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Driven: China’s LDV boosts V80 van range

Moving up: LDV’s V80 van range now has automatic transmission and commuter bus variants for greater customer appeal.

Automated gearbox and commuter bus variants expand LDV’s V80 range to nine

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LDV logo25 Feb 2015

CHINESE commercial vehicle specialist LDV has expanded its V80 van range in Australia by adding automatic transmission alternatives and the cheapest 11- and 14-seat commuter buses on the market.

Also in the pipeline is a cab-chassis V80 with a carrying capacity of more than 1.2 tonnes.

The new variants will take the V80 range from three to nine, greatly expanding the brand’s reach against the likes of Toyota’s HiAce and European entrants such as the Renault Trafic and Master, Ford Transit, Fiat Ducato and Volkswagen Transporter.

A product of China’s biggest auto manufacturer, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), the British-designed LDV vans are effectively being relaunched by independent importer Ateco Automotive after an aborted start under rival WMC in 2013.

LDV Automotive Australia general manager Dinesh Chinnappa said the V80 was “absolutely just the beginning” of LDV’s range in Australia.

He said Ateco was planning to add a Hyundai iMax/iLoad rival, the LDV G10, in June, as well as a one-tonne pick-up and SUV range next year.

Available until now only with a five-speed manual gearbox in three panel-sided goods van guises – short-wheelbase, long-wheelbase mid-roof and long-wheelbase high-roof – the V80 has gained an automated gearbox on all of those variants for a $2000 premium.

The single-clutch six-speed transmission – made in Italy by Magneti Marelli – is the same unit as used by some of Europe’s biggest van-makers such as Fiat and Renault.

The transmission is standard equipment on the V80’s new bus variants that come in short- and long-wheelbase lengths with 11 and 14 seats respectively.

Like all V80 variants, the buses are powered by a 100kW/330Nm 2.5-litre turbo-diesel sourced from VM Motori.

While Toyota’s top-selling, 12-seat HiAce Commuter Bus starts at $53,490 plus on-road costs for the 2.7-litre petrol version, the V80’s diesel-only 11-seater is priced at a super-sharp $39,990 driveaway for ABN holders.

The bigger, 5700mm-long 14-seater – which gains a high roof along with the extra pews on the longer wheelbase – is $46,990 driveaway.

Both come with dual sliding side doors, rear barn doors and similar a level of equipment that includes dual-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, an electric-operated passenger step, eight-way adjustable driver’s seat and rear parking sensors.

Although the 14-seater is about 300kg heavier than its smaller sibling, fuel economy is said to be the same at 9.4 litres per 100km on the combined test cycle.

Brakes are 294mm ventilated discs on the front and 304mm solid discs on the rear.

As before, the V80 panel-sided goods van range starts at $29,990 driveaway for the manual short-wheelbase unit and – now – $31,990 for the automated manual version.

Most of its diesel-powered rivals start at about $36,000-38,000.

The cab-chassis V80 is due to arrive in limited numbers in about June as a toe-in-the-water exercise to test the market.

To be available with or without a tray, the cab-chassis V80 have the same powertrain as the vans.

It is designed to appeal to customers for whom a conventional one-tonner is too small, in both weight-carrying capacity and tray size.

The V80 can carry loads of more than 1200kg, and items more than three metres long. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but motor-home builders are already said to be interested.

All LDV V80s come with a three-year, 100,000km warranty and roadside assist.

LDV V80 pricing*
SWB$29,990
SWB (a)$31,990
LWB mid-roof$34,990
LWB mid-roof (a)$36,990
LWB high-roof$36,990
LWB high-roof (a)$38,990
SWB 11 seat bus (a)$39,990
LWB 14 seat bus (a)$46,990
*ABN holder driveaway pricing.

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