Here at Caravan World, we always put vehicles through their paces when conducting a test, but it’s fair to say our review of the Holden Colorado 7 LTZ was about as extensive as they come. We took her across 4000km of blacktop from Melbourne to Tropical North Queensland (TNQ), plus a healthy dose of offroading on the Bloomfield Track and other lesser-known yet equally appealing tight bush tracks. We left no stone unturned aboard the cherry-coloured Colorado 7, which dutifully towed our 16ft, 1100kg Stabicraft aluminium plate boat during the month-long TNQ sojourn, and performed beautifully throughout.
Power outlets and the ability to easily connect your smartphone to cars is now mandatory and Holden has done well in this area with a pair of outlets in the traditional spot at the base of the dash and one in the rear cargo space for fridges, etc.
Technology-wise, the Colorado 7 in LTZ spec aims high and achieves. The 7in screen is easy to read and to use, with integration to phones and phone control made easy through both the screen and buttons on the steering wheel. The 7in screen handles the obligatory reversing camera and the LTZ comes with sensors to undermine excuses for hitting that fence. It works well, with guidelines projected onto the image making lining up the trailer’s coupling all too easy.
POWER AND TOWING
We encountered some very steep ascents on the Bloomfield Track and, while these are not as gnarly as they once were, thanks to considerable work done on the track in the form of concrete on the especially steep inclines, one’s vehicle still needs some grunt to make light work of it. On a particularly rocky incline we used low range and found the match with the auto was easygoing and featuring ratios low enough to hold crawling speeds off throttle. With the central diff locked, the excellent rear LSD and extra articulation of the 5-link rear made light work of the bank that would probably intimidate a few drivers.
Driving all the way to the other end of the country gave us the perfect chance to test economy in real world situations and we were impressed. Our Stabicraft weighed in around 1100kg, an easy load for the 7.
We tested the 7 towing a more moderate load – an N19R boat on trailer and loaded – weighing in around 2000kg. Our test route was 835.5km which consumed 103.13L of diesel giving 12.34L per 100km as a tow vehicle, incredibly close to the factory claimed 9.2L/100km – impressive.
The tow test did show one small gripe though, the spritely set gearing is great around town but when towing this moderate load at highway speeds, the gearbox felt uncertain for which gear to be in. It was easily dealt with by manually selecting the gear wanted but this is something unexpected of a new, 3000kg rated SUV.
A new LTZ spec Colorado 7 can be had for around $50,990 drive away, depending on options and dealer extras, which is a very, very reasonable amount for a proper 4WD with seven seats. And Holden is playing ball in the capped price servicing war that is currently in full swing. At time of writing, the MY14 Colorado Duramax engine needs servicing every 15,000km at $295 up until 90,000km, when it requires a more costly and comprehensive $887 service. After this service, the costs jump presumably to cover additional servicing of things like the cooling system, transmission and drivetrain.
If you were to consider the Colorado as a three-year, 105,000km proposition, your total servicing costs will be a reasonable $2795.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There are plenty of seven-seat SUVs and crossovers in the marketplace but very few with the separate chassis and body of the 7 or with the offroad credentials it boasts. Right now the 7 has the point of difference to its competitors, the technology and specifications to stand alone at a very reasonable price.
Remarkable fuel economy, great ride and a good interior make for a worthy consideration for anyone considering a modern heavy duty SUV on a budget and anyone looking for economical seven seat options with offroad credibility should contemplate the Colorado 7 a real option.
The full test appears in Caravan World #537, May 2015.