Building on their reputation

by Andy Bryenton

There’s been a very favourable impression formed of the LDV brand here in New Zealand in recent years, with their no-nonsense, hard-working cargo vans becoming popular for those trades, which require reliable mass transit. Then came the T60 ute, a serious contender for king of the low-price modern light commercials. Now the line between work and play has been crossed.

LDV’s D90 sports utility is no crossover or mini version of the four-wheel-drive concept.

It’s a full-sized, full-featured machine with seating for the entire family, up to seven people. They’ll be safe, too as the new LDV comes with a five-star ANCAP rating after passing a battery of intensive tests.

It’s also available with real four-wheel drive, including automatically locking differentials, in an era when many vehicles pretend to have dirt and gravel chops — but come up short when it’s time to deliver.

The biggest surprise is that it’s not a thumping big diesel under the hood, but a 220 horsepower turbocharged petrol unit, developing 350Nm of torque to deliver a two-tonne towing capacity. That means no pesky road user charges, and plenty of ability to get the boat in the water at the same time, but a very different feel from benchmark SUVs like the venerable Land Cruiser.

Engine stop-start and clever ECU setting keep the fuel bill low, though there is a ‘sport’ mode, which will doubtless have plenty of appeal. In this category of 4×4, the equation is all about the cost to benefits analysis. How much vehicle do you get for your dollars? In the case of the D90, the answer is ‘plenty’, with touch screen infotainment, Apple and Android support, hill descent control, acres of interior space and topping it all, a five-year warranty. You could literally buy two of these, one in each colour available (white or black), for the cost of some other seven-seaters out there. All while remembering that the D90’s stablemates are becoming a bit of a byword for reliable hard work, deep into the odometer band.