Picture this 2 teenagers laughing their butts off as we bump along a track mud flying in all directions and all over the car, we hit an unseen rut and are briefly airborne making the kids laugh more, before bouncing back to earth the car not skipping a beat and powering on through the slush.
That is the time I finally got what the Holden Colorado 7 LTZ was totally all about, this is rough tough 4wd vehicle and that’s how it’s meant to be used.
There are too many people in Australia who stupidly think proper 4wd vehicles should be doomed to the life of the family hack driven between home and school, not taken out of the city let alone taken off-road like they were intended to be used.
Holden may not like me saying this but please if you are thinking of buying a Holden Colorado 7 to only use to drive the family around the city then save your money and don’t do it. While your saving your money give yourself a huge upper cut while you’re at it, if you want a family car with room in the back buy a Commodore Sportwagon.
If you want a vehicle that’s tough and rugged that will take you, your family and all your gear off the beaten track and anywhere else you want to go in this wide brown land as well as tow your caravan then go down to your Holden Dealer now and have a look at the Colorado 7.
On the outside I will honestly it’s not completely the best looker, while it shares the same looking front end as the Colorado pickup which I don’t mind at all I think things went a little astray after the back doors to me the back windows don’t really match the lines of the car but in saying that none of the other 4wd’s running are ever going to win a beauty contest either. I do however like the colour Blue Mountain which i think really suits the Colorado 7.
The Colorado 7 LTZ is fairly well equiped with 18inch Alloys wrapped in Bridgestone Dueler H/T tyres, side steps, projector head lights, front fog lights, 8 speaker stereo, climate control air conditioning, LED tail lights, power fold mirrors, 6 way adjustment of front passenger seat and 6 way electric adjustment to the driver’s seat.
On the inside you get a functional if not a touch plain interior the leather seats are comfortable and supportive, the rear seats are comfortable and offer a decent amount of leg room and the 3rd row seats have a decent amount of leg room as well.
With 1830 litres of cargo space with the rear seats folded or 878 Litres with just the 3rd row seats folded the Colorado 7 has plenty of space for all the families gear on a long trip away away. The 3rd row seats fold flat but they don’t fold flush in the back so it doesn’t look neat as what it could be though.
What I did like and one thing I am a little critical of my Captiva not having is air conditioning vents for the rear and 3rd row seats which are in the roof where you get 2 decent sized vents for each row operated by a dial not the prettiest of installation’s but at least they are there and my kids appreciated them a lot.
Colorado 7 shares it’s instruments with it’s Colorado pickup stable mates, the twin gauges with the info screen in between don’t look too bad and are very reminiscent of the Chevy Camaro. Although in some light it’s wonderful to have the info screen there with a digital speedo as at times the dials are hard to read.
The dash is made up of a whole lot of hard plastics not so bad for a 4wd as it makes things easier to clean specially after a dusty off-road trip, although the cabin is well sealed off invariably you can’t stop the dust getting in after you open the doors.
One minus and it’s same the same as every other Colorado is the lack of reach adjustment on the steering, the height adjustment is there but some people might trouble finding a decent seating position without the reach adjustment.
The centre stack is the same as the Colorado pickup I reviewed last month and too me a little plain specially for a the top of the range model. The whole focus seems to be taken up by the big circular aircon control which is basically just there to adjust the temperature for the climate control. While I’m not a fan of the controls the air conditioning though works really well indeed.
The stereo system is a similar system to the other Colorado models but the sound seemed to be a touch better thanks to the 8 speakers, it has Bluetooth capability for your phone, and USB access viable a cable so you can plug-in a USB stick or iPod.
Under the bonnet the Colorado 7 has the same 2.8L Duramax that you see in the Colorado pickup packing 132kw and 470nm of torque the car is not wanting for power and adding to that is the 3000kg towing capacity which makes the Colorado 7 the perfect touring vehicle specially if you want to tow the caravan.
On the road the diesel engine performs wonderfully the 470nm that develops low in the rev range makes it extremely spry for a vehicle of its size.
