As ute sales continue to surge ahead, it is inevitable that we see even more companies getting in on the game. At one end we have Mercedes-Benz launching its X Class very shortly, while at the more everyman section of the market we now have Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer LDV getting in on the action.
LDV is well known in New Zealand, thanks to local distributor Great Lake Motor Distributors efforts at getting the brand established locally and a product that resonates with Kiwi commercial drivers in the form of the very popular V80 van.
LDV, the light commercial vehicle division of the Anglo Dutch commercial vehicle company Leyland DAF, was acquired by the Shanghai Automobile and Industrial Corporation (SAIC) in 2009.
SAIC is the largest and oldest automotive manufacturer in China as well as being the largest auto company on China’s share market. It is a Fortune Global 500 company, holding 41st position in the world’s largest companies on the list, and sold more than 6.4 million vehicles in 2016, looking to break the seven million mark in 2017.
So, it really was only a matter of time before such a large light commercial manufacturer would turn its attention towards the ute segmnet.
And now it has, in the form of the all-new T60 that was launched recently at a black tie event in Auckland.
The T60 will initially be offered in New Zealand in double cab 4WD form, but single cab models follow in December and 2WD models in the new year, followed closely by a seven seat SUV version.
Available either with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, all T60 variants are powered by a 110kW/360Nm 2.8-litre diesel turbo four-cylinder engine that LDV claims has a combined fuel consumption of 8.8L/100km for the manual and 9.6L/100km for the auto.
All models ride on 17-inch alloy wheels, including a full size alloy spare as well, and feature double wishbone front suspension and leaf springs in the rear. The T60 will tow 3,000kg on a braked trailer and 750kg unbraked.
The T60 manual kicks off the range at $33,338, with the automatic coming in at $35,638, and comes standard with LED headlights, rain sensing wipers, electric mirrors, cruise control, hill descent control, a backing camera with rear parking sensors, daytime running lights, side steps, roof rails, a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, a six-speaker audio system, phone mirroring and Bluetooth connectivity and automatic air conditioning.
A full suite of active and passive safety features and driver assists also come standard on the entry T60, including six airbags, blind spot monitoring, a driver fatigue monitoring system, emergency brake assist, roll movement intervention and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
The T60 Luxury tops the range at $37,938 for the manual and $40,238 for the automatic.
The Luxury adds electric folding and heated side chrome mirrors, chrome exterior trim, a sports bar, leather seats and a leather steering wheel, keyless entry and start and power adjustable heated front seats.
In terms of off road ability, all 4WD T60s boast 215mm of ground clearance, with a approach angle of 27 degrees, rampager angle of 21.3 degrees and a departure angle of 24.2 degrees.