Holden Colorado ute Z71
Someone left their 1996 Chevrolet Silverado pickup in front of my house two years ago and it’s still there. But instead of complaining to the board, I prefer to go out every morning and mock it for the Z71 Baywatch style sports bodykit.
The truth is, I secretly wanted to restore it to its former glory and drive in it wearing only a pair of red shorts. Then, as if Holden was eavesdropping on my dream, a Z71 version of the Colorado ute appeared late last year. How Hoff can I resist?
Ignoring the aspirations of adolescence, the arrival of luxury four-wheel-drive drivers like the Z71 is like the gentleness of a once-working suburb that now has web designers. The Z71 follows the hots of other luxo ute off-road rivals such as Toyota’s HilLux SR5 for $ 57,990, Ford’s $ 60,990 Ranger Wildtrack and Nissan’s $ 48,990 Navara King Car ST-X.
The Colorado Z71 lives at the top of the Colorado ute range and at $ 54,990 (for the automatic transmission we tested), it’s only $ 1800 higher than the Colorado LTZ 4×4 crew-Cab beneath it. So should you put your money in?
Holden launched this generation Colorado ute in 2012, followed by a follow-up update in 2014, bringing comfort to the LTZ suspension and revised interior. The difference between Z71 and LTZ is mainly cosmetic. Z71 is covered with heated front leather, LTZ 18-inch alloys are covered in Arsenal Gray, splints, roof rails, dark chrome headlamps, glossy black paint for wing mirrors and tail handles, color door handles black and door wheels, plus Z71 Decals on the bonnet and tailgate.
It looks good in a kind of difficult future beach rescue vehicle.
And then there’s a sports bar with wing-like sails extending from the roof to the tray edges. They do nothing but bring a lot of Baywatch designs to the ute. It looks good in a kind of difficult future beach rescue vehicle.
But opening the door and beyond the leather seats, the interior is like LTZ and it starts to show its age. The front seats are flat and uncomfortable, the back is even more than that – although the legroom in the back is pretty good for a double cab. The instrument cluster looks very uncomfortable with small dials and oversized speedo and tacho needles. The seven-inch touch screen is becoming small by modern standards and the presentation and feel of the MylInk media system is starting to update.
Back to town
Sydney’s magnificent roads are a test for any car’s suspension, but the Z71 has gone beyond its depth even with the ‘comfortable suspension’. Rush hour traffic is hardly an enjoyable way to ride happily on poor roads and tend to rely heavily on corners like a sleepy dog sitting next to you on a train, and flat seats and this hard help.
Heavy and slow steering means the carp provide a good hand exercise especially with the large 12.7m circle. The reverse camera caused me to turn back into the sneaky bollards that could easily catch an ute driver.
Another point of frustration is the tiny speedo with its giant cartoon style needle that makes it impossible to read correctly – fortunately, there’s also a digital reading.
The MyLink media system works well – connecting my iPhone, streaming music and making calls with voice control is easy, but there’s no built-in satnav and you’ll have to use the very very Bringo navigation app. Well if you get the phone.
What is pleasing is the ability to transport large car parts in town in its 1484mm x 1534mm tray. The softer leaf springs LTZ / Z71 reduces the payload capacity from LT spec 1086kg to 825kg.
Like all dual cabs in Colorado, the Z71 has a five-star ANCAP crash rating. Has traction and stability control, ABS, EBD, hill hold function, trailer swaying and root control. Z71 has three top tether anchor points and three ISOFIX mounts.
On the road
The Z71 is a hero on all terrains thanks to its step-by-step chassis that provides flexibility and a variable-range four-wheel drive system. But with excellent off-road capability there can also be big compromises on road and handling as pointed out.
There is no mechanical or technical difference between the Z71 and LTZ on which it is based and this includes a 2.8-liter turbin engine with a capacity of 147kW / 500Nm under the bonnet. It is not the quietest diesel engine, but it is also not the biggest among its rivals. Our Z71 has a six-speed automatic gearbox that has done a smooth shifting job with a cautious approach when driving, we can meet the combined fuel figure declared as 8.9L / 100km.
Driving on the freeway proved hassle-free and comfortable, with the noise on the road quite small.