Classic Kiwi road trip: Holden demonstrates Colorado and Trailblazer towing capabilities
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Just as no automotive brand is more Australian than Holden, no caravan brand is as dinky-di as Jayco. Put the two together, with Holden’s Colorado ute hooked up to Jayco’s ruggedly innovative new BaseStation twin-axle six-berth caravan, and you have two great accessories to enhance a Kiwi summer road trip.
Driven took the pair on an overnight tow to a beach north of Coromandel township. The Colorado and its seven-seat SUV sibling, the Trailblazer, offer some of the best caravan-towing platforms on the market. First, there’s the gross vehicle mass (GVM) rating of the Holdens. These relatively light vehicles are rated to carry lots — with vast reserves of gross vehicle mass that can be used for essentials such as people and payload.
When hooking up a 2.7-tonne caravan such as the BaseStation with its ginormous garage, it’s comforting to have such a generous GVM allowance when said caravan is capable of swallowing a quad-bike or whatever adult-sized toys are considered summer essentials.
For some utes, just the 270kg that the BaseStation places on the tow-ball, plus your partner and a couple of kids, would consume the maximum overall weight limit so there wouldn’t be any buffer zone left to cart luggage and supplies.
That means the vehicle is now borderline illegal. If things go pear-shaped, an insurance claim could be in doubt.
Then there’s the 2.8 Duramax, four-cylinder turbo-diesel of the Holden twins, and the way it gets into its 500Nm of driving force early in the rev range. The Duramax is an extremely able engine at towing speeds. The six-speed automatic gearbox is also well programmed to deliver the required grunt with urgency. This powertrain relishes hard work and feels relaxed. It’s also relatively frugal when beavering away with a mobile motel suite in tow.
Average fuel consumption when rigged up with the Jayco was 12.5l/100km, not bad given the Coromandel’s winding roads.
Unhooking the Colorado, and using it for a spot of tiki-touring gave a better insight to the fine programming of the ute’s electronics. According to Holden, the Colorado is the only ute on the market with a stability control system programmed specifically for Australasia’s unsealed roads.
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It’s also the only one with a limited-slip rear differential (LSD), an enhancer of mechanical grip when the ute is driving just the rear wheels. The LSD has given the Holden stability control programmers the freedom to allow a bit of slip before triggering intervention. On winding mountainous roads, this means the brakes get more of a rest as they’re not called upon as much to maintain stability.
The other electronic advantage of the Colorado is its power steering system, where lessons learned in the development of the now-departed VF Commodore have been passed on to the ute.
Torque sensors on the steering column iron out the effects of bumps on the front wheels.
Surface imperfections are communicated through the seat cushion; not through the steering wheel. This reduces driver fatigue.
So how much is this compelling Aussie concoction of truck-and-trailer? Colorados start at $39,990 and finish at $66,990. The softer-riding Trailblazer SUV is either $58,990 or $62,990 according to the equipment tier. To complete the recreational package, the Jayco BaseStation is $88,000.
Summer’s here, time to think about towing.