Colorado concepts a pointer to incoming NZ fare?

A pair of Colorado-based design studies unveiled at a motor show in Thailand seem to pave the way for an impending update of current Holden fare.


LIKELIHOOD that a pair of Holden-crafted Chevrolet concept vehicles now on display at the Bangkok motor show are pointers to a Series II Colorado facelift set to hit New Zealand cannot be discussed.

That’s the word from Holden New Zealand, which says it cannot offer any additional comment about the four-wheel-drive Colorado Xtreme ute and Trailblazer Premier wagon duo, designed and built by Holden's GM Australia design centre.

Asked for New Zealand specific comment about the rigs, which are displayed with Chevrolet badging because that brand is represented on domestic sale in Thailand, Holden New Zealand marketing boss Marnie Samphier was apologetic.

“At this stage I can’t elaborate any further than what’s covered in the media release in relation to future product.”

The release referred to, mainly out of Holden Australia but quoting Holden New Zealand managing director Kristian Aqulina, says the editions "give customers a strong hint" at a future design direction but is no more specific.

However, chances are that what we are seeing concept form might translate, at least in part, to the update editions of the Colorado ute and Colorado Seven wagon that will very likely be on sale in a couple of months.

Two weeks ago in Melbourne, Aquilina and Holden Australia managing director and chairman Mark Bernhard both promised the impending facelift would provide significant changes to the conjoined models.

Aquilina has now described the show vehicles as being “an exciting exploration into the distinct character of each vehicle, created to gauge interest and receive invaluable feedback from customers.

“The Colorado Xtreme and Trailblazer Premier show vehicles were created with the intent of injecting excitement and passion into the critical light commercial and SUV segments, while reinforcing Holden and Chevrolet’s commitment to exciting design and listening to customer feedback.”

He said it was especially exciting that the GM Australia design team was able to lead this project, working in collaboration with GM Brazil and GM Thailand.

“We have a world class design team based in the southern hemisphere, who continually impress the world with stunning concepts.”

The concepts are explained in detail in today’s video. Australian media say they were crafted on behalf of GM International as part of a campaign to rev up Chevrolet’s light truck and SUV presence across Asia, particularly Thailand, where Toyota products reign supreme.

Australian and Thai journalists were allowed an embargoed preview of the part-built vehicles last month. They’d already been shipped out to Bangkok when New Zealand press went to the same top-secret Holden design and fabrication studio two weeks ago.

GM Australia Design director Richard Ferlazzo is reported as saying the Chevrolet vehicles are strictly show cars and not destined for production, but conceded that they provide a glimpse of the future design direction GM will with the models they are based upon.

Nonetheless, it is believed the sheetmetal forward of the A-pillars on both vehicles is representative of the upgraded Series II production models.

The Colorado range has been receiving an engineering refresh at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria, apparently for chassis tuning. Colorados were running at the facility on the day MotoringNetwork visited to drive the Spark small car.

Presented in a semi-matte orange, the Colorado Xtreme has an elevated ride height and has been meted heavy-duty accessories including a massive rear sports bar, wide all-terrain wheels, black wheelarch extenders and a new-look snorkel air intake for the 2.8-litre diesel engine.

It even has a colour-coded spade and high-lift jack in the cargo tub, along with an extra spare wheel.

While the Xtreme ute takes the rugged look, the Trailblazer concept heads in the other direction, as an upmarket urban luxury SUV “with something of a family feel”.

The exterior takes extra chrome for a premium look, while the interior features grey and brown surfaces. Instead of the usual wood, carbon-fibre or metallic strip to break up the expanse of plastic across the dash, the Trailblazer Premier has a natural-looking loose-weave material.

Mechanically, the vehicles are believed to be production standard, with 2.8-litre diesel powertrains taken from the Series II models.