HSV Colorado priced just above Holden's

The SportsCat is prowling around Z71 territory – are they too close for comfort?

JUST $7000 separates the cheapest version of Holden Special Vehicles’ newest venture and the dearest edition of the Holden it is based on – though the gap widens considerably as soon as the performance specialist’s options are added in.

Expectation that HSV’s SportsCat utility might have a toe in the territory that is currently owned by the Holden Colorado in its ultimate Z71 format has been strengthened by announcement of pricing for the new model.

SportsCat is the specialist outfit’s only product until it starts to deliver Chevrolet Silverado trucks and Camaro coupes in right-hand-drive configuration.

The pricing strategy is similar to that when it was able to create versions of the Commodore when that car was built in Australia. During the last year of operation, HSV entry VF II-based Clubsport was in the same ballpark as the dearest factory V8 hotrod, the SS-V Redline.

It’s not quite as close with the Colorado scenario, but even so the potential of a customer for the Z71 Crew Cab giving the HSV spin-off a sniff has to be there. The Z71 costs $64,990 in manual form and $66,990 as an automatic.

The SportsCat has the same 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder with identical outputs, meaning 147kW of power and either 440Nm or 500Nm of torque in manual and automatic guise.

The entry SportsCat, a manual, is a $73,990 proposition. The auto has the same $2000 premium that Holden seeks. The SportsCat Plus, which upgrades on equipment, is going to cost $80,990 in manual format.

Buying in the full load of flash accessories that Holden does not give to Colorado buyers – the SupaShock suspension (which is SportsCat Plus only) at $4000, a $400 tub-liner, a roof rack ($715), sail plane deck enhancer (again, for the Plus only, and $1500), a load master ($875) and an eye bolt ($85) will push the HSV edition into a much higher place.

We could see a fully-decked Plus becoming almost a $90k truck. Surprisingly, the prestige paint hues of satin steel grey and mineral black are listed as options, but will not cost a cent if optioned.

If bought in standard trim, the SportsCat would still deliver significant specification differences to the Z71. HSV provisions a sports suspension, a 30mm wider wheel track, increased ride height, 18x10-inch wheels, bodykit, restyled front fascia, tubular side steps and red-stitch highlights throughout the interior. In pure straight-from-factory fitout, a ‘Plus’ also has AP Racing brakes and a rear de-coupling anti-roll bar. Neither are available to the Colorado.

HSV says its intention is for the SportsCat “to position the vehicle as the most advanced sports 4x4 on the market”.

Rivals include the 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre turbo-diesel Ford Ranger Wildtrak, which starts at $69,640 and the 130kW/450Nm 2.8-litre Toyota Hilux SR5, which costs from $57,990. Toyota has recently added a Cruiser edition of its one-tonner, with a new nose styling inspired by the North America market Tacoma, plus trim enhancements: This costs $67,790 in four-by-fopur format. Ford is also delivering, in the third quarter, a new Raptor flagship of its Ranger, but has yet to announce pricing. This has a twin turbo 2.0-litre diesel making 157kW and 500Nm.

HSV managing director Tim Jackson, who is based in Melbourne, says SportsCat will give customers “the flexibility to choose”.

“Given the breadth of styling, comfort and engineering enhancements, we’re confident the SportsCat range represents outstanding value,” he said.

“Our two-tier product strategy provides buyers with the flexibility to choose the model that best suits their work and lifestyle requirements.”

One imponderable: What if Holden feels compelled to create a Colorado to compete with the Raptor – surely that would leave it competing head-to-head with the HSV product?

Holden NZ’s reaction to that scenario is interesting. When approached for comment, it ventured that “at this point in time” the Z71 remains the top-of-the-range Colorado model.