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Bangkok show: Holden’s all-new heavy-duty SUV

Lucky number 7: The hardcore Chevrolet Trailblazer will debut as the Holden Colorado 7 in Australia by the end of this year.

Holden sets late-2012 launch for Colorado 7 as production Trailblazer breaks free

22 Mar 2012

GENERAL Motors has unveiled the production version of its forthcoming heavy-duty Colorado utility-based SUV in Thailand ahead of its Australian launch in the final quarter of this year.

Remaining faithful to the near-final version which premiered at the Dubai motor show last November, the wagon will be sold overseas as the Chevrolet Trailblazer but will be imported to Australia from GM’s Rayong plant in Thailand as the Holden Colorado 7, becoming the first hardcore 4WD from the lion brand since the Jackaroo’s demise in 2004.

The Brazilian-designed and Thai-developed seven-seat mid-sized wagon will appear at next week’s Bangkok motor show before launching in Thailand in June ahead of its international rollout, which Holden has now confirmed will take place at the end of 2012 – slightly ahead of the schedule it was anticipating last November.

That will make its arrival less than six months behind the new-generation Colorado utility, which is due mid-year after delays stemming from last year’s devastating floods in Thailand.

Holden will not disclose the final Australian line-up until closer to launch, but the Colorado 7 will be positioned against body-on-frame rivals such as the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, Nissan Pathfinder, Mitsubishi Challenger and, not least of all, a still-to-be-revealed twin-under-the-skin based on the related D-Max utility from Isuzu Ute Australia.

13 center imageFord is also developing a wagon based on the Australian-engineered Ranger, which will similarly be built in Thailand and sold here as a ‘go-anywhere’ SUV compared to more road-oriented offerings in the Territory and, in Holden’s case, the Captiva.

Powertrains confirmed for the Trailblazer/Colorado 7 include a ‘Duramax’ four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine in two displacements: 2.8-litre, developing 132kW and 470Nm (when paired with a six-speed automatic five-speed manual versions produce 440Nm) and 2.5-litre, which is good for 110kW and 350Nm.

GM says additional powertrains for specific markets will be announced later, but this all-diesel affair is the one Holden is bringing to Australia with the Colorado ute at launch and is likewise expected for the wagon.

The wagon will offer both 4x2 and 4x4 drivelines and was developed around two specification levels – the mid-level LT and range-topping LTZ.

Safety features include dynamic rear brake proportioning – said to be the first use of ‘rear drive brake’ in this segment – along with electronic stability and traction control, ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, hill descent control and ‘engine drag control’.

Despite its truck-like chassis which is said to offer “superior off-road capabilities”, GM claims the Colorado 7 was designed to offer “premium ride comfort and handling dynamics for urban and highway driving”.

The US auto giant also claims class-leading interior space – including in the third row – and describes its tumble and flat-fold seating arrangements as “intuitive”.

The second-row seats are split 60/40 and, using a single latch, will fold forward under gravity. They also recline and have integrated folding armrests with cup-holders.

The third row is split 50/50, offers storage from a centre console and, according to GM Brazil design director Matt Noone, “isn’t an afterthought ... (but) an authentic third row where people can sit comfortably for long trips”.

“Combine that with luxurious interior appointments and it is easy to see why the Trailblazer really is an all-purpose vehicle,” he said.

In announcing the Australian timetable for Colorado 7, Holden executive director of sales, marketing and aftersales John Elsworth pointed to the popularity of SUVs in Australia as ensuring the vehicle had a “ready-made fan base” at launch.

“Australians are buying more SUVs than ever before, and we’ve seen this demand reflected in the growing popularity of our Series II Captiva range,” he said.

“The Colorado 7 will be a perfect fit for customers looking for the increased packaging flexibility and lifestyle benefits of clever interior storage, seven seats and rugged off-road performance.

“Developed to deliver everything Australians could want from a tough 4WD, with coil-sprung five-link rear suspension and a competitive three-tonne towing capacity the Colorado 7 will be an impressive addition to our SUV line-up.

“Its heavy-duty 4WD credentials and refined driving characteristics make it equally at home in the suburbs and off the beaten track.”

GM’s global vehicle line executive for mid-size trucks and SUVs, Brad Merkel, added: “Our objective when developing the Trailblazer was to achieve ride and handling dynamics that match, and in many cases exceed, those of similar-size crossover vehicles.

“The Trailblazer will cater to a wide range of driving styles and requirements. It is car-like responsive and premium in its ride quality while offering the off-road capability that our customers demand.

“That makes it the complete SUV package.”

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