Car Reviews

2018 Holden Colorado Z71 Xtreme Review

Toby Hagon’s 2018 Holden Colorado Z71 Xtreme Review With Pricing, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Safety, Verdict And Score.

In a nutshell: A host of accessories added to the Holden Colorado Z71, the Xtreme is all about looking tough and better off-road capability.

2018 Holden Colorado Z71 Xtreme Specifications

Price $69,990 drive-away Warranty 5 years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 15,000km or 9 months Safety 5-star ANCAP Engine 2.8-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel Power 147kW at 3600rpm Torque 500Nm at 2000-2200rpm Transmission 6-speed auto Drive Part-time four-wheel drive Ground Clearance 215mm Angles 28 degrees approach, 22 degrees breakover, 22 degrees departure Towing 3500kg Towball Download 250kg GVM 3150kg GCM 6000kg Boot Space NA Spare Full-size Fuel Tank 76L Thirst 8.7L/100km

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Holden is keen to capitalise on increasing demand at the top end of the ute market and capture some of the interest in accessories that typically goes to aftermarket supplies once buyers have left the dealership. Hence the creation of the Colorado Z71 Xtreme, an assortment of accessories designed to add to its appeal – at a price. The Xtreme starts life as a Colorado Z71 but has various cosmetic and mechanical changes to better prepare it for rough road driving. We’ve previously covered off the Z71 in a PM review, so for this test we’ll be focusing on the changes with the Xtreme pack during our first drive in outback South Australia.

What’s in the range and how much does it cost?

As the name suggests, the Z71 Xtreme sits at the top of the Colorado pile. It adds a claimed $19,000 worth of accessories to the already generously-appointed Z71, replacing things such as its sailplane with an extended black sports bar and adding wheel arch flares, a bonnet bulge and some extra stickers to toughen the look.

But the Xtreme is more about capability than style, also incorporating a bunch of extras designed to take it further into the scrub more confidently. Key to that are Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain 18-inch tyres, complete with Kevlar reinforcement to better resist punctures. There are also unique bumpers front and rear, the back one getting neatly integrated steps into each corner. Up front the steel bar incorporates an LED light bar as well as a Warn winch. Those wanting to load up will appreciate the roof tray, too.

There’s also the tow kit (a trailer brake controller costs extra), recovery kit (including snatch strap) and badging, including Xtreme stickers behind each rear wheel.

It’s priced at $69,990 drive-away with an auto transmission, which makes it about $5000 more than the regular Z71. In isolation that looks respectable, but Holden is currently selling Colorado LTZs for $51,990 drive-away, bringing most of the goodness without the off-road accessories and bush bling. Considering you can add any of the Xtreme accessories to that pack – maybe the winch bar and off-road tyres, for example – it’s a big step up.

What’s the interior and practicality like?

Nothing has changed inside the cabin, which translates to a functional if not overly stylish machine. The main difference the driver will notice is the small black bulge on the bonnet, one of the many cosmetic additions to beef up the look.

The Colorado is among the more spacious of the current dual-cab crop in its back seats. There’s decent legroom and head room, ensuring reasonable comfort for families looking to hit the road.

Of course, utes are designed to carry and the Xtreme is no different. But you’ll be able to carry less than you would in other Colorados. The Z71’s 1007kg payload drops by 150kg to account for the weight of all the accessories. That reduces its load capacity to around 850kg, which drops once you add people and their luggage. There’s also the large roof tray for those who want to carry more or pack camping gear on the roof.

What are the controls and infotainment like?

The leather-clad front seats could do with more lateral support and the steering wheel lacks reach adjustment, but otherwise the driving position is good, presenting major controls on the steering wheel and with good-sized buttons in the centre stack.

There’s nothing innovative or flashy about the layout, but it works fine, the dials and knobs making for easy adjustment of audio and ventilation controls.

An 8.0-inch touchscreen incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, for easy smartphone connectivity – and the menus and buttons are easy to navigate around. All of which adds up to a car that ticks the boxes rather than sets any new benchmarks.

What’s the performance like?

The Colorado’s 2.8-litre engine has long been a grunty unit, with a useful 500Nm of torque on offer from as low as 2000rpm. Nothing has changed in that department, and even though the Xtreme adds 150kg to the weight – taking the overall mass to almost 2.3 tonnes – performance is largely unchanged. That amounts to solid mid-rev acceleration and a stout six-speed auto that shifts decisively and does a good job of harnessing the torque, locking the torque converter early for more direct drive.

2018 Holden Colorado Xtreme Review

Fuel use is still claimed at 8.7 litres per 100km according to the lab-derived testing – identical to a Z71 – although, clearly, the additional weight will lead to some extra slurping in the real world.

What’s it like on the road?

Our test drive took place from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta predominantly on dirt roads. That is, after all, what the Xtreme was designed for.

