After a month of wet weather I couldn't get near my back yard, while the wild ducks were enjoying the pond that had pooled there, a tree didn't, it unceremoniously gave up its will to live.
Thanks to Holden New Zealand, the tree is now gone, I dug up what I could of the roots and the whole lot was taken to the green waste depot in the back of a new Colorado ute, Holden's entry in the light commercial market.
It's been a big year for utes in New Zealand, all of the major manufacturers have had some new entries and I've still got a couple to come for evaluation, one from Great Wall, the other from Ssangyong.
How they have all measured up has been interesting, they all have advantages in some areas and they are all well up to the task of load carrying and travelling off sealed surfaces, well those that are four-wheel-drive, anyway.
The Colorado has had a good following in New Zealand's very competitive ute market and its success has been associated with fewer Commodore-based ute sales. Those who do buy the Colorado are looking for a tough cab-chassis or wellside with high carrying capacity and versatility, and that's where the LT crew-cab, 4WD model comes in.
The Colorado is available here in 11 variants, all with either 2.5-litre or 2.8-litre, diesel-fed engines, there are also single cab and space cab, two and four-wheel-drive options. The range starts at $38,400 and ends at $59,900, the manual LT as tested lists at $55,900. And don't be put off by the four-cylinder's 2.8-litre rating, while it gives away quite a bit of capacity to, say, the 3.2-litre unit in Ford's Ranger and Mazda' BT50, it still has a load limit to match the mainstream utes and it will tow a 3500kg trailer.
Holden rate the twin-camshaft unit at 132kW and 440Nm (470Nm automatic), the latter available at just 2000rpm with solid turbo-boost to the red line.
My load didn't test the Colorado's weight limit parameters at just 80kg but the engine feels strong in all situations and works honestly.
Buyers of the 2.8-litre engine should expect fuel usage figures of around 9.6-litres per 100km (29mpg), that was constantly showing on the trip computer readout with an 8.6l/100km (33mpg) figure showing at a steady 100km/h, the engine turning over at just 1900rpm in fifth gear.
Of course, the Colorado is available with both manual or automatic transmission. The test car was the five-speeder, and the shift mechanism does well to hide the mechanicals which are designed to be durable in the working role. On that subject, the deck area measures 1484mm x 1534mm which is about the industry standard for a double-cab wellside.
In terms of driveability, the Colorado is civilised and refreshing to be behind the wheel of, it drives easily with clean shifts and relatively light clutch movement. Unladen, it feels quite spirited, it will easily claim an 11sec time to make 100km/h from a standstill, and will lunge through an overtaking manoeuvre of 7sec. Not that acceleration is important to the Colorado's role, but it isn't a slouch and is comfortable at highway speed.
The same can be said of its handling manners, utes are never the best in a corner thanks to the load-bearing suspension engineering, but the Colorado behaves itself reasonably well if a quick corner sneaks up. Steerage is informative, and the Bridgestone Dueler tyres (245/70 x 16in) direct to the driver information on how they are coping.
Up front the suspension is by way of double wishbones, while a leaf spring located live rear axle props up the rear. The spring and damper rates are set far from firm, I was surprised at the compliance built into them, the ride is even, controlled and well cushioned from ruts and bumps.
And with 210mm ground clearance, the Colorado is a bit of a master off sealed surfaces. I took the test car on an easy Waimakariri River loop, using the tracks that run parallel to the river. Recent high country nor'west winds have made the river flow fast and wide, spilling over the usual tracks which run alongside. That being the case, it was a good test of the Colorado's ability to put power to ground; grip in the soft, slushy stuff never appeared compromised.
Four-wheel-drive is initiated through a console-mounted dial switch, it is simplistic, but effective. Low ratio initiates crawl speed travel, it is easily maintained through throttle balance which isn't overly sensitive. That way, moderate accelerator pressure will maintain slow, steady progress.
Holden have done well with exterior and interior design, it looks dynamic from the moment of first glance and the in-cabin environment is tasteful and functional.
Major items of fitment include digitally-controlled air conditioning, electric windows and exterior mirror adjustment, cruise control, leather-wrapped wheel on tilt-adjustable steering column, and an ANCAP five-star safety rating which includes five-overshoulder seat belts, front and side-curtain air bags, and ABS-related traction and stability control.
Ute buyers in New Zealand are spoilt for choice, especially so now that supply from Thailand's flood-battered factories is slowly returning to normal. The Colorado has the marketing expertise of Holden New Zealand behind it and a client-base who will have been well served by the previous model.
I'm hoping I won't have other foliage issues on my property between now and the next ute I'm due to pick up, but I have to say that now spring is here and the property has dried out, it's never looked better.