Can Holden take the Colorado LX ute and turn it into a seven-seater for the family market? EFTM finds out.
Late last year EFTM took Holden’s 4X4 Dual Cab Chassis Colorado LX on a long and somewhat gruelling trek to northwest New South Wales. At the time we concluded that GM’s global ute was a highly commendable workhorse with excellent off road credentials.
On the flip side, when pitted against a highly-rated competition, the Colorado’s weaknesses were exposed.
Now two months after our week of bush-bashing, we find ourselves spending a much more sedate week in the Colorado 7, Holden’s return to the full-sized seven seater SUV category.
The 10 minute test-drive
The Colorado 7 is essentially a wagon backed version of the ute, sharing almost all of its architecture.
Our test vehicle was the top of the line LTZ model which is one of two specifications available, the other being the LT.
The basic interior which plagues all Colorado models is again present. Cheap, poorly aligned plastics are abundant. Many sections of the cabin are so flimsy they border on deplorable.
Throwing a Z on the end of LT earns you leather appointed seats which suspiciously look and feel like vinyl. There are also a few extra bits of chrome looking plastic sprinkled around and some average looking door trim highlights.
The automatic climate controls are presented via a round blue LCD control dial whose font style bears no resemblance to that used on the simplistic audio system just above it.
It’s quite a commanding view from behind the leather wrapped wheel. But the lofty perch is relentlessly pounded by the brash 2.8 L power plant which distributes significant levels of diesel clatter straight into the supposed family carrying cabin.
Steering the big seven-seater around town is hardly pleasant. It’s like a never-ending arm wrestle. One of the few changes to the wagon-backed version is the deletion of the rear leaf suspension found in the ute. A coil spring set up has been implemented but seems to have had little impact on handling.
Prepare to bounce, lurch, tilt and rock around corners like never before.
The Colorado 7 is also slightly longer then the ute, which translates into true 7 seater capability. The third row is the real deal and can accommodate medium sized occupants quite comfortably. There’s also effective roof-mounted air vents with independent controls.
Visually I think the only pleasing angle is from dead front on, with the gaping bold twin sectioned grill looks the goods. But the tray to wagon conversion on the back is hideous – not even the strongest beer goggles will help its appearance.
Under the hood
The 132kW 2.8L Duramax Turbo diesel is a proficient unit. When matched to the six-speed auto (manual is not available), 470Nm is produced at a reasonable 2000rpm. The auto also seems to have half a brain, appropriately shifting down on steep inclines.
Towing ability is excellent at 3000 braked kilograms, although that’s a step down from the class leading 3500kg for the ute equivalent.
EFTM was unable to fully explore the Colorado 7’s offroad capabilities, but after some pretty hefty mud slinging in the donor ute we know with a great deal of certainty the 7 will preform just as admirably.
However this is essentially the biggest problem with the Colorado range. They’re one trick ponies, epically good off road, inadequate on tar.
In terms of bells and whistles, the Colorado 7 features a must have 5-Star ANCAP rating with dual front & full length side (including third row) curtain airbags and ESP with Hill Descent Control.
Key standard features include “shift on the fly” 4WD, Bluetooth connectivity but with no direct streaming, USB and auxiliary ports, cruise control, rear park assist with reversing camera incorporated into the rear view mirror, multi-function steering wheel controls, 12 volt power outlets up front and rear cargo area, dual glove box, cup holders for every row, cargo blind, 60:40 2nd row split fold tumble seats with 50:50 split fold flat third row seats.
LTZ spec gets you additional bling including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED rear tail lights, halogen projector headlights with manual leveling, chrome fog light surrounds, folding exterior mirrors, 6-way electric adjustable drivers seat, 8-speaker stereo, electronic climate control and chrome interior door handles.
But the really good stuff like satellite navigation, rain sensing wipers and dusk sensing headlights are a no show.
As a car reviewer you get the chance to hit the roads in models not yet seen or familiar to the motoring public. It’s always interesting to witness the level of reaction each car receives. Some of the major head tuners have been the Hummer H3, Holden Volt and the Chrysler 300C.
The Colorado 7 didn’t turn a single head.
There were no longing stares filled with curiosity, no questions from the neighbours, and no random approaches at service stations.
The 7 lumbered about town completely anonymously. That’s a sad thing for a car-lover, especially for Holden fans.
The hip pocket
The only possible reason for purchasing a Holden Colorado 7 would be price. For such a large and serious off-roading SUV an entry price for the LT of $46,990 is very reasonable. The price creeps up to $50,490 for the LTZ with a 100,000km, 3 year warranty included for both models.
Comparatively, you can expect to fork out closer to $56k for a no frills Toyota GX Prado.
During our time with the Colorado 7 we managed to sip 10.1 litres of diesel per 100km, which involved mostly urban driving.
The lasting impression
The Holden Colorado barely makes a first impression let alone a lasting one. It’s not the kind of car you look forward to driving each day. Regretfully for Holden, it can even be described as a chore.
EFTM rubber stamp
Unfortunately the Colorado 7 just doesn’t cut the mustard. Discerning buyers in the hugely popular SUV market will baulk at the tractor like refinement and lack of creature comforts and quality expected from today’s modern offerings. We love the Colorado as a ute, but the 7 – not so much.