Utes a ma­jor pres­ence at 2017 Fiel­d­ays

New Zealand LCV - - NEWS | 2017 FIELDAYS - BY MIKE STOCK

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.

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