Utes a major presence at 2017 Fieldays
WHAT HAS BECOME THE NEW ZEALAND LIGHT COMMERCIAL vehicle industry’s annual showcase, the national Fieldays, is running from June 14 to 17 at Mystery Creek just outside Hamilton.
Fieldays is to NZ ute wholesalers, retailers and accessories manufacturers what the Texas State Fair is to America’s pick-truck industry and virtually all of the latest models will be on show.
The NZ motor and accessories industries build special price and equipment deals around utes at Fieldays time, and most of the major carmakers have extensive displays of their LCV ranges at Mystery Creek, either at distributor or dealer level.
Most were tight-lipped about new products that will appear at the show, but Isuzu Utes will display the latest iterations of its D-max ute, and the just-released 2017 MU-X seven-seat SUV.
It will also reprise the four-wheel drive experience track which has proven popular with showgoers over the past two years and has won the company awards from Fieldays organisers.
The track, which follows an undulating unsealed course, gives members of the public and Isuzu customers the chance to drive and ride in D-maxes and MU-XS in a controlled off-road environment.
The track is based on Isuzu’s off-road test track in Japan, and includes some challenging terrain that shows off the vehicles’ abilities to tackle difficult conditions.
Taupo-based Great Lake Motor Distributors, which markets the LDV and Ssangyong brands, will have an extensive display of both nameplates’ products.
The big interest will centre on LDV’S new T60 ute, the Chinese brand’s first venture into what is becoming the crucial segment for any vehicle maker.
The LDV, teased to New Zealand motoring journalists earlier this year, is said to have been benchmarked on the genre-defining Ford Ranger which has made the pick-up a viable family vehicle for city dwellers.
The T60 slightly edges the Ranger for size, but the Ford has the badge. The LDV will be certain to undercut it seriously on price. The Chinese truck looks good in the metal, and on paper ticks the crucial boxes – safety, carrying capacity, power and torque.
But the proof of the pudding, as they say, will be in the eating: how it performs and handles and the impression it makes.
LDV New Zealand will be taking orders and expressions of interest at Fieldays, and the ute will launch locally in September.
Great Lake is also promising some surprises at Mystery Creek. We’d suggest the electric-powered version of the V80 van and the seven-seat SUV based on the new ute as likely candidates.
See the August-september edition of LCV magazine comprehensive report on the 2017 Fieldays.
Above: LDV will show its first-ever ute, the T60 at Fieldays. It goes on sale later in the year. Right top: Isuzu Utes will again have its off-road experience track in action. Right bottom Ford showcased its Everest SUV’S off-road abilities with passenger rides for showgoers at 2017 Fieldays.