No-one at Holden Australia was prepared to admit that a swath of big changes for the Colorado family - one-tonne ute and seven-seater wagon - are a reaction to the 2012 originals being found wanting when measured against a ''certain other''.
All the same, whether by intent or coincidence, it's clear an ''MY14'' (model year 2014) update that is too extensive to be a fine-tune and too soon to be a facelift can be more comfortably compared with the Ford Ranger, a chart-topper here.
The Colorado now has the same MyLink touch screen as Holden's passenger cars. This enhances safety by enabling the seven-inch screen as a super-sized viewer for the reversing camera, standard to the wagons and the LTZ ute (otherwise being a $500 option) and also delivers opportunity to implement an on-the-cheap effective navigation system with the simply brilliant smartphone-based BringGo 3-D mapping application.
Then there's the boosted performance. It's not quite as simple as the 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel being retuned; there's a new turbo and re-engineered internals to boost power by 15-17kW and also bring up the torque to a class-leading 500Nm with the auto (surely peak ability for any four-pot?) and 440Nm in now six-speed manual.
As before, the ute in particular still has a rumpty ride and a vocal engine note, yet by comparison with the originals the MY14s feel stronger, run smoother and sound less gruff, while delivering extra reassurance in low-range, low-gear mud toiling.
The icing with this upgrade is all the small stuff: rear park sensors for all models sold here, front side impact airbags, a full-size USB and the electronic assists of hill start, trailer sway mitigation and downhill descent control. All are so logical in the battle against Ford that you have wonder why they weren't fitted from the start.
SUVs and utes have been top sellers this year, accounting for more than 25% of new vehicle registrations, and while Holden New Zealand managing director Jeff Murray is not so bold as to talk up his flatdeck as a one-tonne leader in 2014, he does think better days are coming, not least with prices having carried over.
''We will sell more vehicles as result of this enhancement,'' Murray said.
''There is no reason why it should not be selling better than it has been.''
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