While most SUVs are tending towards the ‘soft-roader’ approach, Holden’s Colorado 7 will take you off the beaten path, along with up to three tonnes of whatever you want to pull.
The seven-seater segment seems to be busting at the seams with options. We’ve recently had the Mistubishi Outlander and Mazda CX-9, and I swapped the Colorado for a Kia Sorento with seven pews. Who is having all these children? At least with the Colorado you have the ability to tow something of substantial proportions to carry the accoutrements and necessities that seven vehicle occupants will require, especially seeing as the boot space is tiny with the third row of seats up.
There are side steps and grab handles to help you get into the high cabin. The interior has a lot of room for middle-row passengers. The leg room is enormous and the Colorado has the width to allow three adults to travel without feeling like they’re cramped. The third row is predictably tighter and suitable for children or smaller adults. All three rows get their own air vents.
Interior storage is good with a deep central binnacle, dual glovebox and small upper dashboard storage compartment. With the rear seats up there is 235 litres of luggage room. Fold them down (which, unfortunately, doesn’t create a flat floor), and there’s 878l available.
Fold the second row of seats forwards and there’s 1830 litres. I noted in my review of the Holden Commodore SV6 Sportwagon that, despite it being a car, you get 2000 litres with all the seats folded, and that’s surprising given the perceived (and actual) size of the Colorado 7.
The driver can switch from 2WD to 4WD on the fly, and there’s a limited slip differential (LSD) plus proper low range gearbox which gives you even more confidence on slippery surfaces. The Colorado comes with Electronic Stability Control, anti-lock brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Traction Control System and Descent Control System (helps you down the hills).
The six-speed auto gearbox with Active Select copes with all 470Nm and 132kW supplied from the engine. Holden’s quoted fuel consumption is 9.4l/100km. With its 76-litre tank you could possibly get 700km on open road driving.
Reversing would be challenging without the rear-view mirror integrated reversing camera and reversing sensors.
The stereo has eight speakers. The sound was OK, but I couldn’t get Bluetooth to work with my iPhone 5. This could be operator error, but nowadays things like this should be easy.
It rides on 18-inch wheels and has high ride front independent double wishbone suspension for added ground clearance plus five-link live axle rear suspension (which is good for towing).
If you want to go down a model from the LTZ there is an LT available, but you’ll be stuck on 16-inch wheels with 12mm less ground clearance and you’ll miss out on the nicer elements like the LED tail lamps, projector headlamps, chrome exterior power folding mirrors and leather seats.
The Colorado 7 does not belie its ute origins and this makes its road manners less like a car and more like a ute. Braking for a corner requires you push the spongy brake pedal that has no feel. While you’re wondering whether the 2.1-tonne Colorado will shed enough speed you turn in and experience the typical lurching body roll you’d expect with a vehicle this high that’s based on a ladder chassis. Then you push the accelerator to gain momentum out of the corner and the 2.8-litre Duramax turbo diesel is quite coarse and noisy.
But, if you want that towing and off-road ability, you have to accept the compromises. We couldn’t do a back-to-back test with the CX-9, Outlander and Sorento. They are more comfortable and, in general, better appointed, but if I had to wade through a stream or tackle a muddy, rutted track, I would pick the Colorado every time. If I had a large boat to tow, the Colorado is going to own it because you’d have more launching options with its superior ground clearance and limited slip differential. The Colorado’s not really designed for city living; it’s going to find a better home in the country.
Price: LT: $62,900; LTZ: $66,900
- Superior towing ability
- Holds its own off-road
- Lots and lots of room for passengers
- Good interior storage
- Low range gearbox
- Average cabin quality
- Noisy engine
- Spongy brakes and handling
- Seats don’t fold flat into the floor
Words and photos: Darren Cottingham