..... more

Elvis Festival
2008 Elvis Festival

Tow Test

Holden Rodeo LX 4x4

by Ken Walker

10th April, 2008

Holden Rodeo LX 4x4 
Click on the image for a larger view

The subject of this road test, which is more a tow test, by the Next Car team is the General’s current Holden Rodeo LX 4x4 Crew Cab utility. Our test unit was fitted with a newer variant of the 3.0 litre turbo diesel engine, which now meets the stringent Euro IV compliance standards. This Isuzu built engine develops 120 kW of power. The torque rating is 360 Nm at a very low 1,800 rpm. My first thoughts were simple .... would there be enough power to drag my 18’ caravan over hill and over dale when I hit the dusty trail (excuse the poetry) .... this being, to date, the least powerful of vehicles used in our tow test reports. Matched to a 4 speed automatic gear box, this package made short work of the F3 Freeway between Sydney and Newcastle, on day one of our drive programme. The ride was smooth and transmission changes unnoticed in either up or down shifts. The engine was much quieter than the previous model, which was a welcome surprise.

Our package had been fitted with a tow bar, with a choice of hitch available, our requirements being the standard type and not the load sharing heavy weight type. A trailer plug socket was close to the towbar and compatible with our needs.  Inside the cab, adjacent to the steering column was the mandatory electric brake controller needed to adjust the electric brakes of our caravan. Whilst some vehicles may have good braking systems and, therefore, be quite able to stop with the caravan in-tow, it is unlawful not to have a controller fitted and connected.

As there was no doubt in my mind with the Rodeo 4x4s excellent off-road capabilities this was not accessed on this occasion. However, I would certainly welcome the opportunity at any time, just as I have on the odd occasion in the past.

Along with the updated engine came some further enhancements to woo buyers to the basic model which, in Holden speak, is the LX. This LX variant now comes with power mirrors, power windows, front seat lumbar support and height adjustable steering wheel.  With a recommended retail price of $41,990 plus options (such as metallic paint), statutory and dealer charges the LX crew cab 4x4 utility is not cheap, but it is definitely a better vehicle than the last model. For instance, the tow capacity has been increased to 3,000 kilogrammes in both manual and automatic transmission versions and that is a definite plus for caravaners and trades people alike. SRS airbags are fitted for front seat occupants and lap/sash seat belts are in place for all positions, of which there are five. Passengers and, of course, the driver are entertained by an AM/FM radio with single CD slot and 4 speakers.  The interior presentation was good with the seats trimmed with cloth and vinyl, whilst underfoot is a rubber floor mat. There were no annoying rattles or vibrations.

Externally the paint finish was very good and the panel spaces were even overall. All wheel arches were fitted with flares to assist with minimising stone damage to the body work and mud flaps were fitted at the rear. The package is fitted with steel wheel rims shod with 215/70R15C all terrain tyres. At last somebody is listening to my complaints about highway biased tyres on 4x4s.

With caravan and the Rodeo packed, we headed north up the New England Highway from Newcastle with no particular destination in mind at the time. It was going through Lochinvar that I could picture the very noteworthy long uphill climb before reaching Greta. This hill usually slows and reduces me to 2nd gear at 35 km/h in my old diesel utility. How would the new Rodeo fare? Well, to say I was surprised would be an understatement. The speedometer needle was pointing at 85 km/h and we were in 3rd gear. Yes, I was impressed. So it was through Greta, Branxton and on to Singleton where we stopped for morning tea. This is somewhat of a ritual for us and probably many other caravaners. After leaving Singleton we turned off the highway to wander along the road to Lake St Clair. The road, after approximately 5 kms turns into a winding black topped track barely 2 lanes wide and sometimes broken-up, but we persevered onwards towards Lake St Clair and what we thought was a free camp ground. On arrival, we found that free camping was not allowed, and with hardly any water in the lake, we did a 360 turn and returned to the highway. With Liddell Power Station in sight, a mutual decision was made to have a look at the camping ground at Lake Liddell. That was worthwhile manoeuvre as there was plenty of water there, as well as a good dose of peace and quiet.

The Rodeo towed the caravan very well and I was more than happy with this aspect, however fuel consumption seemed abnormal. Taking in to account that the transmission was probably in third most of the time, this would offer some explanation. The downside to this is that the fuel tank capacity is only 76 litres, meaning you need a lot of fuel stops. The load area will carry up to 1,100 kilogrammes; meaning that the Rodeo is a true one tonner.

Overall, we were impressed with the comfort of the seats and this, in itself, had a huge impact on the ride quality. Holden now need to look into gaining a bit more power and torque out of the good, but unexciting, Isuzu engine. Increased fuel carrying ability is also badly needed.

This is essentially a very good package with short comings as outlined above, but these alone should not prevent a prospective buyer accessing this package for themselves.

Click on the image for a larger view

Other Holden content: here.

Other General Motors content: here.

Next Car Pty Ltd
ABN 47106248033

Next Car Pty Ltd

Copyright © 2008.
All rights reserved.