QUICK DRIVE: Holden Colorado 7 LTZ

The big ol’ Holden Colorado 7 is one of those increasingly rare vehicles – a full-size SUV on a proper ladder frame chassis. Meaning that, like the Colorado ute it is based on, it is remarkably capable off the sealed stuff.

It also means that it is quite a way from being the best ON the sealed stuff. But compromises are a fact of life, so if you want something ridiculously capable off the road, but still affordable and lacking in electronic complexity, then this is the way you have to go…

On the outside the Colorado 7 still looks like a big, tough truck. Handsome and purposeful, like a proper 4WD should look, it leaves you in no doubt that it has a proper chassis under its tough looks and, by God, it will use it if it has to.

That said, the recent refresh added little in the way of change, meaning that the always-important driveway bragging rights don’t really work here and the neighbour won’t realise you have a new one unless you buy a different colour…

As always, the Colorado 7 does still look a bit awkward from some angles, particularly the rear, as it is pretty clear that the design is one that was ute first, SUV second.

Inside the refresh adds some nicer looking piano black accents to an otherwise cheap dash. Roomy and comfortable, the Colorado 7’s interior is boosted (in an aural sense) by Holden’s excellent MyLink infotainment system. Much better put together than it used to be, the interior also benefits from the improved sound insulation, which has made a massive difference.

However, the interior does still feel quite cheap and flimsy in a lot of places, and the new shiny black plastics are utter fingerprint magnets…

Under the bonnet, the strong and torquey engine is still an impressive, if agricultural beast. While it is impressively strong, it is also raucously coarse under load. Noise insulation improvements help make it seem more refined, however.

The transmission also feels very agricultural, particularly in low range, but it does a more than competent job.

On the road improvements to sound deadening makes a massive difference. The Colorado 7 is very soft and comfortable, even off the road. This also makes it VERY soft going around corners. In this sense it is very much a serious off-roader and a good on-road cruiser, not a “Sports” Utility Vehicle…

The improvements to the LTZ may well be very minor in the grand scheme of things, but they do all add up to something better than before. The LTZ is, after all, an old-school ladder chassis 4WD and that is where its true charms lie.

For something like that it is extremely comfortable and capable as a road-going vehicle. But it is also remarkably capable off the road and with minimal electronic trickery going on – the Holden Colorado 7 does it the old fashioned way.

Which is enough to appeal to the traditional off-roader, but it also lends the Holden Colorado 7 some old-fashioned charm and a rugged appeal. While you get the feeling that the hard, cheap plastics in the interior may well fall apart at any minute, the rest of the Colorado feels ridiculously reassuringly tough.

The dash board door may well fall off as you are going through a gnarly near-vertical mud track, but you WILL get up it!

Price: $66,990

Engine: 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel

Power/torque: 147kW/500Nm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

0-100km/h: n/a

Fuel consumption: 9.2L/100km

CO2 emissions: n/a

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