Holden’s Colorado ute in space cab and dual cab forms has been a popular choice among tradies and private owners since the badge was introduced in 2008 to replace the old Holden Rodeo badge.
As a result, the Colorado has ben put to just about every use imaginable, and in many cases, that has meant the fitment of a canopy. In fact, the Colorado in all its forms, including the sporty Z71 variant, has been fitted with just about every type of canopy ever dreamed up, from home-made steel and canvas jobs to service bodies, alloy canopies and, of course, the ever-popular fibreglass or thermoplastic variety.
So what are your options? Without a doubt, the simplest canopy is the still-common canvas cover which is slung over a skeleton frame made from either steel or alloy bars. These are common on Colorados fitted with either a flat tray or a drop-side alloy tray and make a great no-frills space cab canopy. Many are purchased off-the-shelf, but the construction technique lends itself very well to custom made canopies to suit specific requirements. This type of canvas canopy offers one-person fitting and removal and the ability to be removed or slid forward quickly to allow for bulky loads on a regular basis. The downside is that they aren’t always very dust-proof and they don’t offer the security of a hard canopy with locking access points.
More specialised is the service body style of canopy which is usually constructed and clad in metal and allows for secure storage for tools and work supplies. The permutations of these are more or less limitless and they can be custom made to achieve a very specific end result with a very specific use in mind. Usually attached to a flat-bed tray, a service body or steel canopy can also incorporate storage space below the tray, either side of the vehicle’s rear wheel to maximise efficiency. Many have the option of roof or ladder racks on top of the basic structure.
Far and away the most common canopy for a Holden Colorado is the fibreglass or high-tech plastic units which are most commonly attached to vehicles with the standard tub arrangement., Forming a secure roof over that tub, these canopies are also great for providing a dry, secure storage environment. But with windows to each side and to the rear, they’re also great for carrying pets safely. The windows and lift-up tailgate also make for decent access for working out of and, like a service body, the roof is usually strong enough to allow for roof racks and tie-down points. The construction method of these canopies (ie: a moulded main body) means they are less likely to be custom-made, but buyers can certainly option them up in many ways to achieve the result they want.
Read more about canopies
OEM or aftermarket
A lot of ute owners are of the opinion that the best fitting canopy for their vehicle is the one that was offered as a genuine part when the vehicle was new. That’s not necessarily the case any more, and plenty of car-makers outsource their canopy supply to specialist companies anyway. That said, a genuine part-number canopy is a great way to ensure that the thing will fit properly, will be compatible with all the vehicle’s other systems and the colour match (where you’ve paid to have the canopy match the car’s colour) will be as spot-on as possible.
The problem for Colorado owners, of course, is that Holden as a brand doesn’t exist any longer and, in fact, the last brand-new Colorados were sold around the same time the brand disappeared; about the middle of 2020. So if you want a genuine Holden Colorado canopy, you’ll need to track down a former Holden dealership (and many were multi-franchise, so the business may still operate with its other makes) that has some NOS (New Old Stock) stored in its warehouse. To be honest, it’s a bit of a long shot and you could spend a lot of time searching and not finding anything.
The saving grace here is that the aftermarket has always recognised that the Colorado was a popular model and has continued to support the range with a good selection of canopies including the types we’ve mentioned here. And like the OEM stuff when it was around, the better aftermarket brands also offer colour-matching as well as the usual options that owners seem to be looking for.
The aftermarket (or second-hand) is also the place to look for a canopy for a previous-gen Colorado. Many canopy manufacturers will keep a popular canopy in production long after the vehicle itself has disappeared from new car showrooms. Brands such as ARB, TJM, Flexiglass and Carryboy (to name just a handful) all have a wide range of choices for the Colorado and continue to service the Holden brand generally. So even if your Colorado is the old RC model rather than the later RG version, you might still be surprised at the choices you have.
Many canopy manufacturers will keep a popular canopy in production long after the vehicle itself has disappeared from new car showrooms. (Image: ARB)
You can contact the above canopy manufacturers and deal with them directly, and in most cases, the bigger brands will have a network of showrooms and accredited installers who can take the job from start to finish in one place, including colour-matching.
The other alternative is to visit one of the many huge four-wheel drive accessory stores that have opened up in recent years and look at a wide range of makes and models in one place. Be warned, though; these places are like a magnet to four-wheel drivers and leaving with not just a canopy but a car-full of other gear you didn’t know you needed and an empty wallet is a very real possibility.
Don’t ignore a second-hand canopy either. Since there are few moving parts, these things are a safe bet and if there’s no visible damage to the structure, you’re off to a good start. Check the for sale classifieds on your favourite website.
You can cobble together your own canvas canopy at home for a few hundred dollars, but even a professionally made canvas unit can be had for as little as $1500, or so. An alloy or metal canopy will be more expensive and a service body custom-built to a specific brief can be literally thousands of dollars. The upper end of the off-the-shelf Holden Colorado canopy price range is around the $5000 mark and that gets you a really high-end canopy with plenty of options and a factory warranty.
Fries with that?
Adding options is a great way to make sure the canopy will suit your needs in the long term. Take notice of details such as whether the tailgate operates on a single lever or a pair of handles. The former is much better for those who often have their hands full of gear as they approach the vehicle. LED lighting is a nice touch and you can also specify central locking for the canopy then can even be made to work with the vehicle’s own central locking.
Do you want window tint? A roof rack? Ladder racks? A roof vent? Extra tool boxes? It can all be arranged and most of the bigger brands offer all this stuff. It costs extra, of course, but if it makes the vehicle a better, more convenient piece of equipment, it’s definitely worth considering when you specify your canopy. Don’t forget about handy additions such as internal drawer systems and whether you like sliding or hinged side windows.
The Colorado has been put to just about every use imaginable, including the fitment of a canopy. (Image: ARB)
Don’t forget to let your insurance company know you’ve had a canopy fitted. Both the replacement value of the vehicle and the cost of the premium could be affected. But basically, if your insurer doesn’t know about the canopy and the vehicle is a total loss, the cost of the canopy may not be included in the pay-out. Meantime, a vehicle with a secure canopy fitted might represent a reduction in the insurance cover for your work tools and camping gear.