Packing for a Colorado Adventure


Which Colorado Variant is the best for Adventure?


Photo: Simon Watts

UPDATE 17.2.2020: The Holden brand will disappear from Australia after its owner, American automotive giant General Motors (GM), announced today that it will no longer make cars suitable for Australian roads. The iconic Holden brand will cease to exist in Australia at the end of this year. The company said it will continue to provide servicing and spare parts for at least a decade through its after-sales network.

Aussies love utes. We have a peculiar attraction to the idea of carrying shit around, be it farming equipment and a swag, cement from Bunnings or mountain bikes and camping equipment. Perhaps it appeals to our Aussie can-do outdoor lifestyle, or is it simply good marketing? Whatever the case, utes particularly 4×4 dual cab utes, or pick-ups in American parlance, take a disproportional amount of market share when compared other countries.

As mentioned in the Mazda BT-50 Boss review, Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger were our nation’s two best-selling new vehicles in 2019 with sales of 47,649 and 40,960, respectively, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industry. Let that sink in. That’s the top two in any class: luxury, small, people mover. Clearly, we are smitten with the ute.

To understand our national fascination and assess a contender in the crowded race, MF was invited to Thailand to drive the 2020 Holden Colorado. With sales of 17,472 for 2019, the Colorado is currently running 4th in the crowded 10-car race, behind Hilux, Ranger and Triton.

Why Thailand? Probably because that’s where Holden’s owner, GM Holden, a unit of U.S. carmaker General Motors Co, manufactures them. Holden was once manufactured in Oz and had a stellar run of success from the Fifties to the Eighties, dominating the market for nearly three decades. The caryards and plants employed thousands of people. Everyone had a Holden or knew some who did. The brand became interwoven with Australia’s history to the point that it was referenced in God-awful jingoistic pop songs.

For a generation, now in their Fifties and Sixties probably, Holden was as Aussie as, it must be said, football and meat pies. As Malcom Turnbull said when the Australian plant closed its doors three years ago, “Everyone has a Holden story,”

Photo: Simon Watts

That was then. This is now. We are 4wding in Thailand, up a ragged yet not too challenging track. I’m driving the Colorado LTZ variant and it climbs easily up a deeply rutted road. To me, it handled like a dream. Over the course of a few days and we were able to experience the range of variants of which there are many. With the option packs, the array can get bewildering, so I’ll get straight to the point: The one that most people gravitate to and most motoring sites  recommend is the LTZ. Price-wise, it’s about in the middle of the spread and represents the best value. The LTZ comes with sat nav, forward collision alert with head up warning, a sports bar, tyre pressure monitoring,18-inch alloys, fog lights and carpeted floors and remote engine start. All this is powered by a 2.8L Turbo Diesel.

Topping this off, it’s worth noting that Holden offers a variety of accessory packs for the Colorado. For those who’ll use the car mainly for work, there’s the Tradie Pack, which comes complete with roof tray and tub. Sticking to the theme, there’s the Farmer’s Pack made for men of the land and the Rig Pack, which puts towing ability and comfort a priority, while the Black Pack with is bling is aimed at the more narcissistic among us.

The top of the tree, though, is the Xtreme Pack and a winner hands down in my books. Pair the Xtreme’s roof tray, winch, suspension upgrades, light bar and AT tyres, with the grunt and features of LTZ, and you’d have a vehicle that would be the duck’s nuts for outdoor adventure lovers.

Find out more about the Colorado here.

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