With the glut of sporty utes on the market, is the Holden Colorado LTZ any different?
The Holden Colorado LTZ bridges the gap between the reasons for buying a ute. You could happily throw the kids and a few bikes in the back and still be able to save face driving up to the worksite.
But, come on, even though utes will still make up the majority of vehicles parked around a house build, more people are buying them as a lifestyle choice. Or perhaps that should be lifestyle statement?
The Colorado range gives you a mountain of choices, from a two-wheel-drive single cab with a flat deck, up to the sporty Z71. I took the LTZ version for a spin around the farm this week and it conquered most of the peaks attempted.
With any off-road test, tyres are always going to be a factor and the Holden Colorado had a safe pair of road tyres fitted, so I wasn't going to be over-confident - especially given the deluge of rain the Driven off-road track, in rural south Auckland, received during the test weekend.
Neither rain, nor a poor choice of rubber was going to stop the test, and as it turns out, it wasn't going to stop the Colorado LTZ, either.
Before I get too deep in the mud, what should you expect from the new Colorado? Inside there's a tonne of space and the back seat provides plenty of legroom for adult passengers.
One of Holden's new sales lines is "more tech than you'd expect". I would say there was about as much tech as I expected. All devices connect simply and the nav system is easy to navigate. Peak hour traffic delays are not taken into account - but I've yet to find an in-car system that does.
The tech that did impress was the bunch of safety features that came with the LTZ, in particular the Forward Collision Alert, which reveals itself as a red flashing light in the head-up display should it decide you are going to hit something in front of you.
The key fob can be used to start the car remotely, it has a lane-departure warning system and the sensitive parking assist is also particularly handy when driving a big truck like this.
If big is what you require, for reasons you would prefer to keep to yourself, then the Colorado range will tick that Freudian box for you. It's large, and you -- plus your passengers -- sit high for elevated views of the traffic around.
Previous Colorados were criticised for being a bit uncomfortable on the road. This one is an improvement, but it is still a bit wobbly at speed. All utes are terrible without a load in the back.
Sporty utes don't handle like sports cars. Try putting a dozen hay bales in the back instead of a $15,000 mountain bike or your groceries from Farro and you will see some improved handling.
It was too wet to sacrifice any hay during the wet weekend, but a load of rain-displaced topsoil proved not only that the Colorado is a workhorse, but that it is also stable on the road under load. To be fair, driving it on the road without a load is also comfortable-ish.
Off-road, even with those factory fitted "all terrain" tyres, I was impressed by the Colorado's performance.
When you have insufficient tyres, you need a more than sufficient transmission to put the right power to the right place ... at the right time.
Most off-road aficionados will scoff at all the technology that surrounds new 4x4s, and even worse if it's an automatic like the vehicle tested. Despite what the purists may say, the 4x4 tech on the Colorado was more than up to the task and it made it a whole lot easier, too.
It completed steep climbs with no wheel slip and the downhill braking assist feature gave a great sense of control when going back down. Thick mud required a bit more grunt to push through.
With a decent set of chunky tyres, you would be up for fun in this one; testament to a great set of running gear.
Competitively priced in the 60ks like other mid-ranged utes, the Holden Colorado LTZ competes with their performance, too.
The 2.8L turbo diesel engine offers plenty of power on and off the road, plus it matches the others' 3500kg towing power. The 18-inch alloys and plenty of add-on options make the Colorado a great choice for making a big statement.
HOLDEN COLORADO LTZ
PRICE FROM: $60,990
A big and good looking ute with plenty of bells and whistles
Does a good job driving off-road with on-road tyres
The windows automatically open 3cm when you open the door