HOLDEN has given its Colorado a Brazilian for 2013, with the vehicle emerging bigger, tougher and more sophisticated than before – and a lot better-looking too.
Carefully designed to tread the fine balance between weekday workhorse and weekend warrior, it claims class-leading towing and serious 4WD capabilities, with spacious cabins and lots of safety and comfort features.
The new macho-faced Colorado was designed in Brazil, is built in Thailand and has undergone 2.5 million km of development in five continents.
Colorado comes in three body styles: single cab, space cab and crew cab, four spec levels in DX, LX, LT and LTZ, two and four-wheel drive, and power is by a new Duramax 2.5-litre turbo-diesel in the base DX single cab and a 2.8-litre version in the rest.
The 2.5 has 110kW and 350Nm and the 2.8 produces a lusty 132kW and 470nm.
The motor is built at GM’s new facility in Thailand and has the sophistication of common-rail injection and a variable geometry turbo.
All Colorados are diesel-powered, all can handle a one-tonne payload and the 2.8-litre models have a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.
Transmission is a five-speed manual or an optional six-speed auto.
Fuel economy is pretty impressive too: the 4x2 DX 2.5 returns 7.9 litres/100km and we had no trouble bettering the claimed 9.0 in a top-of-the-Wozza LTZ 4x2 auto on a 200km run in country Queensland, with the computer indicating 8.5 litres/100km.
All models get ABS with EBD and stability control, twin front and full-length curtain airbags, aircon, aux power outlets, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity.
LTZ has projector headlights, fog lights, an alloy sports bar, power seats, an eight-speaker audio system, 17-inch alloys, and leather and chrome highlights.
The dash has twin glove boxes in its vast black plastic surface, with instruments in a neat binnacle. Seating and visibility are plus factors.
These vehicles are frequently a family's one and only, and GM has opted to retain the basic leaf spring set-up at the back to handle loads.
The front has an independent suspension with double wishbones and coils, and the compromise made our stint in a DX pretty firm compared to the luxurious LTZ, but the difference appears due to the extra weight of the LTZ.
The 2.8 motor puts out 10 per cent more power and 40 per cent more torque than the earlier 3.0-litre and it gives the vehicle good, smooth performance.
The auto gearbox is a honey. Best too for offroad work.
Pricing starts at $26,990 for the 2WD 2.5 DX, goes to $51,990 for the LTZ 4x4 crew cab.
Verdict: A Brazilian with panache.