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AIMS: Holden on Colorado countdown

Made in Australia: The third of three Colorado concepts was developed in Port Melbourne.

Pimped and pumped Colorado concept shows Holden is ready for truck wars

1 Jul 2011

HOLDEN has put its own youthful stamp on the latest concept that previews General Motors’ all-new global Colorado ute – one of three new models the red lion company is previewing at the 2011 Australian International Motor Show that opened in Melbourne today.

Young Holden designer Ben Last, 26, was unleashed on the new pick-up to create the concept – one of three show vehicles devised in unison internationally by GM to tease potential buyers ahead of the one-tonner’s global launch late this year.

The others have already been shown overseas – one at the Bangkok motor show in March and the other at a similar show two weeks ago in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The glammed-up, high-riding Aussie sports truck iteration, which was built at Holden’s Port Melbourne design centre and completed only days ahead of the show, is said to be close to the final production design of the Colorado that will be manufactured for Australia in Thailand and launched locally in the first quarter of 2012 to replace the eight-year-old current model.

The 4x4 crew-cab light truck – bigger than the existing Colorado – was revealed at the show alongside the all-new Barina light hatchback that is due in showrooms in October and the Paris motor show concept of the Holden-designed and manufactured Cruze hatchback that is set to go into production for Australia late this year.

All three models are part of what GM Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux calls the “Holden product renaissance” comprising 10 new models over two years.

13 center imageLeft: Holden designer Ben Last.

With the Barina Spark, Series II Cruze sedan and Series II Captiva already launched, the three new models revealed at the show bring the tally to six.

All three new models at the show have at least some Australian input, with the Cruze hatch designed in Melbourne by Martin Love and Lee Mitchell, the Barina drawn by Czech-born Holden designer Ondrej Koromhaz on assignment to GM’s studio in South Korea and the Colorado concept getting some extra flair from Mr Last, who joined Holden Design as a co-op student from Monash University in 2006.

While the final production Colorado was penned in Brazil, melding the hitherto separate American and Asian-focussed models into a single range, the vehicle is set to get at least some Australian input via Holden stylist Kirsty Lindsay, who was the colour and trim designer on the global project.

Unveiling the Colorado at the show, Mr Devereux said the new-generation Colorado represented Holden’s most significant play in the growing light commercial segment.

“Although this is a show vehicle, the fundamental design and proportions are true to form for the production version of the Colorado hitting Holden showrooms next year,” he said.

“As a show truck it’s designed to whet the appetite for another chapter in the Holden product renaissance – a series of new, world-class vehicles that are making people sit up and take notice of our new generation cars.

“Without doubt the new Colorado will be the biggest and toughest member of the Holden family – equally at home as a workhorse or active lifestyle vehicle.

“And as our centre-piece for the Melbourne show, it also demonstrates the capability of the Holden Design studio, which is an industry leader in stunning global show vehicles.” While the core design of the Colorado concept is said to be true to the production version, the bulging front mudguards have been accentuated and the bonnet, front fascia and tailgate were all produced by Holden Design for the show car.

The LED headlight and tail-light treatments are fanciful, as are the 20-inch alloy wheels shod with Cooper Zeon off-road tyres.

The headlights were among Holden-inspired show-car enhancements pinched by the designers of the Buenos Aires show vehicle, the Colorado Rally, which like the Holden version is a four-door, five-seat crew-cab 4x4.

Unique mirrors, a massive sports bar and hard tonneau cover are all unique to the Holden show vehicle, along with the stunning ‘Red Rock’ candy-apple red custom paint job – appropriate, as ‘colorado’ is Spanish for ‘colour red’.

Inside, among the most eye-catching features are illuminated appliqué patterns on the door trims, created by what Holden says is paper-thin electro-luminescent film that shines though laser-cut metal graphics.

The interior also has unique double-stitched leather trim in dark tones, including a dark blue leather-wrapped instrument panel, ‘Dark Pewter’ leather steering wheel and seats with ‘Light Titanium’ suede and contrasting red stitching.

Like the concept vehicles seen in Bangkok and Buenos Aires, the Holden Colorado concept is powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel that is expected to replace the existing Colorado’s current 3.0-litre diesel and will be “one of a number of engines that will be offered when it goes on sale next year”.

The Colorado is expected to hit the showrooms in three body styles – Single Cab, Crew Cab and Extra Cab. The latter was previewed by the Bangkok show’s Colorado Show Truck, displaying rear-hinged ‘suicide doors’ – in the Ford Ranger Super Cab and Mazda BT-50 Freestyle Cab fashion – to provide easier access to the rear of the cabin.

The Colorado will be part of a ute feast for show-goers, competing for the spotlight with the revitalised Toyota HiLux (due for local sales later this year), two examples of the Australian-developed Ford Ranger – the XLT and Wildtrak 4x4 – plus the world debut of the Mazda BT-50 Freestyle Cab.

All these vehicles, plus a new Isuzu D-Max that shares the Colorado’s new ladder-chassis platform and at least two new Chinese-built entries, are set to go head to head across the Australian market over the next 12 months.

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