When it came to climbing hills the Colorado 7 climbed the steepest hill and asked for more, when it came to going off-road the torque was more than enough to combat all conditions.
There is some diesel noise in the cabin but nothing more than you would hear from other 4wd’s and not once did it worry or annoy me during the week it just seemed normal to me.
The Colorado 7 has switchable 4wd on the fly so there’s no stopping when the going gets tough you just turn the selector knob in the console to either high or low range 4wd and keep going.
We decided to hit the open road and head out to the glow-worm cave 40 km out from the NSW city of Lithgow.
The Colorado 7 performed great on the freeway the diesel barely ticking over at highway speeds, I did a couple of hundred km and averaged 8.0L/100km which wasn’t bad I probably could have averaged better but all the road works across the Blue Mountains meant i was constantly slowing down for work zone’s then speeding back up to highway speeds only to repeat the process again a kilometre latter very annoying and I think damaging to fuel economy.
After hitting Lithgow and the mandatory stop at the pie shop for breakfast and it was off to the Glow Worm cave. Just after you head out of town the road turns to dirt and that’s where the Colorado 7’s prowess came to the fore.
It’s not that the road is extremely bad but at times it can get very corrugated and rough at times, also pock-marked with quite a few pot holes from the recent rains the Colorado 7 never felt out of step.
Half way along we discovered another track that mirrored the road which brings me back to where I started, and after a small prod from my kids (really it didn’t take much) we gave the track ago. A quick turn of the knob into 4wd and we were powering down the track which turned out to be a little muddy which was bonus for me as I really got to check out how well the Colorado 7 went.
But the even bigger bonus for me was seeing just how much fun my kids were having as we bounced in and out of mud holes and deep ruts. The only downside was when we got to the end of the track and had to get back onto the road again.
I will say after an enjoyable 4 km bush walk to the glow-worm cave the only thing we were thinking of on the way back was hitting the track again, mud, loose dirt, sand nothing looked like stopping the Colorado 7.
At that time I completely got what the Colorado 7 was all about this is not about driving around the city this car is all about going out of the city and off the paved roads.
The Colorado 7’s off-road prowess can be partly attributed to it’s very solid chassis construction which it shares with the Colorado pickup but that’s the only thing in common between the 2 as the Colorado 7’s chassis was engineered separately from pickup an you can tell as it rides better.
The rear suspension is a five link live axle which really makes a big difference the back-end really feels a lot more settled.
The Steering is a little firm but provides a lot of feed back specially off road which made it dead easy for me to pick my way through the slush and mud.
The Colorado 7 has a 5 Star ANCAP Safety rating something you have come to expect from Holden these days and has all the usual safety items you would expect including Driver and front passenger airbags, Full length side curtain airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control System (TCS), Descent Control System (DCS), rear park assist.
Regular readers will know one thing I am very critical of with a lot of vehicles these days is the lack of rear view camera’s thank fully the Colorado 7 is equipped with a rear view camera. I will say it did take at little getting use to though as the picture comes up on part of your rear view mirror, so the picture is a little small and off centre (I am use to my Captiva where the picture comes up on the screen in the middle of the dash). I did find at times that I was distracted by the reflections in the mirror but the camera work well and the Colorado 7 scored bonus points from me because of it.
The Colorado 7 is not perfect on the inside but it’s well equipped, & priced at $10000 cheaper than some of it’s competitors. The Colorado 7 is certainly very good value for money and that’s where i think Holden is on a winner .
Even though the price point alone makes it a very tantalising proposition for somebody wanting a new 4wd the fact it’s a very capable off road platform seals the deal for me.
If you’re looking for a big tough 4wd to take you & your family just about anywhere then you would be mad not to consider the Holden Colorado 7.
In fact If I was looking to buy a 4wd vehicle then the Colorado 7 would be at the top of my list for sure, in the beginning i wasn’t sure If I would like it but in the end it was hard to hand back to Holden given the amount of fun we had.
Big thanks to Holden for providing me with the Colorado 7 LTZ for the week to review.
For more information on the Holden Colorado 7 or Holden great range of vehicles please check out their website www.holden.com.au