Car reviews - LDV - G10 - Diesel
Earnest diesel engine, sharp looks, simple and attractive dash layout, price
Room for improvement
Uncomfortable seating position, clunky manual gearbox, protruding tie-down points in rear, feels cheap and tinny
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16 Mar 2017
Price and equipment
AT $28,990 before on-roads, the LDV G10 diesel undercuts all its rivals in the 2.5- to 3.5-tonne van segment, despite not even being the cheapest G10 available (that honour goes to the manual petrol version priced at $25,990 driveaway for ABN holders).
Its nearest rivals include the Fiat Scudo from $31,000, the petrol Hyundai iLoad from $32,790 ($38,790 for the base diesel), $34,470 for the petrol Toyota HiAce ($37,530 for the diesel) and $34,490 for the short wheelbase 66kW Renault Trafic.
Other competitors include the Mercedes-Benz Vito from $36,990, Volkswagen Transporter from $38,390 and the Ford Transit from $38,790.
On price, the G10 is the pick of the lot, but as is often the case for relatively new Chinese brands, competitive price points are needed to combat unknown reputations for quality and reliability.
Standard equipment in the G10 diesel includes air-conditioning, four-speaker stereo, power windows and mirrors, multi-function colour touchscreen with Bluetooth, USB, auxiliary, CD and SD compatibility, AM/FM radio, 12V port, tilt-adjustable steering column, remote central locking, 16-inch alloy wheels with full-size steel spare, rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, two airbags and sliding side doors on both sides of the cargo area.
Our G10 came with a metal cargo partition barrier rated at 60kg, covered with a plastic/tarp sheet to separate the cabin and cargo area. Cargo space is 5.2 square metres, and comes with 10 tie-down points. However, two were taken for attaching the cargo barrier.
It has a 1030kg payload and 1500kg braked towing capacity, reduced to 750kg unbraked.
Styling is not a factor that business owners would prioritise when picking a work van, but the G10 remains one of the most attractive options on the market with its smart and front fascia, alloy wheels and sleek profile.
While fairly light-on in comfort and convenience features, the G10 ticks most boxes for what is required for day-to-day cargo transportation.
Satellite-navigation would have been useful, but the inclusion of a rear-view camera on the segment’s most affordable diesel model proved handy.
Stepping into the G10 for the first time, we were pleasantly surprised with its clean-cut, classy looking interior that would not look out of place on some of its more expensive rivals.
The dashboard has a clean, symmetrical look with the embedded touchscreen with infotainment switchgear nestled underneath. The infotainment system is easy to use, and connecting a smartphone was effortless.
Media compatibility includes Bluetooth, a CD player, USB, auxiliary, and SD card ports, as well as a single 12-volt socket.
Music is piped through four in-cabin speakers, and like many utilitarian vehicles, the sound can struggle against the cabin noise and rattles that come with everyday driving.
Located next to the gear stick is LDV’s easy-to-use air-conditioning system control, with a small information screen surrounded by silver-plated buttons and a temperature adjustment knob. Air is blown through the cabin via four front-facing ducts, as well as the usual windscreen and foot-well vents.
Front storage comes in the form of a small glovebox, two cupholders that fold out from the dashboard, two door bins on each door – one large and one small – a pair of sunglasses holders, and a large, open storage tray between the front seats that is broken up into smaller sections and is useful for wallets, phones and other knick knacks that end up in your pockets during a day’s work.
The steering wheel features multi-function buttons and is tilt adjustable.
However, it does not have a reach adjustment.
Grab points help hoist occupants into their seats, but once inside, the G10’s cloth seats struggle for comfort and ergonomics.
The base of the seat tends to sit too flat, almost as if it is leaning slightly forward, while the cargo barrier prevents the backrests from reclining enough to be comfortable for those who may suffer from a bad back, although we have been assured the cargo barrier is in fact adjustable and can be moved back to allow for further seat reclining. Also, in many cases, the person buying the vehicle is not the one driving it.
Moving into the rear, the G10 is accessible by sliding doors on both sides, as well as a lifting tailgate at the rear. Four wall lights illuminate the spartan cargo area, while 10 tie-down points are situated on the floor, two of which were used on the cargo barrier.
The tie-down points are one of the most disappointing aspects of the G10, as they are not embedded into the van’s floor, but rather protrude above the floor by about an inch, meaning that sliding anything in and out of the van is a risky proposition due to the danger of scraping along the tie-down points.
