Brazilian beefcake our next Colorado

Going big on the smart stuff and affecting a Chevy look – and, potentially, nameplate - will help sell the freshened Colorado here around August.


PRIMARY revisions coming to the updated Colorado in both its one-tonne ute and seven-seater wagon formats will allow a more Americanised air that will surely elevate its standing, the brand believes.

In particular, an infotainment upgrade and opportunity to outfit the truck especially with a load of accessories previewed on the Colorado-based Xtreme concept recently displayed at one of Asia’s biggest motor shows are expected to enhance the models’ urban cowboy appeal.

Holden New Zealand’s general manager of marketing Marnie Samphier spoke directly to the styling revisions and infotainment changes when talking to Motoring Network.

She suggests the potential for owners being able to kit their utes out with the majority of add-ons that enlivened the appearance of the Xtreme, the orange vehicle here which - though badged as a Chevrolet for its debut at the Bangkok motor show - was designed by Holden Australia’s design studio, is particularly exciting.

It has been suggested that around 70 percent of the Xtreme’s accessories – including its safari bar, sports bar and alloy wheels – will reach the options’ list.

“That is one of the very exciting pieces of information for us … the ability to access some of those really great-looking bits.

“It is a great story because we know that ute buyers like to individualise and personalize their vehicles, so for us to be able to offer an extended range of accessories to enable them to do that is great.

“Some of these very strong visual cues (from the Xtreme) will take it (Colorado) into a more American truck territory. I think it will go down very well.”

That’s more of an imperative now that an increasing count of high-end doublecabs in particular are becoming SUV substitutes. The Ford Ranger Wildcat and Toyota Hilux SR5 have been front-runners in this trend and Holden is clearly keen to see its own rig, in most months the next-best seller, also benefit more.

Meeting the emergent recreational intent certainly appears to have directed an external styling revision that delivers a more street-smart appearance.

The styling revisions are now out in the open, having debuted on a Chevrolet-branded version of Colorado.

Holden has pointedly drawn attention to the S10 by sending out images of the Brazilian market model and also reminded that it is the work of their engineers and designers in Melbourne with some input from GM Thailand, where the model is built.

The images, reproduced here, clearly show new headlights with LED daytime running lights plus a split front grille that features chrome highlights. The vehicle shown is identified as a top specification version. It also has new wheels and chrome highlights around its side and beltline.

The rear and side profiles remain largely unchanged from the current Colorado, though clearly there has been so reworking of the shape to make it more aerodynamically efficient, given that Holden is suggesting a 12 per cent reduction in aerodynamic drag for the Brazilian market model.

It is probable everything about seen on the S10 – save, of course for the bow-tie badge –will transfer to the NZ-market editions, landing in the third quarter.

Holden New Zealand’s Managing Director, Kristian Aquilina, is among those assuring the S10 provides “a clear indication of where the Holden Colorado is heading.”

Holden has also delivered a lot of change in the cabin and also provided the latest MyLink infotainment system that runs Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, apparently to lessen criticism of the current environment being a bit too utilitarian.

In effecting impression that the line is heading in a more upmarket direction, there’s talk the wagon will have a name change, the current Colorado Seven moniker that has been used for four years being dropped for Trailblazer, a well-established Chevrolet name.

Samphier reckons the update to the latest MyLink infotainment system, which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and operates through an eight-inch touch screen, will also be well-received, though perhaps more with the emergent younger crowd of Colorado buyers than its traditional supporters.

“I think if you are talking about your traditional, rural and tradie type audience then, yes, perhaps the infotainment enhancements won’t be of such high interest.

“But having said that our research show that a lot of ute purchases are going to a younger buyer these days, under-30s come up very strongly in terms of a buyer segment, particularly with males.

 “For them I certainly think that the improvement in the entertainment systems will be big news of great interest.”

The new cabin includes soft-touch materials and fabrics that are made for comfort and durability, says Holden, while the seats feature new inserts with tailored stitching, adding to the refinement of the Colorado's interior. 

Holden is also citing that the new model has enjoyed a significant degree of input from Australian engineers to improve its refinement: A often-cited weakness when measured against Ranger, Hilux and the Volkswagen Amarok.

In comment out of Australia, Jeremy Tassone, Holden vehicle development manager, acknowledged “Colorado customers use the vehicle for different purposes depending on the market.

“Australian (and, assuredly, NZ) customers demand quality from their vehicle in every area, regardless of whether it’s being used as the weekday workhorse or for weekend surf trips.

“We’ve worked hard to make sure we have engineered greater refinement without losing any of Colorado’s tough characteristics, off-road capability and impressive towing capacity.”

Holden has suggested an improved suspension and steering system. It also cites improvements to noise, vibration and handling will mean that the Colorado should come closer to matching its competitive set.

There are no signaled changes to the brawny 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel that produces 147kW of power and 500Nm of torque.

Samphier says it is too early to say what impact the changes will have on pricing. Given– so a status quo or thereabouts might apply.

“We don’t know yet. We are still working through the pricing strategy at the moment and will announce that in the next couple of months.

“It’s obviously a very competitive segment. We have been very competitive to date and it is certainly a big part of our launch to ensure that we remain competitive.”