Review: 2018 HSV Colorado SportsCat

Posted by Motorama in Vehicle Reviews


  • ​Premium leather interior
  • Suspension upgrades
  • Muscular and aggressive looks that stand out


  • No engine upgrade
  • Could use some more options
  • Not the most refined

The Holden Colorado is one of Australia’s most popular utes and the brands best seller. No wonder that their Special Vehicles department would eventually get their hands on it and give it a performance treatment. In a subtle way inside, while going all-out on the exterior, they left the engine untouched, but make up for it by improving the handling. A workhorse disguised as a showpiece.

Initial Impression

It’s the HSV badge you’ll notice first when walking up to the Colorado SportsCat. Most will be used to seeing them on low sitting Clubsports or Maloos, but this time a lifted ute stares you in the face. Next to the upgraded ride height and wider stance, it’s obviously the ‘bonnet bulge’, wheel arch fender flares and modified grille that make this ‘hot ute’ stand apart from the ‘ordinary’ Colorado. It’s more muscular, aggressive and especially when fitted with the optional sail plane definitely looks the part. Add to that 18-inch 6 spoke alloys and your picture of true HSV ute is complete.


With the Colorado’s engine being a solid performer HSV didn’t feel the need to make any adjustments when fitting it to the SportsCat – it remains the same 4-cylinder 2.8-litre turbo diesel putting out 147kW at 3600rpm and 500Nm of torque at 2000rpm. As one of the only ‘premium utes’ the SportsCat is available with a manual, but the best choice is to opt for the 6-speed automatic transmission. It might not be the most refined gearbox available, but it does bring the power to the wheels when necessary and won’t struggle with whatever you’re towing. The proven Colorado 4WD system stayed the same as well. Where HSV put it’s effort is underneath the car and especially while driving with speed on road or takes some twisty curves that shows.

The SportsCat is fitted with a specifically engineered rear de-coupling anti-roll bar and fitted with sport suspension, both noticeable from the moment you pull away. Better balance, less body roll and a more accurate response are the results, giving the SportsCat more of a sporty HSV feeling then any other adjustment. We luckily didn’t need to give the AP Racing Brake Package a run for their money, but can confirm they are up to the job.


Climb into the cab of the SportsCat and you’re greeted by a similar interior to the Colorado Z71. But once you sit down you right away notice the biggest difference: leather seats. Though not as supportive as you would expect in a sporty HSV, they definitely provide more support (due to larger bolsters) then your average ute seat. It’s the quality that makes all the difference, just like the with the leather on the steering wheel and the red highlight stitching. It doesn’t improve the styling of the wheel itself – hopelessly out-dated – but what you hold in your hands feels good. The fact that HSV went to the trouble to adorn the dash pad, door inserts, centre console cover and other parts with suede is admirable and helps boost the feeling of driving a ute of a different class.

The technology in the SportsCat is on par with it’s competitors.  The seats are electric and heated as expected and the SportsCat comes standard with the latest technologies like Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning, so there is no lack of safety features. The 8-inch infotainment screen does exactly what it needs to do and it fitted with everything you could need. The quality of the camera however, necessary when backing up this cat with a 13.6m kerb-to-kerb turning circle, could be a touch clearer.  Nice extras are the standard twin recovery points underneath the LED fog lights; a must when planning on taking the SportsCat off road.


Coming in at $60,790 with a manual, you’ll probably want to opt for the automatic transmission for $2000 more. To make full use of it’s potential and the works HSV has put into it though, you’ll have to opt for the SportsCat+ version, which sets you back $68,990 when fitted with the automatic gearbox as well.   If you opt for the sail pain at $1300 you will be just over the $70,000 mark, which will get you the top of the range looking sporty and beefed up version of the Holden Colorado.   The next level down is really the Z71 model, which comes in about 15,000 less..

Yet the price difference is as big as the ride itself. The SportsCat - which comes with 5 year / unlimited kilometers - warranty is a world on its own, excelling in luxury (for a ute) and handling. When compared on price to it’s main competitors – the Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Toyota HiLux SR5 – the standard SportsCat is well in the mix.  Compare the more expensive plus version to the Ford Ranger Raptor or the slighty cheaper Toyota HiLux Rugged X and you’ll notice the HSV SportsCat+ is right in the middle. Next to that it comes with 3-year/100,000 kilometre warranty and Capped Price Servicing. A unique machine amongst the common.


The HSV Colorado SportsCat is not only a very capable workhorse, it also holds its own off road and has an aggressive style that makes you want to be seen. It’s stylish hard tonneau emphasizes that, while the changes underneath the car make it a very pleasurable ride as well. Perhaps even the best ladder-frame ute out there. With a towing limit of 3500kg and a payload limit of one tonne there is little the SportsCat cannot transport in style, while at the same time looking rough. The world of utes is a competitive one, but the HSV manages to stick its neck out. Even if it’s only the badge you’re after, you won’t be disappointed.

The team at Motorama Holden (Australia’s #1 selling Colorado dealer) can help get you into the HSV Colorado SportsCat. To book a test drive contact the team at Motorama City Holden & HSV in Moorooka or Motorama Holden & HSV Springwood.

Any 4x4 purchased comes with complimentary membership to join the Motorama 4X4XMORE Club, which includes invites to tag-along tours to explore some of Queensland's most iconic 4x4 locations.

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Interested in a test drive? Motorama Holden & HSV is the place to be - so make sure you come and see the Motorama Holden & HSV team in Moorooka or Springwood.

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