The Two for One Van from LDV.
After making a significant splash at the 2016 CV Show, LDV is back. After a gap of seven years, the old LDV was sold to SAIC in China, which has renamed the Maxus the LDV V80 & is now selling it again in the UK through importer Harris Group of Dublin.
The V80 is the first van in the UK relaunch of LDV. It also comes in a variety of sizes; SWB, Low Roof ( SLR ), LWB, Medium Roof ( LMR ) & LWB, High Roof (LHR)) Gross weight is either 3,200KG or 3,500KG.
Power comes from a 2.5-litre four-cylinder diesel from Italian firm VM Motori. It makes 134bhp, and the engine produces 100KW or 136BHP, with 330Nm of torque. This is mated to a six-speed gearbox that sends drive to the front wheels. If you’re after an alternative option, LDV have an EV version, the EV80 arriving shortly, with a claimed electric range 120 miles. This will be available in two models; panel van & chassis cab, the latter can be fitted with a range of customer-specific bodies.
Prices for the LDV V80 panel van range from £16,000 to £22,000, which is to say the least, competitive. LDV also offers competitive finance, as well as a five-year warranty/125,00 miles & roadside assistance as standard.
Equipment is generous, with all models featuring AirCon, cruise control, daytime running lights & Bluetooth. Two standard pallets can be carried in tandem in the load area of all models, with 1380mm between the wheel arches & rear doors that open to 270 degrees. the SWB model offers storage of 6.4m3, the larger LWB medium 10.4m3 & the largest LWB high roof model 11.6m.
I spent a couple of hours in the LWB medium roof version & I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The cabin is perhaps cheaper looking & feeling than the Peugeot Boxer, Fiat Ducato or Citroen Relay & is mile’s behind the new Volkswagen Crafter & MAN TGE. But, when the equivalent Relay LWB costs almost double that of the LWB V80, it’s hard not to see some business taking the two-for-one option.
The general ride & handling of the V80 wasn’t bad either. On the motorway noise levels are okay & the engine gives you just enough to overtake in comfort. I did drive my test van unladen though, so I cannot guarantee that it will be as good when fully laden. Overall, it does feel inferior to the main stream models out there both build quality wise & with an old Euro 5 engine, only returning on my trip 28.9 mpg. This is for example around 10-12mpg worse than Ford Transit of similar size. Emissions too aren’t anything to shout about at 248g/km. Flat rate tax on vans though should cancel this one out.
Inside the cabin, the dashboard & instrument layout is both logical & easy to reach. Big, user-friendly buttons are a bonus. The audio system features FM and AM, while USB & headphone sockets are included. The main wing mirrors are electrically adjustable via a small switch on the driver’s door by the A-pillar & they’re heated, too. The seat adjusters for the driver’s seat worked well, but did feel lightweight. The windscreen gives a clear view ahead & with the large side mirrors, with manually adjustable secondary mirrors below them, you can see well all around as well.
Passenger space means that there’s enough room to sit three abreast in comfort in the cab. The two passengers sit on a fixed bench, with some space underneath the seats for storage. The high-roof model features overhead storage trays. For tea & coffee, you get a twin cup-holder, ashtray- very 1980’s- a 12v socket, glovebox, deep door bins plus, in keeping with the competition a couple of dashtop trays either side of the instruments for your loose ends.
In conclusion, the V80 is not the best van you can buy, nor is it the most technologically advanced van either. What it is though, is exceptional value for money. If you can handle the fuel economy, high emissions & acceptable build quality, you can buy or lease a new large van far cheaper from LDV, than you could do from anyone else. Bear in mind that the V80 also comes well equipped, has notable safety features & when compared to the leading vans of just ten years ago, is a pretty good van to be in. My advice is to test drive one at your local LDV dealership. You may be pleasantly surprised. And don’t forget the EV model & the latest addition to the range the Mini B 14+1 mini-bus.
Amazing value for a large panel van. 3/5.