The Colorado 7 is the latest in a line of non tray back 4WD SUV vehicles that Holden have put forward to the buying public as a people mover. The Jackeroo and Frontera came close to doing the job, whilst the Astra Zafira had the opposite side covered in being a dedicated people mover (obviously not 4WD). With the Mitsubishi Challenger on stream, again, plus Mazda making massive inroads to the SUV market with the CX7 and CX9, plus Ford’s success with the Territory, Holden have needed a game changer and the Colorado 7 is their poker chip. Based, naturally, on the recently facelifted Colorado range, the 7 has a different roof and rear sheetmetal and a change to the interior, with roof mounted rear aircon and of course, the foldaway rear seats. The powerplant is the chattery and torquey 2.8L diesel, with 470 Newton metres available at around 2000 rpm and peak power of 132 kilowatts at just under 4000 rpm. It’s a real puller, chirping the rear tyres when launched hard but it’s still extravagantly noisy at anything other than foot off the pedal. On the freeway it lopes along at around 1700 rpm in six gear, with the auto responding rapidly to a poke of the go pedal. The stop pedal though….well…..there’s a real lack of stop when depressed and it’s akin to having two blocks of ice skating over each other, there really wasn’t a lot of urge to pull up.
Holden has a chequered history when it comes to 4WD style people movers; it’s been a bit like a sharpshooter that sneezes when the trigger is pulled, causing the target to be missed by that much (sorry Maxwell Smart) and so it is with the Colorado 7. First up, simply, having to duck the head EVERY time A Wheel Thing got in. The gap between the seat cushion and the door frame is just that little bit too close; at 176cm I’m not Garth Tander tall but having to bend down and know there was just a hair’s breadth was just not comfortable. Secondly, rear cargo space is non existent with the rear seats up; not entirely user friendly given the trayback style, naturally, allows for extended carrying space behind the second row of seats. The exterior profile hints at a somewhat seemingly compromised design, with a truncated rear unbalanced by the front. There’s plenty of scope at the rear to allow more room and a better balanced overall look. with the C pillar thick and chunky.
The interior betrays the working man origin, even in the LTZ tested for a week. The seating is comfortable without being spectacular, looks ok but not overly flash, the plastics are ok while the driver’s view is functional without being high tech. The speed and tacho are a parabolic shape; unusual but user friendly. The centre dash is concise and easy both read and use, with a large centre placed jog dial controlling the aircon temp. Buttons placed around the dial control fan speed, fresh/recycling etc and also feed through to a roof mounted control unit and vents for the rear seat passengers. The third row seats fold up thanks to the time proven pull strap method whilst the mid row roll and fold up.
On the road the Colorado 7 handles mostly pretty well although the steering is somewhat numb and lacks real feedback; the tyres fitted are a dual purpose style, bearing in mind the off road capabilities. They’re also a prickle in the foot, with hesitant handling in turns, a measure of squeal and understeer and a sometimes spongy ride….off road the 7 is up to the task, with high and low range 4WD plus Hill Descent control. There’s no issues with gravel and granite laden roads, ploughs through 12 inch deep puddles without thinking and will crawl up or down slopes of around 20 degrees with a reassuring level of surefootedness.
It’s not a pretty car to look at, unlike Ford’s Ranger nor is the onroad handling to the same level. The diesel is still too noisy and the duck of the head is irritating; however it’s roomy enough for seven if you’re not shopping, easy to use and drive and has good offroad credentials. Priced at around $50500.00 the Colorado 7 LTZ is pretty good, but not magnificent. For more info: http://www.holden.com.au/vehicles/colorado-7?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=%2Bholden%20%2Bcolorado%20%2B7&utm_campaign=Retention+Holden+Colorado+7+All-New