Holden's 2012 Colorado 7 was recently previewed as the Chevrolet Trail Blazer in Dubai.

Get ready for an invasion of the Australian automotive market by new 4X4 ladder chassis passenger wagons based on the latest light truck ranges, starting in 2012.

Because most will be sourced out of Thailand duty-free, they promise to be tough, cheap and effective, with the bonus of good fuel economy and five-star safety ratings following unprecedented safety gains in the latest generation light truck ranges.

After the Nissan Navara-based Pathfinder led the revival in 2005, the Mitsubishi Triton-based Challenger followed in 2009, but the game changers will be the next generation models from Ford and Holden.

Holden has already confirmed that the new Colorado 7, recently previewed as a Chevrolet Trail Blazer in Dubai, will be released in Australia as soon as it’s available.

Asian market Ford Everest shows obvious DNA ties with the outgoing PK Ranger pickup that it's based on.

Because the Ford Everest truck wagon based on the outgoing Mazda-based PK Ranger is a vital model in Asian markets, a replacement based on the all-new PX Ranger is a given.

However, the next Everest currently under development in Australia is also earmarked for more mature markets. Its extra size and style will be matched with new levels of safety, refinement and sophistication.

The return of these vehicles to the Australian market mark a full turn of the wheel, as these truck-based wagons were once a popular alternative to the heavier and costlier off roaders.

This time around they will provide a tougher but affordable alternative to the many soft roaders available to family buyers and will be vital in winning back sales following the decline in large 4×4 sales.

The big difference between now and then is that the cabins of early Japanese models were all restricted by the Japanese-mandated 1700mm width limit and were of limited use to families with older children. The coming generation will be closer in size to the larger US truck-based models.  

Both Ford and Holden would also be hoping that their new truck wagons will halt the Toyota LandCruiser Prado sales juggernaut, itself a replacement for the HiLux-based Toyota 4Runner.

Ford PX Ranger-based truck wagon will be something worth waiting for.

For Ford, a new PX Ranger-based wagon will neatly dovetail with the latest local Territory range, as well as provide a viable alternative for loyal local owners of the second-generation US Explorer.

Ford Australia has a long history with this type of vehicle, including a locally-assembled version of the US Bronco and the Ford Raider that was based on the Ford Courier-Mazda B-series light truck range. The local Blue Oval branch also offered a Nissan Patrol badged as a Ford Maverick.

A Ranger-based wagon would cover over all the gaps left by the demise of these models.

2012 Holden Colorado 7 offers seating for up to seven passengers.

The Colorado 7 is also perfectly timed for Holden when the company has been left exposed in this segment for some years, after the Isuzu-based Holden Jackaroo was dropped and the Commodore-based Holden Adventra missed its mark.

Holden also sold several versions of the huge Chevrolet Suburban badged as a Holden. The Colorado 7 would be at ease in the company of any of these past Holden models.

As a growing number of older Australians leave the workforce for a nomadic lifestyle and younger families require extra luggage, seating and towing capacity, these new truck wagons are about to place a wide range of purpose-built 4X4 wagons and softroaders on notice.  TJ







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