The Holden Colorado holds a special place at Bankstown Sound being my personal car. A severely underrated wheeler and family suitable vehicle. From factory these things were great and looked even better! However, with strange choices made in terms of infotainment inclusions and the super frustrating Digitiser issues that plague the MyLink systems, as with all cars, it can sound and perform better.
For this series of full vehicle walkthroughs, I’ve decided to start with one that I know inside out and love dearly – the 2018 Holden Colorado RG Z71. Now this is my car and what we’re basing all the upgrades on, however, from 2008 through to 2020, we’ll cover them all so you’re not left wondering.
who's who in the zoo?
Coming off the back of the iconic Holden Rodeo, the move to the Colorado brand started in 2008 and merged into a partnership with Izuzu to co-manufacture the vehicles and release them as the Izuzu D-Max and the Holden Colorado. Aimed at different sectors of the market, the vehicles shared success and a cult following. Let’s run through the options and see the similarities and the differences.
The First Generation
In 2008, Holden released the Colorado, replacing the Holden Rodeo. The Colorado is available as either two- or four-wheel drive and in a range of body styles including single cab, space cab and crew cab.
Offered in a few trim levels ranging from base-level tradie vehicles, to the LTZ and LTZ+ that had an overwhelming focus on luxury and comfort. All trim levels packed 6.5-inch speakers.
Note: the first generation Colorado doesn't need a facia kit for a double din head unit, only for a single din to close the gap.
The Second Generation
The Holden Colorado was the second-generation non-U.S. spec Colorado was shown at the 2011 Bangkok Motor Show. It is available in single, space and crew cab. All trim levels were still fitted with 6.5-inch speakers.
A slightly more modernised and updated Colorado in many aspects, the infotainment system in this vehicle was a step up from previous models, however, in 2023, they haven't aged well and could do with an upgrade.
The Third Generation
The third-generation Holden Colorado was revealed at the 2011 Australian International Motor Show and went on sale in June 2012 in both Australia and New Zealand. This model is where the lines between it and it's twin the Izuzu D-Max start to blur. The Z71 trim-level is introduced into this generation.
In the Colorado range, this is where we start seeing the MyLink system being included. Earlier versions of the MyLink system were very basic and now days are in sore need of updating.
Again, offered in multiple trim levels, the speaker sizes where changed to packing 6x9-inch's in the front doors and 6.5-inch's in the rear doors (if fitted).
The Face-Lift Generation
The last, and arguably the greatest, generation of the Holden Colorado was launched in 2017 with vast interior and exterior upgrades to the look and tech.
This generation came with MyLink 7" and MyLink 8" as differences in their infotainment systems. Sticking with the previous RG model, the speaker size was 6x9-inch in the front doors, with dash mounted 3/4-inch tweeters in the higher trim levels, and 6.5-inch speakers in the rear.
What's needed to upgrade?
The process of upgrading or replacing a sound system in a car is pretty standard no matter what system, or what car you're looking at. Upgrading the sound system of your Holden Colorado is no different. The process is pretty simple, grab the parts your car requires, and the parts your upgrading to.
In a nutshell you'll need to get parts that replace, or remake the centre console of your vehicle to suit an aftermarket unit - these are called Facia Kits. You'll then need to get adaptors and harnesses that allow product specific and vehicle specific systems to work together - these are called Harnesses and Adaptors. Finally, you'll need an interface to keep your Steering Wheel Controls functional with the new unit being installed - these are called Steering Wheel Control Harnesses.
The only item required for success that's not featured here is the Aerpro Secondary Harness that is specific to the head unit you're planning on upgrading to. This harness is noted and available from the head unit's product page when buying.
Some of these parts are quite simple, and some... are not. This is reflected in their price, making the more complex parts and components somewhat expensive and are often an unforeseen cost of upgrading.
With some of the Holden Colorado's there are Total Installation Kits available that contain everything needed for a successful installation. These kits are quite helpful as they remove all guess-work from the process. These Total Installation Kits are often more expensive than single items... because they're one box that contains everything.
Vehicle specific requirements
To succeed in this step, you'll need to know exactly what Colorado you're going to be working on. The above run-down should be enough for you to work off. The system that was installed from factory is also important to note when it comes to those with MyLink.
Aerpro also have a bunch of products that aren't 'needed' but are helpful in installs, such as RJ45 pass-through plates, dual USB chargers etc. These products can be used in installations to truly make your Holden Colorado yours - but they're not required.
The First Generation
The original RC Colorado came with a double din stereo as standard, and no Steering Wheel Controls so there's no need for a facia kit, or Steering Wheel Control Harness.
With your RC Colorado, you'll only need the Aerpro Primary Harness and the Aerpro Secondary Harness specific to your head unit in order to make a head unit installation successful.
The Second Generation
The first round of the RG Holden Colorado becomes a little more complicated with the introduction of centre console moulding and steering wheel controls. However, Aerpro has come to the rescue by providing our first Total Installation Kits for the Colorado.
Even with the Total Installation Kit, you'll still need the Aerpro Secondary Harness for whatever head unit you're planning on upgrading to.
The Third Generation
The complexity continues to grow with generation three. The introduction of MyLink into the Holden Colorado range also introduces a range of complex new harnesses and adaptors to look out for.
With the increased abilities of the 2014-2016 RG, we now require some new and different parts to retain these functions with aftermarket upgrades.
