THE conditions were treacherous. Waterways were rising fast with constant rain dumped courtesy of Cyclone Marcia.
While most hovered indoors away from the horrendous weather event we had a commitment 100-odd kilometres from home.
The high-riding Holden Colorado 7 sitting in our driveway offered some confidence approaching the journey, but even the traditionally mundane highway trek quickly became a challenge with copious amounts of standing water fed by unrelenting rainfall.
With a retail price of $50,990 the LTZ is the king of the Colorado range, and it proved motoring royalty up against some of the toughest conditions ever faced on bitumen.
Despite still having a reasonable amount of "plastic fantastic" finishes, the MY15 variants boast an improved look.
Glossy black features on the centre stack and doors, as well as a black colour scheme around the instruments, break up the grey palate which previously dominated. The LTZ has leather trim befitting its status as the range-topper.
It's still not benchmark setting in terms of lavishness, but the Colorado is a true workhorse beneath the skin.
Helping the Colorado's more upmarket feel is the colour touch-screen, the same one that we've seen in other models including the compact Trax, which is simple to navigate and looks modern.
During our longer journey the front pews did prove to be somewhat flat, and could do with some additional support to avoid the bum-numbing side effect.
It is an expansive cabin which makes easy work of accommodation for seven people. The third row can fit adults, but getting access can require some nimbleness and leg room is limited.
On the road
Meeting the challenge head-on, the Colorado never winced in the contest with Mother Nature.
We've sampled its abilities before on rocky mountainous tracks and deep soft sand, but the constant wind and water was testing all-comers on the highway. With passenger cars confined to a crawl, the Colorado maintained its composure at 100kmh.
The truck LTZ variants get a "comfort" rear suspension set-up, but that's not available with the SUV and to be fair, we didn't have too many complaints in that department.
Like many SUVS, it can feel unwieldy if you attack a bend too quickly, and it must remembered that this has true ability off the road so you can't attack corners with sports car-like expectations.
The 2.8-litre turbo-diesel gets the job done without much fanfare or pizzazz. It sounds agricultural at times with reasonable clatter, yet it always feels willing on inclines, on the highway and has no trouble around town.
It just won't please the greenies, with below-average scores for efficiency and pollution ratings which mean only 2.5 stars on the Federal Government's green vehicle guide.
What do you get?
Among the complimentary items are heated leather front seats, 17.7cm colour touch-screen with embedded apps and option for BringGo sat nav, Bluetooth phone and audio, auxiliary and USB port, climate controlled air con, and five-star safety with a rear view camera.
Holden has upped the ante by offering capped price servicing on all its cars…on every model built since 1948, in fact.
We managed to achieve fuel consumption of just over nine litres for every 100kmh which is consistent with the official figure.
With the third row folded, our four suitcases were dwarfed by the boot space. When those seats are needed it's simple to flick them in place.
Up front there are plenty of storage options, including a dual glovebox, as well as a small cubby for phones and MP3 players above the MyLink screen and a deep centre console.
Bottle holders are in each door. There are dual cup holders in the centre, pop-out cup holders on either side of the dash, and cup holders even in the third row.
Fitting the large SUV bill, the Colorado doesn't hide its frame. For added toughness, it looks better with a nudge bar and spotlights.
The Colorado 7 proved the perfect accomplice, never wavering in the face of tough conditions, transporting the whole family with skill.
What matters most
What we liked: Trusted and surefooted in tough conditions, space and seven-seat flexibility.
What we'd like to see: Better seat support, improved green credentials.
Warranty and servicing: Three years/100km warranty with one year roadside assist. Servicing is at 15,000km or nine month intervals. Capped price servicing covers the first four standard services for the first three years or 60,000km. The maximum price per scheduled service is $295 (first 3000km service is free).
Model: Holden Colorado 7 LTZ.
Details: Five-door four-wheel drive seven-seat large SUV.
Engine: 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel generating maximum power of 147kW @ 3600rpm and peak torque of 500Nm @ 2000rpm (440Nm @ 2000rpm for manual models).
Transmission: Six-speed automatic.
Towing capacity: 3.0 tonnes on SUV. Tow ball load 350kg.
Consumption: 9.2 litres/100km (combined average).
Bottom line plus on-roads: $50,990.
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