Hi Fives For China Ute
Bloody ugly though
A light commercial vehicle manufactured in China has finally passed Australia’s searching ANCAP crash test protocol with a five star rating – the top rating.
The LDV T60 one tonne, dual cab, 4×4 ute beat plenty of more fancied contenders in the process.
But the new LDV has a job on its hands to overcome the bad vibes created by other Chinese makes in particular Great Wall’s problematic ute.
LDV’s owner, SAIC, the biggest automaker in China and one of the biggest in the world, made sure this ute was going to deliver because it’s the first of a new generation of vehicles from them.
ADVANCED DRIVER ASSIST
That means advanced driver assist technology (but no autonomous emergency braking) generous levels of luxury kit and decent performance and handling.
In the looks department, well, that’s subjective but I for one am not a fan.
The T60 owes nothing to any other vehicle but the 2.8-litre engine is a VM Motori design similar to that in Holden’s Colorado. The 6-speed transmissions are Aisin designs and the same shared design arrangement would be the case for other major components.
Two models are offered initially, the Pro and Luxe in ascending equipment levels.
Pricing starts at $28,990 for Pro manual drive away rising to $34,990 drive away of Luxe auto.
Both variants score a large 10-inch touch screen controller, blind spot monitoring, tyre pressure monitoring, hill start assist rear park assist, cruise control and a reverse camera.
The Luxe scores more luxury kit and more safety features.
Both are identical underneath apart for the softer suspension in Luxe which targets lifestyle buyers rather than tradies. T60 is on a conventional ladder chassis with the body bolted on. It has double wishbone coil suspension at the front and leaf springs at the rear and is rated at just on a tonne payload, 3.0-tonnes towing.
LDV importer Ateco Group provides a 5 year/130,000km warranty on T60 but isn’t prepared to offer up capped price servicing. Service intervals are condition based according to a built in monitoring system.
Ateco offers a loan car should your T60 be off the road for warranty repairs.
The turbo diesel engine has a variable geometry turbo (VGT) and is good for 110kW/360Nm – not a great deal in the overall scheme of things especially when compared to Colorado.
It’s good for 8.8-litres/100km in the manual, 9.6 in the auto.
Drive is selectable 4WD with 2WD high along with 4WD high and low range.
The Luxe gets a rear diff lock for additional grip along with LED headlights climate control air.
T60 is roughly the same size as Ford’s Ranger and offers seats for five inside.
It rolls on 17-inch alloys with a full size spare under the load tray which has a tub liner as standard.
ON THE ROAD
This is where it gets interesting because though the T60 is a huge step forward compared to other Chinese brands here, it could do with a bit more tweaking to make it really good.
The suspension for example is under damped on the rebound giving rise to a porpoise effect on undulating roads and there isn’t enough torque for a vehicle like this, 360Nm would struggle with a 3.0-tonne trailer on the back.
Both are easy fixes and should be implemented straight away ex-factory.
Other dynamic functions are good – the brakes and steering though I feel the ABS activates too easily. Another tweak needed.
It steers pretty well and noise isolation is good. The seats are comfy and all controls are easy to find and operate. Goes off road OK too.
It has a decent size load tray and interior room is similarly decent.
I took a look underneath T60 and it measures up with anything else on the market offering a robust ladder chassis, big suspension components and axles, brakes and other heavy duty bits and pieces.
Not a bad effort from LDV especially the 5 star crash rating. It needs more grunt and other minor adjustments but apart from that, the T60 could put a thorn in the side of Mitsubishi with its sharply priced Triton and Nissan’s Navara.
Make/Model: LVDV T60 dual cab 4×4
Price: from $28,990 drive away
Engine: 2.8-litre turbo diesel four cylinder 110kW/360Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual or auto (opt)
Fuel Consumption: 8.8-litres/100km (m), 9.6 (auto)
Safety: 5-star ANCAP
Towing: 3.0 tonne (braked)
Warranty 5 year/130,000km
Overall Rating: 70/100