2020 Holden Colorado Z71 Review

2020 Holden Colorado Z71 Road Test Review

It’s not all gloom and doom at Holden because they have the Colorado ute, a good thing by anyone’s measure and more affordable than Ranger Wildtrack and Hilux Rogue/Rugged X. Offshoot Trailblazer SUV is also a good thing but too few know about it.

The Colorado Z71 was top dog Holden one tonner, now there’s the SportCat – out of HSV.

Other manufacturers are playing the same game offering a bunch of new, high priced “aspirational” models that are essentially the same except for a few add-ons.

Colorado improved dramatically a few years ago at the hands of Aussie engineers who ripped into the previously US/South American spec’ model changing the engine calibration and internals, transmission, suspension even the chassis bushes, that worked a miracle on Colorado.

They revamped it again last year adding a spray on tub liner to the higher grade models with the Z71 scoring underbody protection, a soft drop tailgate, revised wheel arch flares and heated front seats.

The payload moves to a bee’s whisker under 1.0-tonne and there’s a range of other detail changes.

The Z71 sells for $54,990 for the 6-speed manual, $2200 more for the 6-speed auto

Holden Colorado Z71


Looks like a dual cab ute to me. That means a fairly standard profile that’s practical and in this case easy on the eye with a strong face emphasised by large LED daytime running lights.

It has a powerful `nose’ in the middle of the mesh grille and in the Z71, extra body parts like wheel arches flares, side steps, roof rails, a sail plane sports bar and black body hardware and paint outs.

The effect is not half bad accentuating Colorado’s strong looks.

Rear styling is dominated by a large black bumper, large tail lights and a Z71 specific soft tonneau cover over the load tray.

It’s a big vehicle by any measure but ride height isn’t ridiculous making it relatively easy to get in. The small rear doors actually open wide enough for easy adult access into the back pew.

But I found the roofline a touch low which is probably down to the seat height being a touch too high.

Colorado’s looks are familiar as the vehicle has been around in this generation for quite a few years now. But Holden has done enough to pick out the “new” model and make it more desirable to a clientele spoilt for choice.

Holden Colorado Z71


Inside scores a mild tweak like the outside dominated by a large 7-inch centre control screen. The hard dash has a simple flat face design with a cluster of round dials under the centre screen for climate control and audio.

A secondary cluster of dials sits under that for various functions.

The effect is neat and functional and there’s minimal scrolling through menus to find what you want or to change a setting.

Phone hook-up is fast through Holden’s excellent MyLink system and the entire dash is well laid out with most controls in the middle.

Four large chrome vents are integrated into the dash.

In front of the driver is a conventional instrument pod with two large dials and secondaries around them. The wheel is multi-functional lacking reach adjustment.

Z71 score leather upholstery and a decent audio system with satnav hardwired into the infotainment system along with smart phone streaming.

Holden Colorado Z71


As the top of the range Holden ute, Z71 is generously equipped with handy features like;

  • Helical limited slip rear diff
  • Remote engine start
  • 3 x 12v outlets in the tub
  • Underbody protection
  • 18-inch alloys
  • Heated front seats
  • DuraGuard tub liner

Holden Colorado Z71

Drive and Engine

Plenty of power and torque comes from Colorado’s 2.8-litre, turbo diesel, four-cylinder engine rated at 147kW/500Nm in the auto. The manual has less torque.

It’s a VM Motori engine out of Italy and as such should give long and reliable service. They make millions of engines a year for numerous brands.

The 2.8 moves Colorado with plenty of verve straight off idle giving the one tonner quite a sporty feel.  At time audible, any noise from under the bonnet is muted and actually adds a feeling of strength to Z71.

Drive is by optional  6-speeed auto (in test vehicle) and this is the transmission you should get because it achieves superior torque and makes all work and leisure activities easier with minimal penalty at the bowser.

The test Z71 at times clocked 6.6-litres/100km when tooling along back country roads. Average was about 8.7 litres/100km.

Ride quality is excellent offering a firm but supple ride to smooth out rough roads. Some fourbie utes are too firm jolting you while others are too mushy. Not the Colorado thanks to those Holden engineers who calibrated the whole vehicle to suit Aussie conditions.

The auto is smooth and has a downshift function when slowing that’s really handy for towing taking pressure off the brakes.

You can even punt the Z71 on winding roads harder that you might expect.

With a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes the job I put it to was easy – hauling a “mere” 2.0 tonnes.

Colorado as a model is one of the better towing vehicles around thanks to the strong engine and well sorted suspension.

Holden Colorado Z71


Five stars but rather surprisingly, not the full gamut of advanced driver assist technology available elsewhere. It has some, like lane departure warning and forward collision alert but that’s about it. There is “lesser” safety stuff like tyre pressure monitor, reverse camera and front park assist but nothing really advanced.

I guess Colorado must be strong and safe to get 5-stars.

I like the trailer sway control and hill start assist for work-a-day driving.

Good Bits

  • Plenty of grunt from economical engine
  • Tows like a beauty
  • Affordable pricing

Not So Good Bits

  • Not enough advanced driver assist tech to stay with the competition
  • Low roof compromises access for taller passengers
  • Tow bar should be standard fit


I’d have one of these especially at a saving over direct competitors. Resale would be a bit of a worry compared with say a HiLux but in all other respects, the Colorado Z71 is an attractive package for work or play. Probably buy the cheaper LSX though with vinyl floor mats.

Holden Colorado Z71

Also look at

Facts and Figures: 2019 Holden Colorado Z71

  • Engine: 2.8L four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 147kW/500Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Origin: Thailand
  • Price: from $57,200 (auto) MLP*

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.

2020 Holden Colorado Z71


I’d have one of these especially at a saving over direct competitors. Resale would be a bit of a worry compared with say a HiLux but in all other respects, the Colorado Z71 is an attractive package for work or play. Probably buy the cheaper LSX though with vinyl floor mats.

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