CHINESE CHEQUERS | Van Review-LDV

LDV offers two choices in the medium van market – Words by Stuart Martin

The van battle is not simply a Korea versus Japan proposition, with cameos from the Europeans and the Chinese having staked something of a claim to a spot in the cheap and cheerful end of the segment with its LDV G10 and V80 ranges.

The LDV brand is a part of the Shanghai Automobile and Industrial Corporation (SAIC), the largest automotive manufacturer in China with its stable including MG and joint ventures with Buick, Chevrolet, Iveco, Skoda, Volkswagen and Wuling. As a result of the British Motor Corporation purchase, its vans are being used by the British Royal Bank and the Royal Mail service among others.

The G10 base model is a diesel six-speed manual for $29,990 with an ABN or $31,569 without. Its layout is rear-wheel drive and a coil-sprung rear end with the front suspension a MacPherson strut set-up, all of which the brand says has been fettled by Lotus.

A 75-litre tank is drained at a claimed rate of 8.3 litres per 100 km for the six-speed manual on the combined cycle as it feeds the 1.9-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder to produce 106 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque. That’s a serviceable, but not a stunning, amount of grunt for a work vehicle and comparable to the manual offering of Hyundai’s iLoad. Buyers of the optional six-speed automatic pay an extra $2500 and use a little more (0.3 of a litre) fuel.

The features list reflects the cheaper price tag worn by the LDV, with cabin having electric windows, tilt-only steering adjustment, a driver’s armrest, Bluetooth phone link, air conditioning, electric-adjustable mirrors and remote keyless entry.

Among the accessories on offer to tailor the LDV to its intended duties is a tow bar (to use a 1500 kg braked towing capacity), a cargo barrier, roof bars, a cargo-bay rubber mat, dash mat, LED lighting for the cargo bay, seat covers, rubber front floor mats and front door weather shields.

The lit cargo area is accessed through either side by way of sliding doors or the rear lift-up tailgate, with barn doors on the options list.

Measuring 2.5 m long, there’s ample room for cargo, with a width of 1590 mm (or 1278 mm between the wheel arches) and an interior height of 1270 mm within the cargo area.

LDV claims a more than useful 5.2 cubic metres of space and a payload of 1030 kg with tie-down points to anchor the load.

Overall length for the G10 is 5168 mm, with a width of 1980 mm, 1928 mm tall and a low-slung

134 mm of ground clearance. The 3198 mm wheelbase equates to a turning circle of 11.8 m.

Four wheel discs sit beneath 16-inch alloy wheels at each corner and are a welcome aspect of the safety features list, with Bosch anti-lock and stability control functions as well as electronic brake-force distribution, emergency brake assist and roll-movement intervention (RMI) to help keep it shiny side up.

The G10 Van rates three ANCAP stars based on its 2015 test and is also equipped with dual front (but not side) airbags, rear fog lights and a tyre-pressure monitoring system, with a rear camera and rear parking sensors also on the list but cruise control is only featured on automatic variants.

In terms of maintenance there’s a six-month/5000 km first service, with scheduled servicing required every 12 months/10,000 km after that, with prices ranging from just under $300 for the first service through to just over $800 for the major service at 60,000 km.

Stepping up in size with the LDV range brings the V80 into the equation, with the brand claiming “car-like handling with the power of an advanced diesel engine.”

The V80 range is powered by a 2.5-litre intercooled 16-valve turbo-diesel from VM Motori, so it’s a familiar face from other brands within the broader automotive ranks.

Engines from the Italian engine company, part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles empire, powered early versions of the Holden Colorado, as well as a number of Chrysler and Jeep products and even appear in the humble London TX4 Taxi.

The common-rail direct-injected four-cylinder has an aluminium head and cast-iron block, runs an exhaust gas recirculation system and has an 80-litre tank for the claimed 8.9 litres per 100 km thirst.

It all adds up to 100 kW at 3800 rpm and 330 Nm between 1800 and 2600 rpm, going through the front wheels by either a six-speed manual or six-speed automated manual gearbox. The latter runs a two-pedal set-up, where the computer controls the clutch rather than the driver, but the former is preferable from a driving smoothness perspective.

The cabin is equipped with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with smart phone connectivity, with the driver getting an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat and an armrest, electric windows and mirrors,16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and two-stage remote keyless entry.

Also on the features list are front and rear fog lamps, a front bench-style seat for two occupants in addition to the driver, rear sensors, a reversing camera, dual sliding side doors and rear barn doors.

The V80 range starts with a short-wheelbase low-roof model for $32,621 drive-away or $30,990 drive-away with an ABN.

Measuring 4950 mm long, 1998 mm wide and 2132 mm tall, it sits on a 3100 mm wheelbase and claims a 12.4 m turning circle and 6.4 cubic metres of cargo space. The cargo area has recessed load tie down points and a heavy-duty cargo mat and measures 2550 mm long, 1770 mm wide and 1505 mm in height. The rear barn-doors aperture is 1550 mm wide and 1360 mm tall while the side sliding doors offer a 1090 mm wide and 1400 mm tall opening.

LDV claims a payload of 1204 kg for its entry-level V80 and that two standard pallets can be carried in tandem in the load area thanks to 1380 mm between the wheel arches and easy loading access via rear barn doors and a low floor height.

A GVM of 3200 kg and a braked towing capacity of 1200 kg all sits on a conventional MacPherson strut front and leaf-sprung rear suspension, with four-wheel disc brakes (front discs with ventilation) bringing it all to a stop.

Standard safety fare on the V80 – which has a three-star ANCAP rating after 2013 testing – includes dual front airbags, stability control, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution.

A dealer network numbering 81 can look after the servicing, which begins at the six-month/5000 km first service for just under $400 according to a cold-called dealer at the time of writing.

That’s then followed by scheduled maintenance every 12 months or 15,000 km, ranging in price from around $600 through to just under $1000, with the major service at 90,000 km just under $2000.

Both LDVs are covered by a factory three-year/100,000km warranty, with roadside assistance for the duration of the manufacturer’s warranty.

One comment

  1. Hi where is nearest dealership to take my van to for service it has 67000km on it. When is it due for next service

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