Ride, Handling & Performance
Interior Comfort & Practicality
Technology & Safety
Value & Ownership
Utes continued to be a lucrative market segment in 2019. Last year, the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger were the most popular new cars in Australia. The promise of versatility and the often overplayed ‘lifestyle’ aspect of ute ownership remains genuine showroom bait to lure buyers.
While the HiLux and Ranger are popular, they’re expensive which has opened up opportunities for more affordable models to enter the sales contest. Brands like the reborn SsangYong and the relatively unheard of LDV have emerged in the space beneath the market’s high flyers.
Getting an LDV to review has proven difficult. The brand’s communications department has been unresponsive to our emails. Luckily, we have been presented the chance to assess the 2020 LDV T60 Luxe variant through unconventional means.
We have been very keen to drive the T60 to see how it compares to our SsangYong Musso, so we welcomed the opportunity.
LDV is a growing brand in Oz, last year the marque sold 3529 T60 utes according to VFACTS data. Not a bad effort considering the dealer network is still relatively small with only 78 locations.
Buyers have the choice of two 4x4 T60 models – the Pro and Luxe with prices starting at $28,990 drive-away for a Pro manual. Technically, LDV’s lowest drive-away pricing is for ABN holders, however, private buyers will have no problems getting the same deal or better.
Our Luxe automatic test car is listed at $35,490 drive-away which makes it cheaper than any of the established players. Price-wise, buyers should be cross-shopping this with the Musso.
Both T60 variants get blind-spot monitoring, six airbags, tyre pressure warning, ISOFIX points, rear parking sensors, 17-inch alloy wheels, a tub liner, side steps, roof rails, automatic height adjusting LED headlights, cruise control, a digital speedo, and a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The higher-grade Luxe adds a unique suspension tune, an automatic locking rear differential, plenty of unnecessary chrome garnish, a sports bar, keyless entry and push-button start, leather seat trim, electronically adjustable front seats with heating function, a 360-degree camera system, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers and proper rear air vents.
While the T60 carries a five-star ANCAP safety rating (tested in 2017), it misses out on autonomous emergency braking. 
At first glance, the T60 looks good, the large body offers an inoffensive design that wouldn’t be out of place parked next to the segment's big names. But closer inspection reveals there’s still work to do. The fit and finish are off the pace, the visible wiring behind the rear bumper doesn’t scream build quality. Neither does the poorly fitting tub liner.
On the inside, things do improve slightly. The layout, presentation and packaging are all noteworthy, though the materials are the same cheap, scratchy plastics like those still decorating the D-Max. Given the price, it’s unreasonable to expect premium surface coverings.
The most annoying aspects of the cabin are the lack of telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel, and the awful brightness level of the infotainment screen. Even a moderate amount of glare renders it useless.
When it comes to rear-seat space, the T60 has an advantage. An acreage of leg and headroom is available to those travelling in the rear, taller adults have nothing to fear. Along with the air vents, rear passengers also get a 12V/120W outlet, good-sized door bins and a fold-down centre armrest with cup holders.
Moving to the drive, the T60 is powered by a VM Motori-developed 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produces 110kW and 360Nm. Put those numbers next to any mainstream rival and the T60 appears underpowered. Our tester used the six-speed automatic to put the power down. A six-speed manual is available.
It’s a gruff sounding engine, reminiscent of agricultural diesel units of days gone by. Even at idle, it’s a sound that feels out of place in 2020.
Around town, performance is acceptable, though off the line acceleration is slow thanks to the turbo lag. The lack of thrust is especially noticeable when attempting an overtaking manoeuvre at highway speeds.
The steering is surprisingly good, it’s perfectly weighted and accurate. The brakes are also impressive, the T60 is equipped with rear discs instead of the usual drums most utes persist with.
Ride comfort lets the team down. The Luxe’s suspension tune is softer than that in the entry-level Pro model, LDV says it’s calibrated more for family and recreational duties. The idea is right, but the execution isn't quite right, the unladen ride comfort is lacking due to the amount of suspension travel over poor roads. The lack of control is off-putting.
Those wanting to carry some beef in the back should note the Luxe has a payload rating of 815kg, down from the 995kg the Pro model is able to carry in the tray. Both variants have a 3.0-tonne braked towing capacity.
Long-range comfort is never going to be the T60’s forte, the lack of powertrain and cabin refinement is going to quickly detract from the fleeting smell of fresh trim. This probably isn't going to be a deal-breaker for buyers upgrading from older HiLuxs, Tritons and Navaras. But those testing the latest models will immediately notice the LDV’s deficiencies in refinement.
While time didn’t permit a genuine off-road drive, the T60 is equipped with a part-time, shift-on-the-fly 4x4 system with proper low range gearing.
On test, consumption floated between 12-15L/100km. Even with a careful right foot, we were unable to get near the claimed 9.6L/100km.
In terms of ownership, LDV doesn’t offer a capped-price servicing program which is disappointing for a model looking to appeal to budget-conscious shoppers. Service intervals are set at 12 months/15,000km after an initial service at 5000km. LDV backs the T60 with a five-year/130,000km warranty with roadside assist.
After our drive, it’s hard to make the case for the Luxe model. Forgoing the extra kit and heading for base model Pro is a smarter choice and saves $4500 (at time of writing).
If you are happy to drop some extra coin, the SsangYong Musso is not much more expensive and offers better build quality, more performance, capped-price servicing and a longer warranty.
Please note: Our tester was not an LDV press car.
2020 LDV T60 Luxe Specifications:
Price from $35,490 drive-away Engine 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel Power 110kW @ 3400rpm Torque 360Nm @ 1600-2800rpm Transmission six-speed automatic Combined Fuel Consumption 9.6L/100km Tank Capacity 75L Length 5365mm Width 2145mm Height 1887mm Wheelbase 3155mm Ground Clearance 215mm Wading Depth 550mm Turning Circle 12.6m Kerb Weight 2060kg Service Intervals 12 months/15,000km after an initial service requirement at 5000km Warranty five-year/130,000 kilometre