ARNA SAYS PLENTY OF ROOM FOR IM­PROVE­MENT

New Zealand LCV - - ROAD TEST | LDV T60 UTE - – Arna Evans

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.

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