The Face-Lift Generation
The final generation of Colorado is, as you could've guessed, the most complex. However, again, Aerpro has Total Installation Kits for you to make the whole process easier.
The range of additional accessories like USB ports and RJ45 ports for CB radio installation are still available for the final generation.
As we can see from the above, each generation has their own specific set of products with some items applying for all, like the Aerpro Primary Harness, the APP063. Where possible, if there is a Total Installation Kit available for your car, grab that. It makes the whole process much easier and error-free.
what unit to buy?
Now comes the fun part, selecting a head unit to upgrade to. This is where you can get even more lost in the process. Each manufacturer has their own strengths and weaknesses. Every level of the market has their own specific purpose and target in terms of level of quality, feature-set and expected performance.
There are a few buying principals to pay attention to at this part of the conversation - such as, screen size, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, price, sound processing, expandability and more.
Almost all double din units are either 6.8-inch or 7-inch in screen size, meaning thats the measurement of screen that can have an image on it. All double din units are physically 180mm wide and 100mm tall.
Anyone coming from a 2014 onward, you're running at least 7-inch already. Dropping down in size would be a step backward. Start thinking about tablet style units like the Sony XAV-AX8000, Sony XAV-AX8100, Pioneer DMH-ZF9350BT, Kenwood DMX9720XDS or the Nakamichi NA3625-WUX.
This is where you've really got to be honest with yourself. This is also going to be the area that'll tell you what budget you're going to be looking at.
The better the sound production of the unit, usually the more it's going to cost. A unit that has great sound production would be useful to those who are going to go on an upgrade speakers, add amps and perhaps a subwoofer into their cabin.
Whilst it's awesome to have every feature imaginable in your head unit, think, is it needed? Am I going to use it?
The more features your units packs, the more expensive it's going to be - remember that. A great example is DAB+ and its place in the world. From factory, the MyLink 8 in my Z71 had DAB+ and I never used it because it was crap. Service was terrible and I'd much rather listen to my music through Spotify via Apple CarPlay anyway. So grabbing an aftermarket unit with DAB+ would be a waste of my money...
As with everything in adult life, the cost of the thing has to be taken into consideration.
With the parts cost and installation fee, if you're running a face-lift Colorado, you're already into the project around $780 before we get to the head unit.
So to keep the whole thing under control, swinging for the fences might not be the right choice. Lead with your heart, but keep your head in the mix.
Undeniably powerful. Formidable cabin presence and just plain awesome. Kenwood has put their best foot forward with their 10.1-inch HD monster tablet unit, and I can tell you with 100% honesty, it’s amazing. Literally every feature you could possibly imagine, plus one or two tricks that are brand new to the Australian Market, the XDS has you covered.
Boy does this unit look at home in the Holden Colorado cabin! Given the expansive room given to us, a unit that hovers above your climate controls, and nestled between your AC vents is just what should’ve been installed from factory.
The feature-list of this unit reads like a Shakespearian tale of mammoth proportions. Wired and Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB+ radio, Bluetooth, USB, iDatalink Maestro, Certified High-Res Audio, HDMI and AV-in, multiple camera inputs including dedicated dash camera control and super-advanced sound production settings plus a physical volume knob!
Out of all the tablet units on the market, the Kenwood DMX9720XDS is the most expensive, but it is the most feature-rich and the best performing.
One of the more interesting features of the XDS is its compatibility with iDatalink’s Maestro vehicle integration. Once connected, the XDS has the power to integrate with your Holden Colorado’s ECU displaying all sorts of previously unseen information like 4WD specific yaw and compass data, climate controls, engine, and efficiency information to boot.
The Pioneer DMH-ZF9350BT is a game-changing infotainment system that is designed to elevate your driving experience to new heights. We’ve been around the block a few times with car audio and we’ve seen our fair share of car accessories and upgrades, but this unit stands out from the rest.
Firstly, the display is nothing short of impressive. The 9-inch screen offers crystal-clear visuals, making it easy to navigate through menus and maps. Plus, it’s highly responsive, so you can make quick and effortless adjustments while on the go.
The sound quality is also exceptional, thanks to the unit’s advanced audio technologies. The DMH-ZF9350BT features built-in Bluetooth, allowing you to stream music wirelessly from your smartphone or other compatible devices. And with the ability to customize the sound with a 13-band equalizer, you’ll be able to achieve your ideal audio settings with ease.
But that’s not all – the DMH-ZF9350BT also features compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, making it easy to access your favorite apps and features while on the road. And with access to turn-by-turn GPS navigation, you’ll never have to worry about getting lost again.
Overall, the Pioneer DMH-ZF9350BT is a top-of-the-line infotainment system that is worth every penny. If you’re looking to take your driving experience to the next level, this unit is a must-have.
If you’re loving the idea of the Pioneer flagship, the brand-new version in the ZF stable, the Pioneer DMH-ZF8550BT is worth a look.
Bringing all the ideal features and inclusions from the ZF9350BT, and leaving some of the top tier ones for the flagship, the DMH-ZF8550BT is able to be offered a little bit cheaper. With the price-drop the features and abilities don’t drop. In fact they become a little more focused on what the average driver is looking for.
Coming with the beautifully designed 9-inch floating table screen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, bluetooth, amazing sound control and camera connectivity – the DMH-ZF8550BT is every bit as awesome as its big brother.
Offering an outstanding balance between features and value, this unit deserves a look in when deciding what unit to get as the upgrade in your Holden Colorado.