It was a big let-down in an otherwise competent interior package, and one that may force owners of businesses that involve sliding flat-packed items in and out of their van to consider one of the G10’s rivals.
Engine and transmission
Powering the G10 is a 1.9-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine making 107kW at 4000rpm and 350Nm between 1800-2600Nm, mated to six-speed manual transmission and sipping 8.7 litres of fuel per 100km.
The oil-burning unit is certainly the pick of the three-pedal options, with the petrol alternative an anaemic 2.4-litre Mitsubishi-derived aspirated four-cylinder unit that produces a paltry 105kW/200Nm paired to a five-speed manual and priced at $25,990 plus on-roads.
In our time with the vehicle, the engine proved to be a capable unit, pushing the G10 along with minimal fuss, albeit noisily in a van with minimal insulation.
Torque comes in surges through the gears rather than in a linear, smooth fashion, but the low-end grunt is a useful addition for those looking to travel with a full payload.
The transmission is easy enough to use but the gearbox has a clunkiness to it that can become tedious over time for those driving it, and can lead to missed gears if you are not careful.
However, like the uncomfortable seats, that may not necessarily be a problem for the business owner who spends no time driving the vehicle.
Overall, the G10 diesel’s engine gets a tick for sheer value, as well as being a massive step up over its petrol sibling.
Ride and handling
With a one-tonne payload and leaf-sprung rear suspension, the G10 was never going to be a magic carpet ride. Unladen, the G10 bounces around, the metal cargo barrier providing a soundtrack of shakes and rattles that adds to an already noisy cabin.
Unfortunately, in our time with the G10 we didn’t get to test it with a full load in the back, but no doubt the suspension would have softened, making the drive a little less bone-jarring.
The G10 rode as well as you’d expect from an entry-level van, with no other major problems or gripes to speak of.
It handles well for a vehicle of its size, feeling smaller than it really is while taking corners and moving about town with ease.
Obviously, there is plenty of body roll and you can’t throw it around like a hot hatch, but for a cheap Chinese offering it is easy to drive.
Safety and servicing
The G10 only comes with two airbags – one frontal airbag each for the driver and passenger – with other safety tech including electronic stability control and rollover stability control.
No test has been done on the G10 by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), with the only vehicle tested in the Chinese manufacturer’s stable being the larger V80, which managed only three stars when it was tested in September 2015.
With only two airbags for occupants, a five-star rating would be an impossible task for the G10.
The G10’s warranty extends to three years or 100,000km – whichever comes first – and includes roadside assistance.
As the cheapest diesel-powered van on the market, the LDV G10 offers a compelling package for those looking to haul a load on the cheap.
The interior is spiffy, the van itself looks great, and the engine offers earnest performance that has enough torque to handle a proper amount of cargo.
Negative aspects such as the clunky manual transmission and uncomfortable seating position can be overlooked, especially if the person purchasing the van is not the one driving it.
However, the protruding tie-down points are certain to scare away buyers who need to slide cargo in and out, and could be the deciding factor.
Furthermore, the G10’s questionable safety credentials may disqualify it for businesses who demand a five-star rating for their fleet vehicles.
Overall, the G10 is a high-value proposition for van buyers, and is the benchmark for value – diesel or not. Anyone looking to buy a commercial van should at least test the Chinese cargo-lugger before forking over their hard-earned cash.
Renault Trafic L1H1 SWB 66kW from $34,490 plus on-road costs
Renault’s entry level variant of the brilliant Trafic range offers quirky French packaging, a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine, sweet six-speed manual transmission and a three year/200,000km warranty. However the 66kW/260Nm can be underwhelming, and the extensive options list can easily see the asking price creep upwards.
Fiat Scudo from $31,000 plus on-road costs
The sole variant of the range, Fiat’s Scudo is the closest competitor price-wise to the G10, and packs an 88kW/300Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-pot unit mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The Scudo is also getting long in the tooth, with the current version on sale since July 2008.
Hyundai iLoad Liftback 2.5L from $38,790 plus on-road costs
Hyundai packs a five-year/160,000km warranty, four airbags and 7.0-inch touchscreen into its iLoad van, but its manual diesel variant comes with just 100kW of power and 343Nm of torque – 25kW and 98Nm less than the more expensive automatic version.
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