V80 sells strongly at value-for-money prices
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.