V80 sells strongly at value-for-money prices

New Zealand LCV - - 2017VAN GUIDE | LDV V80 -

LDV’S V80 VAN HAS BEEN SOLD IN NEW ZEALAND FOR JUST ON four years, and is be­com­ing an es­tab­lished player in the van mar­ket, pro­vid­ing a ca­pa­ble work­horse at a sharp price.

The rights to build the V80 passed through sev­eral hands fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the Bri­tish LDV com­pany which de­signed the van in con­junc­tion with Dae­woo.

Fi­nally, Chi­nese man­u­fac­turer, SAIC (Shanghai Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­trial Cor­po­ra­tion), bought the rights and put the V80 (called the Maxus in China and Europe) into pro­duc­tion.

LDV’S New Zealand agent, Taupo-based Great Lake Mo­tor Dis­trib­u­tors, mar­kets van, cab/chas­sis, and minibus V80s.

The vans come in three sizes which Great Lake calls Big, Big­ger, and Big­gest. The Big runs on a 3100mm wheel­base, has a low roof and a 6.4 cu­bic me­tre cargo vol­ume, mak­ing it a vi­able com­peti­tor for most mid-sized vans; pay­load is 1204kg.

The Big­ger and the Big­gest have 3850mm wheel­bases, and pay­loads of 1419kg and 1380kg. The medium-roof Big­ger’s 10.4 cu­bic me­tre cargo vol­ume makes it a di­rect com­peti­tor for the Toy­ota Hi­ace ZX; the high-roofed Big­gest can fit an im­pres­sive 11.6 cu­bic me­tres of cargo.

All mod­els have slid­ing doors on each side of the cargo area, and twin barn-style, win­dowed rear doors that open to 180 de­grees.

All three vans use the same engine and have the same trans­mis­sion choices. The engine is a Euro 5-com­pli­ant Ital­ian­designed and Chi­nese-man­u­fac­tured 2.5-litre VM Mo­tori com­mon rail fuel-in­jected in­ter­cooled tur­bod­iesel, de­vel­op­ing 100kw of max­i­mum power and a use­ful 330Nm of peak torque.

The Euro 5 mo­tor was in­tro­duced here in April, and is mated to a six-speed man­ual gear­box that re­placed the Euro 4’s five-speeder; the V80 is also avail­able with a six-speed au­to­mated man­ual gear­box (AMT).

We’ve driven both trans­mis­sions and pre­fer the new six-speed man­ual which has well-cho­sen ra­tios that en­sure a near-seam­less torque flow as you shift up through the gear­box.

The ra­tios also help en­sure the man­ual V80 is very ur­ban-friendly, run­ning hap­pily in fifth even on mod­er­ate hills, and tak­ing 90-de­gree cor­ners in third gear with­out bog­ging down.

The au­to­mated man­ual re­quires some ad­just­ing to and ini­tially shifts are jerky as the gear­box’s “brain” tai­lors the shift pat­tern to the way each per­son drives.

Once it has, the box delivers smooth shifts, es­pe­cially once the truck is run­ning in sec­ond gear or higher.

The V80 has the get-up-and-go to han­dle in­ner city work and on the open road, cruises com­fort­ably at 100km/h.

Ride qual­ity is par for the course for a van, and un­laden or lightly laden, the V80 doesn’t bump or buck ex­ces­sively, even on rough sur­faces.

Noise lev­els are more than ac­cept­able, es­pe­cially if the vans are fit­ted with the lo­cally-made com­pos­ite sealed bulk­heads that sep­a­rate the three-seat cabin from the load­space.

An all-elec­tric V80 will join the lo­cal line-up later this year in a three­model range of short- and long-wheel­base vans and a cab/chas­sis.

It’s pow­ered by a 75kw/h lithium-ion phos­phate bat­tery and is fit­ted with a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion (CVT). Max­i­mum power of 100kw and peak torque of 320Nm are al­most iden­ti­cal to the 2.5-litre diesel V80’s.

LDV sold 587 V80s in 2016 and that mo­men­tum has con­tin­ued this year, with 224 reg­is­tered in the first four months, a rise of 76 on the same pe­riod of 2016.

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