WHILE 2019 has been a yr of unhealthy information for Holden, one shining mild – the Colorado pick-up – has remained agency on the gross sales charts, and is now clearly the best-selling mannequin for the struggling lion model.
As has been extensively publicised, Holden’s gross sales downturn since its exit from native manufacturing has been stark, to the purpose the place it completed 12th for month-to-month gross sales in November with 2668 models bought, behind even luxurious model Mercedes-Benz with 3407 models.
Plenty of Holden’s fashions have struggled in 2019, together with the Astra hatch (4047 models, -54.1 per cent), Commodore massive automobile (5417, -37.four per cent) and Trax small SUV (4252, -18.2 per cent).
Gross sales of the Colorado 4×4 have dipped 2.1 per cent year-to-date, however with 14,398 gross sales, it’s by far and away the model’s finest vendor and is fourth within the extremely aggressive 4×4 pick-up section behind the Ford Ranger (33,905), Toyota HiLux (33,061) and Mitsubishi Triton (20,535), and forward of the Isuzu D-Max (10,382), Nissan Navara (9803) and Mazda BT-50 (7249).
The mechanically associated Trailblazer seven-seat massive SUV has additionally carried out strongly in 2019, with gross sales growing 7.zero per cent to 2596 models.
Regardless of the small year-on-year dip, the Colorado has retained its 9.three per cent section share, with the 4×4 pick-up market declining 2.9 per cent in 2019.
Mixed with the 4×2 Colorado, which has not fared as nicely with a 16.9 per cent gross sales slide to 1708 models, the general Colorado vary has achieved 16,106 gross sales, which is simply wanting 3 times the amount of Holden’s subsequent finest vendor, the Commodore.
Talking to GoAuto final week at a drive occasion in Thailand, Holden normal supervisor of communications Daniel Cotterill stated the explanation for the Colorado’s success was the results of its aggressive choices, in addition to the standalone high quality.
“We put it all the way down to the standard of the product, and the provides which were round it – you’ve seen new mannequin yr, you’ve seen some fairly sharp pricing, there’s a seven-year free scheduled servicing supply at the moment on supply till December 31,” he stated.
“I feel that and assist of as much as 200 Holden sellers across the nation play a pretty big think about sustaining that efficiency.
“It’s managed to carry its personal month-by-month and even develop among the time in a market that’s actually powerful, as everybody is aware of. To do this, in what I’d recommend is without doubt one of the best segments, is fairly good.”
Mr Cotterill added that Holden would love the Colorado crack the highest three within the section, however that was not a spotlight or a goal for the model.
“We expect it deserves to be prime three, but it surely’s an enormously aggressive section, so getting it there’s a problem,” he stated.
“(Place ambitions) is just not how we work, however we’re positively centered on enhancing its gross sales.”
In line with Holden, one other facet of the Colorado that has helped it promote is its driving traits and usefulness, with its limited-slip differential (LSD) on the rear axle aiding each on and off-road use, whereas different manufacturers go for a totally locking diff for his or her pick-ups.
“What we actually attempt to obtain with Colorado is extra functionality, extra of the time,” stated Mr Cotterill.
“So the entire package deal from driving dynamics, the best way it handles each on-road and off, its consolation, the mixture of limited-slip diff with very nicely calibrated traction management provides you extra functionality in conditions the place individuals truly use their Colorados relatively than the place they suppose they use them.”
The gross sales efficiency of the Colorado is spectacular contemplating its age, with the current-generation launched in mid 2012.
The most recent in various updates was utilized early this yr, with Colorado getting further commonplace tools and the elimination of the guide transmission on various variants.
Mr Cotterill confirmed there may be nonetheless life left within the Colorado but, with Holden set to announce particulars of one other Colorado replace within the new yr.
It stays unknown what a next-generation Colorado will appear like and whether or not it is going to be co-developed with one other firm, as the present Colorado shares a chassis with the Isuzu D-Max.
The subsequent-generation D-Max is confirmed to be sharing its underpinnings with Mazda and its BT-50, whereas Mitsubishi and Nissan will co-develop its next-gen ute, as will Ford and Volkswagen.
Regardless of the course Holden and father or mother firm Basic Motors determine to take with the next-generation Colorado, the present model will seemingly be in manufacturing for round a decade earlier than it’s changed.
When requested if Holden plans to affix the likes of Ford and Nissan by providing a hardcore, top-spec mannequin such because the Ranger Raptor or Navara N-Trek Warrior, Mr Cotterill indicated the accessory-enhanced Z71 Xtreme launched in September final yr would seemingly stay the flagship variant for the vary.
