The Holden Rodeo has served 25 years hard labour here in NZ, but now a change in its business relationship with General Motors has seen Rodeo-maker Isuzu lasso back the famous name. It’s not pistols at dawn yet and Isuzu will continue to make the newly named Holden Colorado.
Rodeo can’t have been an American enough name for Holden, it had to cut straight to the vein and pick out an American State. Was Colorado chosen because it’s home to the rocky mountains and potential buyers may think of the ute as a peaky-engined tough nut capable of handling extreme conditions? Most likely, regardless of cheesy imagery the Colorado is the new sheriff in town, so let’s check what it’s packing.
Built on the tried and tested Rodeo platform the new Colorado has changes outside and in, but the spirit of its ancestor remains. What’s first noticed is an updated exterior design with reworked headlight units and a chunky front bumper giving the Colorado a resolute grimace. Body coloured wheel arches are a smart touch and a new look chrome-handled tailgate sits between vertically mounted rear lights. Overall the new angular styling at the front end and upgraded rear help the Colorado cast a staunch shadow.
The cabin has received more than a spit and polish with a new modernised dash layout comprising of a bulging centre console that performs all basic functions well and appears hard wearing. The same can’t be said for all the interior materials with some plastic coating already chipping away from one of the inside door surrounds on the tested vehicle.
Dials and gauges are typically no nonsense as is the vinyl flooring and thick-grip steering wheel. The seats have a nice-feeling cloth trim and provide solid support regardless of the Colorado’s direction. The driving position is relaxed and high with enough glass around the driver to give a commanding view of the road. The tested model was a crew cab and the back seat was an impressive size with enough room for 3 adult passengers and wide opening rear-doors to simplify their transition.
The state of Colorado leads America for fatal lightning strikes on people; the Colorado ute however isn’t as quick as a flash. The 4-cylinder, 3-litre turbo-diesel motor has 120kW of gallop with a generous 333Nm of torque. The engine has huge pulling power low down, but once the revs reach 3000rpm it’s time to change gear, as the acceleration tends to taper off. The state of Colorado also has the lowest rate of obesity in America; the Colorado diesel ute shares this low consumption, with achievable economy figures of 8.9l/100km. The four-speed auto transmission works hard through the gears in an attempt to extract performance but can be unresponsive and is no quick-draw when you push for full throttle.
Ride quality isn’t bad, and while the suspension is firm it’s lenient enough to ensure the Colorado stays straight even on rutted gravel roads. The suspension is naturally stiff at the rear to ensure a heavy load capability, this can result in the back bucking out slightly when turning tight corners unladen. This wasn’t a major issue but did highlight the Colorado’s lack of stability control. Steering has a welcome weight to it, and the hard-working power steering makes the vehicle easy to handle for drivers of any strength. When motorway cruising the Colorado goes about its work quietly and with total compliance.
Leave the tarmac and it becomes a very capable off-roader, with good ground clearance and push-button ability to shift into a low-range 4WD mode. A sump guard is included as standard, useful if the vehicle is going bush for a longer period. The Colorado is possibly one of the last new vehicles to still have drum brakes at the rear axle, but stopping power is still ample when you pull back the reins.
Towing is an important job for any ute and the Colorado has some muscle in pulling capacity. The 4×4 diesel model is capable of towing a 3000kg braked trailer or 750kg un-braked.
While the Colorado name is new, the vehicle will continue to sit on the previous Rodeo platform for a few years more. That’s ok as there are no serious flaws in its design or specification. The Colorado offers strong versatility and with the crew cab can easily be used as a family vehicle on weekends and an agricultural workhorse during the week. The upgraded styling like the name is a little foreign but still tough and sharp with the vehicle’s hardy credentials remaining intact. The price is fair if not ‘yee-haw’ fantastic but the Colorado’s heritage and multi-tasking nature make it well prepared for gunfights with competitors in the light-commercial marketplace.
Click through to the next page for specifications.
Price: from $42,190, tested vehicle $51,690
What we like:
- Capable off road
- Strong diesel motor
What we don’t like:
- No stability control
- Unresponsive Auto transmission
- Interior plastics
3.0 litre 4-cylinder Common Rail Intercooled; Turbo Diesel engine
4-speed automatic transmission (4×4 Crew Cab only)
Shift on the fly (4×4 only)
Limited Slip Differential
Front fog lamps
16-inch alloy wheels with alloy spare
6-speaker audio system with in-dash 6-disc CD player, MP3 compatibility and auxiliary input
4-way adjustable, deep-bolstered high quality cloth faced driver and front passenger seats
Leather wrap steering wheel and gear shift knob
Front airbags for driver and front passenger
ABS anti-lock braking system with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
Roof storage console with map reading lamp
Colour coded body and wheel arch mouldings
Carpet floor covering
Words and photos, Adam Mamo