Man­ual worker

Tried and true, the en­gine and gear­box in LDV’s van fill the bill

Herald Sun - Motoring - - WORKING WHEELS - WITH PETER BARNWELL

VANS are a ne­ces­sity for many busi­nesses and they can cost a bomb to buy and run.

A new Ja­panese-built van such as Toy­ota’s Hi-Ace will set you back $33,000 plus on-roads for the base petrol model. Go Euro­pean with the new VW Trans­porter and you’ll cough up $37,000 plus on-roads for the base model diesel. Hyundai’s base iLoad petrol is $32,000plus. Ser­vice and run­ning costs vary greatly be­tween brands.

A cost-con­scious buyer could drive away in a well-used main­stream van or pay thou­sands less for the just re­leased LDV G10, with 2.4-litre petrol en­gine and man­ual trans­mis­sion, for $25,990.

That makes this good­look­ing one-tonne van from Chi­nese au­to­mo­tive gi­ant SAIC the cheap­est among the medium-size vans.

LDV al­ready has a 2.0-litre turbo/auto model here but this is the real worker’s spe­cial with its Mit­subishi-de­signed 2.4-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine and a five-speed man­ual driv­ing the rear axle.

The en­gine has been around in many Mit­subishis for, dare we say, decades. So, it’s tried and true, same for the gear­box.

No ANCAP crash rat­ing is avail­able for the G10. LDV’s V80 van gets three stars but has far fewer safety fea­tures.

The G10 2.4 has two airbags in the cabin and fit­ment in­cludes anti-lock brakes and sta­bil­ity con­trol, rear cam­era with park as­sist, park­ing sen­sors and tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor.

There are large slid­ing doors each side and a high-open­ing tail­gate. All doors are cen­trally locked and the load space has floor and side lin­ers.

Two stan­dard pal­lets could fit in the large 2365mm long load space with a vol­ume of 5.2 cu­bic me­tres. Pay­load is 1093kg and the towing ca­pac­ity is 1500kg braked.

About the same size as a Ford Tran­sit or Benz Vito, the G10 2.4 presents a good-look­ing face that makes some of the com­pe­ti­tion seem gawky.

In­side is the same story due to the G10’s mul­ti­ple guises as a van and peo­ple-mover.

There’s a dis­tinct pas­sen­ger car look to the dash and all con­trols es­pe­cially around the large cen­tral touch­screen.

Crea­ture com­forts in­clude air­con, power win­dows, rea­son­able au­dio, Blue­tooth phone and au­dio stream­ing and tilt-only wheel ad­just­ment.

Sus­pen­sion is MacPher­son struts at the front and, at the rear, four leaf springs for han­dling heavy loads. There are disc brakes all-round, 16-inch al­loys and a full-size spare.

The 2.4’s out­puts (105kW/ 200Nm) ap­pear mild when the G10’s tare weight is 1907kg. How­ever, the five-speed gear­box man­ual is rel­a­tively low-geared and progress is easy, even when loaded.

It would come back a few notches on the free­way tot­ing a tonne, up­hill with the air­con on. Com­bined fuel con­sump­tion is claimed at 11.5L/100km — a lot more than a diesel com­peti­tor would achieve but they cost a lot more. The tank holds 75L.

DRIV­ING

On the road, the G10 2.4 feels, well, like a van with a high seat­ing po­si­tion and good out­ward vi­sion aided by large ex­te­rior mir­rors. The steer­ing wheel isn’t as flat mounted as most of the com­pe­ti­tion and there’s a light feel to all con­trols.

The turn­ing cir­cle is rea­son­ably tight at 11.8m while the re­vers­ing cam­era and park­ing aids as­sist with get­ting into tighter spots. Per­for­mance is ac­cept­able and the en­gine doesn’t feel as if it’s work­ing hard in gen­eral driv­ing.

Even the rear leaf springs have a de­cent amount of com­pli­ance when un­laden, though the van feels stead­ier with a load. Load­ing is easy through the three large doors.

VER­DICT

In the ab­sence of a turbo diesel ver­sion, the 2.4 fills the bill as a cheap, prac­ti­cal de­liv­ery ve­hi­cle that is com­fort­able and easy to drive.

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