Like many different medium pick-ups such because the HiLux, Ranger, Triton and D-Max, the Colorado is in-built Thailand, with Basic Motors set to supply round 85,000 Colorados and 120,000 engines for distribution throughout 16 international locations by Asia/Pacific, the Center East and Uzbekistan.
With that in thoughts, GoAuto bought the possibility to pattern the Colorado and its Thai-spec Chevrolet Colorado sibling by the countryside of the south-east Asian nation to see the way it performs in a variety of various circumstances.
Travelling by the hilly north of the nation, the Colorado remained surprisingly poised in twisting mountain passes – terrain that often makes for uncomfortable journey in dual-cab pick-ups.
There isn’t any hiding the truth that it’s a heavy, high-riding pick-up, however the mixture of its steering, suspension calibration and LSD assist it stay secure round corners, with tyre squeal solely coming into the equation when the automobile was pushed onerous.
Journey consolation is sweet for a ute, that are stiffly sprung to deal with a payload within the rear. Thailand’s roads are a mixture of high quality freeway tarmac and pockmarked rural streets, and the Colorado stays compliant on each with out too many rattles coming by the cabin.
Our drive additionally took us up a steep filth observe to a scenic lookout within the Khao Kho district, with sharp gradients that required low-range four-wheel drive to be engaged.
Regardless of being outfitted with street tyres and operating full pressures, the Colorado made brief work of the difficult obstacles with barely a touch of wheel slip detected the entire journey up.
The absence of a totally locking rear differential could also be an issue in essentially the most excessive of off-roading situations, however for many pick-up patrons, the LSD is suitable for navigating most challenges.
The one facet of the Colorado that makes it actually really feel like a industrial car is its brake really feel, which is wood and missing suggestions. If Holden may give the brakes a extra pure and linear really feel, it could make the Colorado among the many most driveable choices within the pick-up section.
Powering all variants is a 2.Eight-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder Duramax engine, which when paired with the six-speed automated transmission (we didn’t drive the six-speed guide) places out 147kW at 3600rpm and 500Nm at 2000rpm, making it one of many extra highly effective four-cylinder engines within the section.
Efficiency from the Duramax engine is ample, with easy and pretty linear energy supply, whereas the 500Nm on supply ensures the Colorado can easily haul up any hill and attain freeway speeds very quickly.
Some noise intrusion is current from the diesel mill, nonetheless that is to be anticipated from pick-up which regularly have gruff and noisy engine notes.
On our drive we recorded a mixed gasoline consumption determine of Eight.6 litres per 100km, which is bang on the official combined-cycle determine.
One space of the Colorado that might use enchancment is its inside, with low-cost black plastic switchgear, onerous cabin plastics, a steering wheel that struggles to take a seat comfortably within the fingers and a fundamental infotainment system.
Sure, we all know pick-ups usually aren’t the final phrase in inside refinement, however the Colorado specifically has some enhancing to do.
Throughout our drive we additionally bought to pattern the Thai-market Chevrolet Colorado, which carries over lots of the options of the Holden model with some key variations.
The biggest distinction is the Chevy’s engine, which swaps out the two.Eight-litre unit for a smaller 2.5-litre mill that develops 132kW at 3600rpm and 440Nm at 2000rpm, additionally teamed to a six-speed auto.
Whereas the distinction in energy is noticeable when motoring up hills, for essentially the most half the smaller engine has the same driving character to the bigger Aussie-spec model.
We recorded a mixed gasoline consumption of Eight.5L/100km, which appears consultant of its barely smaller engine dimension.
If it weren’t for the truth that the two.5-litre is barely Euro4 compliant, it may make for a very good entry-level engine in Australia for 4×2 grades and even cheaper 4×4 variations that might compete with the value-focused Mitsubishi Triton.
The opposite noticeable distinction with the Chevy is the experience high quality, with the Thai model that includes noticeably stiffer springs on the rear.
When asking your self why the Chevy is sprung otherwise to its Aussie counterpart, it solely takes a fast look by any Thai village to see pick-ups loaded two metres excessive with hay bales or housing as much as six occupants within the rear to grasp that utes are used a bit otherwise in Thailand.
The lifetime of Australian utes is a stroll within the park in contrast with Thai pick-ups.
The significance of the Colorado can’t be understated for Holden. It sells almost 3 times extra models than its next-best vendor, and now types the spine of the corporate in its hardest monetary interval for the reason that firm was launched in 1948.
Does it have the makings of a model saviour? That is still to be seen, however with Australian patrons’ urge for food for pick-ups, the Colorado is Holden’s finest guess.