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ONE L OF A VALUE PROPOSITION (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

British van brand LDV has returned to the commercial vehicle market with this large-segment V80 model. Jonathan Crouch checks out what's on offer.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 62

No, of course LDV's V80 doesn't have the sophistication of the volume players in the large van segment. It wouldn't do because it costs a fraction of what those vans are priced at. Yet it will probably serve the needs of your business just as well. In short, if you need profit more than polish, this contender could be worth a try.

Backgroundword count: 160

If you're familiar with the UK van sector, you'll probably be familiar with the LDV name and might well know that the company succumbed to financial pressures and closed for business in 2009. Well in 2016, the brand was re-launched, having been bought by Chinese automotive giant SAIC, the seventh largest vehicle manufacturer in the world. This conglomerate has big plans for the marque that will see the future introduction of all-new medium and large-sized van models as well as a pick-up. For the time being though, it must campaign with the Maxus large segment van model that LDV's previous owners were selling when the receivers turned up. SAIC have re-badged this design as the 'V80', spruced it up a bit and put it on sale for the kind of money that would only buy you a potentially quite ropey secondhand version of a competitor in this segment. Does the proposition make sense? That's what we're here to find out.

Driving Experienceword count: 186

Power for the V80 comes from a 2.5-litre CDi common-rail diesel unit that's only available in 135bhp form matched with a 6-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. The noise of this unit betrays its age, but once you get going, refinement is reasonably acceptable and there's quite enough torque to pull the heavy loads that likely buyers will need to shift, reducing the need for frantic gear swapping when a steep incline is encountered. Get behind the wheel and the engine's refinement is well up to scratch. It idles smoothly with vibration in the cab well suppressed and at motorway speeds, the engine's note is far from intrusive. The 120bhp option is definitely worth paying extra for if you plan on making the most of the Maxus' payload capacity but the smaller unit would be adequate for lighter duties. On starting both the Maxus engines, you have to wait for the glow plug light to extinguish before twisting the key. It's a process that's virtually unheard of in vans nowadays, a quaint throwback to models of yesteryear and one that could easily become irritating over time.

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Category: Vans and Pickups

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