Australia’s ute market is a big one and shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Alongside traditional favourites like the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger expect to see plenty of new choices appearing, like this: The LDV T60
In a market where numbers matter - be it torque, towing capacity, payload, or wading depth - LDV has entered the game with two attention-grabbing figures of its own.
The first, and perhaps most important is the price, which for ABN holders is as low as $28,990. While you might expect that a cut-price ute would come with cut-price safety, LDV surprises, having recently announced a five-star ANCAP crash rating putting it ahead of some more established rivals.
Vehicle Style: 4x4 dual cab ute
Price: From $30,516 plus on-road costs
Engine/trans: 110kW/360Nm 2.8-litre 4cyl turbo diesel 6spd manual, 6spd automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 8.8 l/100km
LDV pitches its entry-level T60 Pro as a tradesman’s tool, fitting it with heavy-duty suspension, and hard-wearing cloth seats ready to take on the work site.
That doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on standard safety gear with standard equipment including a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, hill descent control, a protective headboard for the tray, tyre pressure sensors and four-wheel disc brakes currently restricted to the likes of Volkswagen’s Amarok and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
Buyers looking for a touch more bling can plump for the T60 Luxe at $32,990 drive-away for tradies or $34,726 drive-away for the rest of us, benefiting from smart keys, a chrome sports bar, leather seats with electric adjustment, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and more.
Value is key to the T60’s appeal. A similarly-equipped Toyota HiLux will set you back at least an extra $20,000. The same goes for Ford’s Ranger, though cheaper rivals such as the Mitsubishi Triton are closer to the mark.
- Pro: Cloth seat trim, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive LED headlights, fog lights, side steps, remote central locking, rear park sensors, reversing camera
- Luxe: Leather seat trim, power-adjustable front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, climate control, keyless entry and start, auto-dimming rear view mirror
- Infotainment: 10-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, AM/FM radio, USB input, six-speaker audio
- Payload: 815-1025kg (depending on specification)
We tested the T60 in Luxe form at the model’s national launch in Bathurst, NSW, but be it Pro or Luxe the T60 comes loaded with a 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, twin USB and 12-volt power outlets, heated side mirrors, air con, cruise control and a plastic tray liner.
The cabin isn’t perfect though, lacking reach adjustment for the steering wheel, proper bolstering for its meanly padded seats, or consistent shut lines for elements such as the glove box.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 110kW/360Nm 2.8-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder, 110kW @3400rpm, 360Nm @1600-2800rpm
- Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, low range 4x4
- Suspension: Double wishbone independent front, rigid rear axle leaf spring rear
- Brakes: Four-wheel disc brakes
- Steering: Hydraulic power steering, 12.6m turning circle
- Towing Capacity: 3000kg braked, 750kg unbraked
Prod the starter button and the 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engine wakes rather grumpily, rumbling away like a light truck.
Refinement isn’t one of its strengths, with the kind of under-bonnet clatter that makes the T60 feel more like a commercial vehicle from days gone by.
LDV claims maximum outputs of 110kW of power and 360Nm of torque for the T60. Those figures are on the small side for a modern ute and tellingly the modest torque output is around 100Nm short of some similar capacity four-cylinder rivals.
It feels strained on the road, taking its time to reach cruising speeds on country highways.
Overtaking isn’t a strong point, with passing manoeuvres best planned well in advance. Our automatic model was reasonably well-behaved, doing a decent job of choosing the right gear save for a couple of indecisive moments in hilly country.
That lack of panache carries through to the T60’s suspension, which felt plainly unresolved on an inland run to Oberon. Poor body control sees the Luxe struggle to right itself after bumps that are felt again and again as the suspension struggles to control its mass.
The situation isn’t helped by light and vague steering that leaves you with little of the confidence offered by best-in-class models. We didn’t have an opportunity to test the cheaper (and firmer-suspended) Pro or put a load in a tray.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
LDV has won plenty of support for its commercial vans in Australia, so it’s no surprise to find it taking on the lucrative ute market. Built by China’s SAIC group, the T60 is imported locally by Ateco, the same firm responsible for bringing brands as diverse as Maserati, Lotus, Ssangyong and Ram Trucks to Australia
The T60 is a tricky car to grasp. No, it’s not nearly as polished to drive as models that have been refined for years, often tuned for Australian conditions. But LDV hopes to fix that in the future, with both a locally-developed suspension setup and more powerful engines in addition to an expanded accessories range.
Cementing itself as a value player is sure to get the T60 the attention it needs. Some customers will find a $20,000-plus saving with no safety compromise worth consideration.
People put off by the brand’s place as a newcomer might be won over by its five-year, 130,000-kilometre warranty that includes a replacement vehicle guarantee for any time lost to mechanical trouble.
But if its numbers that you need to scrutinise, there’s a few that fall short of the opposition, like the auto Luxe’s comparatively meagre 815 kilogram payload (the equivalent Ranger’s maximum is 950kg), shallow 300mm wading depth (the Ford will do 800mm) and slightly modest 3000 kilogram towing capacity (the HiLux and others can tow 3.5 tonnes).
For most worksites in Australia though the LDV T60 doesn’t come up short enough to rule it out entirely - and it’s sure to keep your accountant happy in the process.
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