Holden Colorado 7 versus Isuzu MU-X

Holden Colorado 7


I started looking at the Isuzu MU-X SUV, but based on some of the reposts I've seen online on your site [most notably this one >>] I will now be looking at the Holden Colorado 7. I will try to get a demo drive tomorrow. I have a 2003 Commodore Euipe which I want to trade in. It has done 280,000km and the registration runs out on 20 June, so I need to get another vehicle ASAP. This will be our first 4WD SUV and our first diesel.

We want to tow a sports car (V8) on a trailer, and also a caravan also (don't have the van yet so not sure about mass), so the 3000kg towing capacity on the Colorado 7 seems attractive. I have limited interest in off-road (4WD) use of the vehicle. I imagine we will keep the new vehicle for a long time.

I have a couple of questions:

  1. Is the Colorado 7 LT likely to be a reliable and trouble-free vehicle? (I see the reversing camera on the internal screen as a big advantage for backing the trailer and coupling it etc.)
  2. I cannot see the value in paying the extra money for an LTZ. Have I missed something here?
  3. Does the Duramax diesel engine and gearbox have a reliable reputation? I notice it uses a timing belt rather than a chain which I guess is better for noise.
  4. Has the Colorado been selling well or are people overlooking it?
  5. Are there any redeeming features for the Isuzu MU-X range in my context?


Just to background you on the performance issues relating to the Isuzu: The Isuzu MU-X and the Holden Colorado 7 are built on the same platform. This means they share fundamental architecture, major body panels, glazing, etc. The powertrains are not the same. The Holden has a 2.8-litre turbocharged diesel with significantly higher outputs than the 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel in the Isuzu MU-X.

Adding insult to injury, and serving only to highlight the performance deficiencies in the Isuzu MU-X engine, that vehicle has only a five-speed automatic transmission while the Holden Colorado 7 has a six-speed auto. 

If you check out the graph to the right, you'll see the torque output on the Holden Colorado 7 on top (in yellow) and the torque output of the Isuzu MU-X below in blue. The area between the two curves is the performance you miss out on if you purchase the Isuzu. (Isuzu afficionadoes hate this - mainly because it is true.) Buying the MU-X is like buying a five-year-old computer, in terms of the powertrain

Torque: Colorado 7 -Vs- MU-X

In answer to your specific questions:

  1. Reliability: All vehilces are a roll of the dice to some extent. Holden doesn’t have a great reputation for reliability. I think the VM Motori engine in the Colorado is reasonably good. The reversing camera is a good idea for trailer coupling.
  2. Colorado 7 LT Vs LTZ - they’re the same fundamental vehicle. You can directly compare the models here and decide if the additional cost represents good value to you on this page of Holden's website >>.
  3. Timing belt: Your reverse-engineering of chain v belt is, in my view as an engineer, typically male but overly simplistic. History shows us there are good and bad examples of both in all contexts (noise being one, reliability being another). That VM Motori engine is used widely in other automotive applications. It seems not to have a bad reputation.
  4. Sales: I don’t know how this is relevant to purchasing one but … Holden Colorado 7 is not a terribly big seller in SUVs. People prefer non-ute-based SUVs because they ride better, are cheaper and offer more features. Most people don’t tow three tonnes, ever, and there are inevitable trade-offs in vehicles that do. (They're not as refines or car-like.) That’s probably the main reason. Figures aren’t easily accessible available for popularity of vehicles for three-tonne tow applications, but if they were, Holden Colorado 7 would be reasonably popular. The options are: 4WD ute, Holden Colorado 7, Isuzu MU-X or hardcore 4WD wagon.
  5. Isuzu MU-X and Holden Colorado 7 are the same except for minor styling differences and MU-X’s outdated and under-done powertrain. Serious power/torque deficit everywhere in comparison to a Colorado 7, noted above.

You didn’t ask me this but … you could buy a Mitsubishi Pajero. It’s a tried and proven, if dated, design. Big advantages: non ute-based platform is much more civilised when not towing and un-lockable centre diff means you can use low range on a high-traction surface (centre diff unlocked) which is ideal for low-speed trailer manoeuvering without stressing the drivetrain. It's also got a higher gross combination mass and payload capacity than the other two.

The basics on towing and load limits for SUVs and utes >>

Holden Colorado 7

Holden Colorado 7

Safety: five-star
Manufactured: Thailand
Warranty: 3 yr/100,000 km
Service interval: 9 mths / 15,000 km
Seats: seven
Drive: 4WD (2H, 4H, 4L)
Engine: 2.8-litre diesel 4 cyl
Power: 147 kW @ 3600 rpm
Torque: 500 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Fuel: diesel
Injection: direct
Economy: 9.2 L/100 km
Trans: 6 sp auto
Length: 4.878 m
Width: 1.902 m
Height: 1.845 m
Kerb weight: 2210 kg
Towing: 3000 kg
GVM: 2820 kg

Payload: 615 kg
GCM: 5700 kg
Tyres: 265/60 on 18-inch alloy (LTZ)

Isuzu MU-X

Isuzu MU-X

Safety: five-star
Manufactured: Thailand
Warranty: 5 yr/130,000 km
Service interval: 6 mths / 10,000 km
Seats: seven
Drive: 4WD (2H, 4H, 4L)
Engine: 3.0-litre diesel 4 cyl
Power: 130 kW @ 3600 rpm
Torque: 380 Nm @ 1800-2800 rpm
Fuel: diesel
Injection: direct
Economy: 8.3 L/100 km
Trans: 5 sp auto
Length: 4.825 m
Width: 1.860 m
Height: 1.860 m
Tare weight: 2060 kg
Towing: 3000 kg
GVM: 2750 kg

Payload: - kg
GCM: 5750 kg
Tyres: 255/65 on 17-inch alloy (LS-T)

Mitsubishi Pajero

Mitsubishi Pajero

Safety: five-star
Manufactured: Japan
Warranty: 5 yr/100,000 km
Service interval: 12 mths / 15,000 km
Seats: seven
Drive: 4WD (2H, 4H, 4L)
Engine: 3.2-litre diesel 4 cyl
Power: 147 kW @ 3800 rpm
Torque: 441 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Fuel: diesel
Injection: direct
Economy: 9.0 L/100 km
Trans: 5 sp auto
Length: 4.900 m
Width: 1.875 m
Height: 1.900 m
Kerb weight: 2255 kg
Towing: 3000 kg
GVM: 3030 kg

Payload: 775 kg
GCM: 6030 kg
Tyres: 265/60 on 18-inch alloy (GLX)