Holden Colorado 7 review.
By Daniel DeGasperi | November 27th, 2012
Pros: An SUV capable of going off road; towing ability; spacious and practical with generous third row legroom; relatively fuel efficient
Cons: Poor cabin quality; engine refinement lacking; lifeless steering; lacks the refined driving manners of car-based SUVs
Our Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A decade after the demise of the Jackaroo, the Holden Colorado 7 arrives to (finally) fill mud-encrusted boots in the full-sized, seven-seat SUV segment.
Although competitors these days have a ‘relaxed’ view of off-roading, the Colorado 7 remains true to the roots of its long-buried predecessor. It is a proper bush basher, with a separate chassis, limited slip differential, and dual-range gearbox with switchable four-wheel-drive system (2WD, 4-High, 4-Low), all unsurprisingly borrowed from its Colorado ute sibling.
While the double wishbone front suspension is also shared, the wagon-backed version of the Holden Colorado replaces the rear leaf springs of the tray-backed variant with coil springs to control the live beam axle.
Available in two specification levels – the $46,990 LT, and $50,490 LTZ – utilising a single 132kW/470Nm 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder and six-speed automatic drivetrain, the Holden Colorado 7 will compete with the Mitsubishi Challenger and Nissan Pathfinder – old Jackaroo foes – rather than the Ford Territory and Toyota Kluger.
The entry LT gets 16-inch alloys, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, reversing camera and Bluetooth connectivity, while the flagship LTZ adds 18s, leather trim, single-zone climate control and eight-speaker audio.
According to Holden’s executive director of sales and marketing, Phillip Brook, the Colorado 7 will appeal to “grey nomads” and rural folk more than urban dwellers looking for a school-run chariot. Brook expects a “few hundred” sales per month; the Challenger has averaged 208 sales per month to October, compared with 227 Pathfinders.
Holden Colorado 7 First Drive
Holden has put a boot and two extra seats on its Colorado ute, but it still drives like a workhorse.
Does a ute with a boot and two more seats qualify as a suitable family SUV?
Looking ahead from the driver's seat of the new Colorado 7 it's hard to notice much difference immediately. The engine and gearbox are the same 2.8-litre turbo diesel and six-speed auto as in the Colorado, and it feels the same.
The engine is not significantly quieter or more refined, either, with a loud diesel drone infiltrating the cabin, but it does do a reasonable job hauling the big car along.
The standard auto is a pretty smooth unit and certainly makes the Colorado 7 a more family-friendly proposition.
There is only one major mechanical difference (at least under the skin) between the ute and the SUV Colorado, and that's the rear suspension. Instead of the leaf springs used in the ute, the 7 gets a multi-link live rear axle to make it more urban-friendly, but still capable of going off-road and towing 3000kg.
Based on our initial drive in and around Melbourne, it's fair to say the new suspension has improved the ride, but not enough to make it as comfortable as the class-leading soft-roaders.
The suspension tends to jitter over bumps and can take a long time to settle after a big bump.
The flipside of that rougher road-ride is the better capability off-road. Holden is pitching the Colorado 7 as a serious off-road machine to distance it from the existing, urban-focused Captiva 7. With standard equipment including four-wheel drive, low range, a limited slip differential and hill descent control, it certainly ticks some key off-roader boxes.
But the biggest change between the ute and the 7 is the interior, which now includes seven seats and a boot.
Colorado 7 - Short test
Craig Duff road tests and reviews the Holden Colorado 7 with specs, fuel economy and verdict.
Holden has finally gotten serious about the large SUV market. After years of watching its rivals migrate buyers out of big sedans and into even bigger off-roaders, the Red Lion has launched a proper four-wheel drive of its own.
The Colorado 7 is based on the Colorado pick-up, meaning a ladder-on-frame chassis and four-wheel drive with a transfer case for work far off the beaten track. So it’s tough.
A reversing camera with overlaid guidelines on the rear-view mirror is standard on both the LT and LTZ models, as is Bluetooth and USB connectivity and cruise control. A six-speaker stereo system is capable but not class-leading.
The LTZ picks up another pair of speakers, climate-control airconditioning and highlights like chrome accents and leather seat trim. The direct-injection turbodiesel engine is a robust performer without being the most refined donk in this field. It is matched to a six-speed auto - that’s an extra cog over its rivals - but uses marginally more fuel at a claimed 9.4 litres/100km.