It’s been over six months since we started driving the Chinese-built, short wheelbase LDV G10 van.
It’s still going strong and nothing has fallen off for those wondering, so at least it’s a solid proposition.
But it hasn’t all been peaches and cream, and it’s about time we revealed some of the G10’s shortcomings.
What’s it cost?
The price has gone up since our first drive.
Back then it was available from $23,802 driveaway, That figure is now $25,990 and that’s for the petrol version with a manual change.
The one to buy is the diesel automatic, however, and it will now set you back $31,490 driveaway (it was $28,838 ) — the price is less for ABN holders.
Standard kit includes air conditioning, power steering, cruise control in the auto, power windows, electric mirrors, 16-inch alloys, Bluetooth and a reasonable audio system with largish 7.0-inch touch screen.
A lift style tailgate is standard along with dual sliding rear doors, but side windows and a cargo barrier are extra.
Safety features include electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, driver and passenger airbags, roll movement intervention, reverse camera, rear parking sensors and tyre pressure monitoring.
But let’s not forget in this litigious, HR world in which we now live that it gets only three stars from ANCAP.
The all important cargo area has a capacity of 5.2 cubic metres and it can tote a full tonne — although fuel, occupants and accessories must be deducted from this figure.
The load area measures 2500mmx1590mmx1270mm, with 1278mm between the wheel arches.
What’s it go like?
The step up is relatively low compared with some vans and this is a desirable feature when you’re hopping in and out many times a day.
The seating position and driving experience are surprisingly car-like, as reported previously.
Ride quality is very good, with a turning circle of 11.8 metres, but cargo tends to move around if unsecured on the hard, slippery floor liner.
The manual is underpinned by leaf springs at the rear, while the auto gets a more sophisticated — and car-like — five-link coil suspension.
The 1.9-litre turbo diesel (1850cc in reality) is good for 106.5kW of power and 350Nm of torque, the latter from a lowish 1800 revs.
Drive is to the rear wheels and it can be paired with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic which adds $2500.
Performance with the auto is okay to a point, but it’s fairly noisy under load and exhibits woeful turbo lag in some scenarios.
Gear changes are smooth, with the ability to change gears manually using the shift selector, but it’s a a fairly superfluous feature.
The van struggles however when revs fall below the 1800 rpm boost point, say when forced to slow down for a tight, rising corner.
Waiting for revs to return and boost from the turbo with it takes patience.
What is not tolerable is the horrendous lack of engine response from a standing start — say at an intersection.
Picture this. Your waiting to cross a busy road. There’s a gap in the traffic and you tromp the accelerator.
Nothing happens, for three or four seconds literally, and it can be a nerve wracking experience when your have someone bearing down on your right — one might even say dangerous.
In manual form thediesel delivers fuel consumption of 8.3L/100 km while the auto returns a claimed 8.6L/100km from a 75-litre tank.
The van we’ve been driving now has close to 20,000km on the clock.
Initially, fuel consumption was high, but it’s been improving since hitting the 10,000K mark — although it’s never going to return its best in stop-start operation.
The standard lift gate is preferable to the optional barn doors because it provides some protection from sun and rain, and is simpler to operate.
The load area liner may be hard wearing but it is slippery and hard hard under knee, with six tie down bolts that protrude well above floor level making it difficult to slide heavy items freely.
Whoever thought this was a good idea should be shot and probably like many Chinese drivers we finally removed some spacer washers to bring down the height to floor level so they wouldn’t rip holes in boxes.
The rear sliding doors can be difficult to operate, needing the handle to be pulled straight out to unlock — they won’t respond at an angle.
While we’re discussing the doors, the lock catches inside operate in and up and down direction and can be triggered inadvertently by falling parcels.
This has happened several times and there difficult to reach from the other side with a full load between you and the door.
Now for the problem that is going to drive you nuts.
A major gripe, reported by many drivers of the G10, is the Bluetooth phone connection.
Sometimes our phone connects, sometimes it doesn’t, and must be reconnected manually.
Sometimes when you make an outgoing call the person at the other end can’t hear you.
And, if your phone is deleted from the system, the only way you can re-establish a connection is to go into your phone’s Bluetooth setup and delete any entries labelled SAIC (the system doesn’t differentiate between different vans).
Otherwise your phone will remain invisible to the van.
Then there’s the rear view camera, activated when the van is put into reverse.
Great idea and every van should have one, but most of the time the camera in the G10 is totally useless because of its location and glare from the windscreen above.
If you’re listening ANCAP, it may be time to take a look at this problem.
It’s not enough to just fit a camera, the camera needs to deliver a clear image at all times or the results could be tragic.
What we like?
Easy to get in and out of
Adequate performance most of the time
What we don’t?
Left hand blinkers
Slippery floor liner
Sliding doors difficult to operate
Tie downs protrude above floor level
Average 3-year/100,000km warranty
Bluetooth hit and miss
Terrible turbo lag
Reverse camera useless 90 per cent of time
Black contact masking trim on doors starting to peel
The bottom line?
You get what you pay for. The LDV G10 is relatively cheap and gets the job done. Why pay $10K or $15K more for a name brand? We’ll keep you posted with updates as we get to know the van better.