Chinese carmaker LDV is making a serious play for the hearts and minds of Australia’s ute buying public.

So-called 4×4 dual cab sports utes now account for three of the slots in the list of top 10 selling vehicles in the Australian new car market.

LDV’s new T60 Max could well make that four with the launch of a seriously competitive twin turbo T60 that delivers 160kW of power and 500Nm of torque, the latter from a low 1500 rpm.

The new 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine, shared with stablemate the D90 SUV, makes T60 the most powerful four-cylinder diesel ute in Australia.

It eclipses the other frontrunners: Ford Ranger’s twin turbo 2.0-litre engine (157kW/500Nm), the 2.8-litre Hilux (150kW/500Nm) and Mazda BT-50/Isuzu D-Max (140kW/450Nm).

In fact, in terms of power, T60 runs second only to the Amarok V6 with 190kW/580Nm, not counting king-size offerings from RAM and Chevy.

“The Aussie ute market is mega competitive and no longer just about being a work vehicle.” LDV’s Dinesh Chinnappa said.

“Now they double up as a lifestyle choice, allowing owners to enjoy the great outdoors with their family and friends, and still have room for their camping gear, motorbikes, the ability to tow a trailer and so on.

“In this environment, power has become the critical battleground and the T60 Max mixes it with the best of them.”

T60’s twin turbo diesel is paired with a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission.

The adaptive ZF auto learns driving behaviour to ensure it is always in the correct gear to match the circumstances.

Fuel consumption is an impressive 9.2L/100km for the manual and 9.3L/100km for the automatic.

The suspension of both the Pro and and Luxe grades has been calibrated for Aussie conditions.

The T60 Max also comes with an Intelligent Real-Time Torque on Demand system from BorgWarner.

The driver can also manually select high or low-range 4WD for tough off-road conditions.

Five star-rated T60 Max continues to offer a strong suite of passive and active safety systems, including six airbags, Electronic Brake Assist (EBA) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Hill Descent Control (HDC).

It does not however include automatic emergency braking which has just been mandated by the Government and is due to come into effect in 2024.

Standard kit includes LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors and camera and Fatigue Reminder are all standard, while the higher spec T60 Max Luxe adds 360-degree Panoramic Camera, Lane Departure Warning, and an on-demand rear differential lock.

Inside, the cabin boasts a new 10.25-inch central touchscreen complete with Apple CarPlay or Bluetooth smartphone connectivity (but not Android Auto).

With many of the vehicle’s functions accessed through menus via the touchscreen, the cabin has been kept clean and simple.

Similarly, the air controls now sit flush under the touchscreen, continuing the clean-cut design.

Cruise control, climate control, and six-way electronically adjustable leather trim seats (in the Luxe) complete the package.

Pro can carry a 935kg payload, while the Luxe is rated at 750kg.

Both variants are rated up to 3.0 tonnes maximum braked towing.

Prices for the new T60 Max range starts with the Pro Manual at $33,990, Pro Automatic at $35,990, Luxe Manual $38,490 and Luxe Automatic at $40,490.

All prices are driveaway for ABN holders.

LDV T60 comes with a 5-year/130,000km warranty and Roadside Assistance.

 

CHECKOUT: Pickup power for LDV’s courier special

CHECKOUT: Two turbos for LDV’s 7-seater

LDV's red hot T60 ready to rumble

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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