ARNA SAYS PLENTY OF ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
THERE’S A LOT OF COMPETITION FOR attention during any typical family drive.
Whether it’s snacks for the kids, spilled drinks, questions, commands, cries or any combination of the above, to us a quiet drive only happens on a golf course.
Attention-seekers are met with scorn, and I quickly found myself scorning the LDV.
From the beeping upon opening the driver’s door, to the beeping for the seatbelt, just a few seconds in the cabin and I’m already irritated.
Then after a few kilometres of suburban running, the car keeps beeping, thanks to the overly sensitive Lane Departure Warning, sounding off when straight-lining a gentle corner, when crossing an intersection or even, occasionally, for no reason at all.
Digging into the menu reveals a setting which showed it was already at its least sensitive. So after locating the off switch on the dash, things became a little less stressed. But it still beeped on occasion.
That all draws my attention away from the practical side I’m supposed to be focusing on, so back to it.
On paper, I was quite impressed by the LDV T60, as this Luxury model has all the modern equipment.
It’s a relatively high climb aboard, helped by the big sidesteps, only to drop on to – rather than into – a rather hard, high-set seat, devoid of any lumbar adjustment.
Even after a few days, I was still not comfortable, partly hindered by the lack of steering wheel reach adjustment.
The stand-out feature of the LDV is the big 10-inch central touch-screen, which looks great and offers a big view of the options or the reversing camera.
But my affection ends there, as the layout of the controls is not intuitive, overly complex, and keeps reverting to a screen saver after 60 seconds (the maximum time allowed).
So I can’t view at a glance, for example, the radio station we’re on, or the temperature the climate control is set at, without pressing a button.
The screen suffers badly from reflections at particular angles, and there’s no marking on the shifter, either, to signal which gear has been selected, only the display in the dash. I like the basic layout and design, but it’s less friendly in use.
Other things grate: like the lack of an ‘OK’ button when a dash warning illuminates (as it did after 90 minutes relentlessly suggesting a coffee break).
Also, there’s no back-lighting of the buttons on the steering wheel, the semi-covered seatbelt release button, or the ability to easily adjust the climate-control air-conditioning by one degree without waiting for the screen to wake up and display the set temperature.
It leaves you wondering if that was the last temperature setting or the new one.
The interior mirror also interferes with the driver’s sunvisor, there is no driver’s left foot footrest, and though the Bluetooth phone connection worked well, there was no ‘answer’ button on the steering wheel, only one to hang-up.
On the positive side, ‘cooled’ can-holders
pop out from each side vent.
The T60 Luxury may be the top-spec model but the frills are few in the back seat, with a fold-down centre armrest with cup-holders, and a 12v socket and power windows.
There is decent legroom, and entry/ egress is easy thanks to the steps and handy B-pillar handle. The rear cabin is basic but competent.
But even with three adults and two kids aboard, the ride is not for this family. It’s both floaty and harsh, and even after 10 minutes of floating and bobbing over undulations, we had to knock off 20km/h to make it bearable for passengers.
It’s not the noisiest diesel I’ve driven but it’s close to it, and its performance conjured the word slow, even considering the low kilometres the test T60 had travelled (0-100km/h in 12.8 seconds).
Even 100km/h was marked by an audible increase in wind noise, which we hope was down to the optional weathershields.
At least the trade-off in fuel consumption offers some respite, clocking 8.6 litres/100km for our 600km of suburban/motorway miles, impressively better than the claimed 9.6 litres/100km.
I was told that the T60 towed well, and I’m sure there will be many who love the T60’s attributes, and its competitive pricing, and those who can live with the beeping and quirks.
But as family transport, the T60 is solid and capable, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Below: 1. Rear seats are basic – they have a drop-down centre armrest and there are power windows, but there’s not much else in the back cabin. 2. Big 10-inch screen offers a big rear view, with steering guidelines, though can be heavily pixelated at night. 3. Space in the rear is good, as is the B-pillar handle to assist entry. 4. After 60 seconds, the main screen reverts to a screensaver. Does it really need saving, because it’s highly impractical?
Right above: The clean gauge design suffers from reflections from the steering column surround.
Right: The seatbelt release button is partly hidden behind the seatbelt buckle.
Far right: Along with the twin centre console cupholders, two pop-out can-coolers are located in front of each side vent.