While we touched on the 110km/h-posted Stuart Highway briefly and cruised through Coober Pedy’s 50km/h streets, there was not enough in the way of bends to accurately asses what impact the all-terrain tyres would have on dynamics.

2018 Holden Colorado Xtreme Review

No complaints on those higher speed bitumen runs, though, the tougher Kevlar-reinforced construction of the Goodyear Wranglers not adversely impacting noise levels. The biggest issue on-road came from above in the form of the roof tray. The expansive rack is certainly practical but creates plenty of extra wind noise at speed.

Cruising at 100km/h makes for some whistling and roaring, something that’d grate over big kilometres; our recommendation would be to leave the roof rack at home if you’re not planning on using it.

Otherwise, the Colorado’s suspension is more than up for the task of dealing with rough roads. Engineers have stiffened the front springs to cope with the 65kg of weight added by the winch bar hanging off the nose. But the goal was to match the bump suppression of the regular Colorado, something that Xtreme nailed.

What’s it like off the road?

There’s a hint of James Bond with the latest addition to the Holden lineup, the Colorado Z71 Xtreme. A unique steel front bumper incorporates a 4.5-tonne Warn winch hidden behind the numberplate. To access it, flip the hinged numberplate up, something akin to superspy 007’s Aston Martin DB5.

The winch is a clever fitment, subtly integrating into the tough steel bar, which is smaller than a traditional bulbar but with additional protection for the radiator and headlights. The neat design and clever engineering makes it the highlight of the Xtreme pack.

2018 Holden Colorado Xtreme Review

As well as the clever semi-concealed location, engineers ensured the winch doesn’t impact the Colorado’s crash safety, ensuring airbags fire when required. The winch itself is a high quality Warn setup with a 30-metre nylon rope. As well as being able to tow the Colorado up vertical slopes, it will effortlessly drag other vehicles from a bog, too.

Of course, off-roading is typically about not getting bogged in the first place, and the Colorado does a good job of soldiering on.

That winch bar doesn’t impact the approach angle (the steel rear bar doesn’t change the departure angle, either) and if you attack things on an angle it’ll actually do a better job at keeping things out of the way. Engineers say the angled corners increase the approach angle on the corners by between 5 and 8 degrees, theoretically allowing more aggressive attacks.

 

2018 Holden Colorado Xtreme Review

While most of our driving was on higher speed gravel – the well sorted suspension dealing nicely with big washouts and corrugations – we also played around on some rocky and sandy hills. Engaging the part-time four-wheel drive system makes for great traction up sandy slopes, the traction control working to keep things moving.

The Colorado is one of the only utes not to get a locking rear differential, instead making do with a limited slip setup. It works fine for most off-roading, but previous experience suggests once things get really tricky it won’t go quite as far as some others.

Does it have a spare?

There’s a full-sized spare tucked under the tray and it’s wrapped in the same all-terrain rubber fitted to the car.

The tyres are also monitored by tyre pressure sensors, which display the real time pressure within the instrument cluster. There’s also a warning if you do happen to pick up a puncture, something that could prevent more serious tyre damage.

Can you tow with it?

Dual-cab utes are a favourite for towing and the Xtreme comes kitted out with the factory tow kit that allows braked loads of up to 3500kg. You’ll need to pay extra for an electronic brake controller, but the Xtreme is otherwise ready to tow. The diesel engine’s muscular torque delivery is also well suited to lugging a load, its accessible torque and well-sorted auto ready for the task.

What about ownership?

The Xtreme is covered by Holden’s five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. Crucially, so are all the accessories that come as part of the Xtreme pack. That’s a plus given many accessories bought in the aftermarket won’t have the same sort of coverage. As with other Colorados, servicing must be performed every nine months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.

What safety features does it have?

Safety was a big consideration when creating the Xtreme accessories.

Engineers used computer modelling to ensure the addition of things such as the steel front bar and winch would not impact the performance and firing of airbags, something that helps the car maintain its five-star ANCAP rating (the lack of auto braking means it would not get a five-star rating if retested today, one of the flaws with the ANCAP ratings).

2018 Holden Colorado Xtreme Review

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the infotainment and controls?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety?
Practical Motoring Says The Xtreme is a worthy range of accessories that adds some flair and ability to the top of the Holden Colorado lineup. The highlight is the winch bar that neatly integrates a high quality recovery tool behind the numberplate, all while not impacting crash safety. Throw in some cosmetic enhancements and other off-road hardware – including tougher all terrain tyres – and it adds to the appeal of the Colorado. But the Xtreme is not for those who want a good looking ute for the suburbs; there’s genuinely impressive hardware adding thousands to the price – so you may as well use it. 

Toby Hagon

Toby Hagon

From Porsches to LandCruisers, Toby Hagon loves all things cars and has been writing about them for more than 20 years. He loves the passion and people that help create one of the world's most innovative and interesting industries. As well as road testing and chasing news he more recently co-authored a book on Holden. These days he crosses the world covering the industry but still loves taking off on the Big Trip in Australia.