3rd party nav device like a TomTom – particularly for touring.
There’s plenty of storage with a centre console bin, twin golveboxes and a neat cubby on top of the dash. It is a bit (tap dash)– utilitarian – but it’s functional and at least it’s easy to keep clean.
There are 7-seats in the Colorado, and while this can be practical for spreading out passengers on a long trip, the boot isn’t very big – only 235-litres – with all seats up.
Folding the third row however gives us 878-litres, which includes some handy storage spaces on the side and under the floor – even a spot to keep the cargo blind.
There’s a 5-star ANCAP rating too.
Worth noting too that the Colorado 7 has a 3-year 100,000km warranty, and now comes with lifetime capped price servicing – which is actually available on every Holden ever sold – plus you’re welcome any of Holden’s 230 service centers around the country.
You can feel the weight of the big van out the back, but cruising as we are at 100km/h, the Colorado isn’t struggling and is in fact sitting on about 16L/100km.
Not bad considering it does 9.2 L/100 without the van at the same speed.
On the highway, even with a few light crosswinds, the Colorado is handing the towing really well. The 2015 model features improved sound deadening and you can really tell – in fact it is actually pretty quiet in here.
Vision out of the Colorado is pretty good, although we have added some touring mirrors to help with visibility, and given we are longer than a Melbourne Tram it is good to check we aren’t going to merge on top of someone.
Also good with the big load is the Colorado’s automatic grade braking. The car will use the engine and gearbox to govern speed on a steep downhill stretch – which can really help particularly with such a big van.
The Holden Colorado 7 is a proper off roader, with a 5-link live axle at the rear, teamed with double wishbones at the front for a great mix of on road comfort and off-road articulation.
The shift on the fly 4WD selector means that if the road conditions change, you can quickly change from 2 to 4 WD and back again. Something that has been handy on unsealed roads with the Caravan on the back.
We’ve covered plenty of miles with the van on the back and in this role – as a big country tow-tourer – the Colorado 7 really does shine.
While the it may not be as refined as some of it’s more urban-focused competitors, it is a proper off roader and that massive towing capacity is unmatched at this price by any of its seven-seat 4WD rivals.