Aussie touch to Colorado’s steering, ride and refinement

The full extent of Holden’s involvement with the soon-to-show updated Colorado ute has been spelled out.


EXPLANATION of Holden’s role in the development of the updated Colorado ute here in September has been spelled out.

Regardless that General Motors’ Brazil was designated as the global “home room” for the refreshed vehicle – hence why it has shown first in that country’s Chevrolet branding – it appears that the Australian branch was allowed significant involvement.

Information sent out by Holden’s media office in Melbourne today suggests the one-tonne truck co-developed the revised model.

A final development drive – dubbed the 100 per cent buy-off ride – that is integral to the sign-off process was also conducted in Australia, about eight months ago.

This tackled a variety of terrain and reportedly involved GM representatives from Brazil, Thailand, India, the United States and Europe, as well as Australia. There is no mention of Holden NZ being involved.

According to the information released today, Holden engineers zeroed in on the ute’s steering, suspension and refinement.

Their testing accumulated more than 100,000 kilometres on inner-city and suburban roads, rural country roads and four-wheel-drive tracks in state forests.

Holden engineers also participated in numerous development activities and drive events in Brazil in addition to completing critical local testing at the brand’s Lang Lang Proving Ground, about an hour from Melbourne city, and on public roads around Victoria. 

Why emphasis the Holden role? Probably because the brand is sensitive to public mis-perception about what it will become once it ceases making cars just over a year from now. It has previously expressed concern that a significant count of customers thing that Holden will simply become a badge affixed to imported vehicles here.

While it is true that, once the Port Elizabeth factory in Adelaide closes, all its vehicles will be sourced from outside of Australia. In addition to current vehicles coming out of Thailand (Colorado and the Colorado 7/Trailblazer) and South Korea (Spark, Barina, Captiva, Trax and Malibu) and those from Germany (current Astra, Cascada and Insignia) it will very likely also plunder from United States.

Regardless, Holden has made clear that it will still seek to tailor as many of those products as it can; with pre-release suspension tuning programmes on its own ground.

This will likely be reinforced when media gather in Brisbane on August 10-11. This is the Australian media event, but five New Zealand journalists are also attending. However, it seems likely the Kiwis aren’t going to benefit from the exercise to the same degree.

While it appears probable that Australian media will be advised of their local pricing, Holden NZ has insisted the comparable data for our market will not be disclosed then.

Rather, it appears that it will be held back for release on, or near to, the public NZ market on-sale date, September 10. Holden is also planning a national media event for Colorado in the week following its on-sale.

Holden’s lead development engineer for the Colorado update is Amelinda Watt, one of the talents behind the rorty exhaust for the Commodore SS-V Redline V8 sedan, the most powerful factory-made Commodore widely seen as a sign-off tribute to Commodore as an Aussie-made product. The name is set to continue, but affixed to the next generation of the Opel Insignia.

Watt says the truck was expressly refined for Australian driving conditions and customer requirements.

“We know customers like to drive their Colorado off-road or on unsealed roads, but we also know they spend a lot of time on the bitumen.

“We’ve focused on improving refinement and driveability with a range of chassis changes, including electric power steering as well as engine and transmission noise and vibration refinements.

“We’ve also had the benefit of international experience, as the Colorado program was a co-development project between GM Brazil, GM Thailand and Holden – a great example of the type of engineering work Holden will be responsible for in the future.”

With significant input and involvement from the outset of the 2017 Colorado programme, Holden engineers were able to drive change into the popular truck, based on Australian customer feedback and expectations.