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LDV T60 2020 review: Trailrider 2: off-road test

Towards the budget end of the ute market is pretty busy and the quality of these cheaper and cheerful workhorses is improving all the time. 

The new Chinese-built LDV T60 Trailrider 2 has had a few minor styling changes, but the big news is the new smaller engine – at 2.0-litre – is smaller than before, but it's producing more power and more torque than its predecessor, which was a 2.8-litre engine.

So, is the new Trailrider worth considering as your next new ute? Read on.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The five-seat dual-cab Trailrider 2 is available with a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission

The manual variant is priced from $39,990 driveaway and $37,990 driveaway for ABN holders. 

The Trailrider 2 has a smaller engine than before, but it has more power and torque. The Trailrider 2 has a smaller engine than before, but it has more power and torque.

The auto variant, which we tested, is priced from $42,095 driveaway and $39,990 driveaway for ABN holders.

The auto’s standard features list includes a 10-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto), 19-inch black alloy wheels, selectable four-wheel drive, an on-demand rear diff lock, rear parking sensors, reversing camera and a 360-degree view camera. 

The Trailrider does not have front parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, or AEB.

The auto’s standard features include a 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto). The auto’s standard features include a 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto).

It also gets a nudge bar, black alloys, side steps, roof rails, sports bar and ‘Trailrider’ branding on the tailgate.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

In terms of styling changes over the previous Trailrider, the sports bar has been redesigned and the LDV logo on the front grill has been blacked out. 

The big Trailrider stickers that were on the sides of the previous Trailrider have been removed – and, I have to say, I don’t miss them.

In terms of styling changes over the previous Trailrider, the sports bar has been redesigned and the LDV logo on the front grill has been blacked out.  In terms of styling changes over the previous Trailrider, the sports bar has been redesigned and the LDV logo on the front grill has been blacked out. 

Elsewhere, it’s all previous Trailrider styling with roof rails, nudge bar, sports bar and sidesteps.

The Trailrider 2 is 5365mm long with a 3220mm wheelbase. It's 1900mm wide (with wing mirrors folded in), 2145mm wide (with wing mirrors extended), and 1850mm high. And it has a listed tare weight of 2035kg. 

How practical is the space inside?

The cabin is spacious and comfortable with a premium budget feel to it.

The cabin is spacious and comfortable. The cabin is spacious and comfortable.

It’s big and roomy in the back row, and there's plenty of head, knee and leg room across the seats. 

There's a fold-down centre arm rest with two cup holders, air vents and a 12 volt power socket. 

The back row has two top tether points and two Isofix points.

Upfront that premium budget feel becomes even more pronounced: the steering wheel is leather wrapped; the comfortable front seats are leather trimmed and they’re power-adjustable; and it all feels pretty well laid out and well put-together too. 

The back row has two top tether points and two Isofix points. The back row has two top tether points and two Isofix points.

That big 10-inch touchscreen dominates the centre console. We hooked up AppleCarplay no problem – but remember there's no Android Auto. (I only realised that after trying for ages to connect my Android Auto smartphone with no success.)

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The Trailrider 2’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine produces 120kW@4000rpm and 375Nm@1500-2400rpm and is matched to a six-speed auto. 

In terms of on-paper figures, it has improved on the previous gen’s 2.8-litre engine, which produced 110kW@3400rpm and 360Nm@1600-2800rpm, but it’s still no champion in the power-and-torque stakes.

The Trailrider 2’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine produces 120kW@4000rpm and 375Nm@1500-2400rpm. The Trailrider 2’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine produces 120kW@4000rpm and 375Nm@1500-2400rpm.

Besides that, the smaller engine and auto are generally a solid, if unspectacular, combination.

What's it like as a daily driver?

On road, the Trailrider is better than you might expect, but not as good as the hopeful among us might anticipate. 

The engine is noisy, the transmission can be a bit clunky, especially at low speeds, and it feels a little underpowered more often than it doesn’t and the ride – leaf springs at the rear – is a bit firm, but overall the Trailrider 2 is okay – especially when viewed in the context of the more affordable segment of the market in which it exists.

On road, the Trailrider is better than you might expect. On road, the Trailrider is better than you might expect.

However, the feature-packed and well-proven Mitsubishi Triton, which exists in the same budget-ish new dual-cab ute realm as the Trailrider 2, must be regarded as a very strong contender for your cash.

We experienced a few issues with the Trailrider 2 on test, ranging from ‘Not really a problem’ to ‘A potential concern’: 

‘Not really a problem’ – there are no grab handles for the driver. There are dedicated spaces for them, scooped into the ceiling, but no actual grab handles. I’m a big fan of grab handles, and there are some for everyone else in the cabin, except for the driver, and the back-row’s middle-seat passenger, of course.

‘A potential concern’ – there was an abrupt violent thump in the transmission, as if it was trying to shift from 2WD into 4WD of its own accord and I was driving on the blacktop at the time. (This also happened in the LDV T60 Luxe when I most recently drove it.)

It has a 12.6m turning circle so it can be a handful. It has a 12.6m turning circle so it can be a handful.

‘A potential concern’ – the Trailrider 2 lost all acceleration on a long, gently sloping uphill stretch of highway; I had my foot to the floor, no response, and the Trailrider 2 was bleeding speed the whole time. It was as if I’d taken my foot completely off the accelerator, but, as mentioned, I had it all the way to the floor. I pulled over, switched off, got out and did a walk-around of the vehicle, then resumed my travels, no worries.

What's it like for touring?

The Trailrider 2 does pretty well.

Steering is quite light and responsive and that’s handy at lower speeds and in low-range, four-wheel driving when you have to manoeuvre this substantial unit around in the bush. It has a 12.6m turning circle so it can be a handful.

Its new 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine does a good job; it’s is not the torquiest thing around in this slice of the market, but there's enough there to get the job done. 

Low-range gearing is decent, as is the traction control system, and there’s an on-demand rear diff lock, that self-engages when required at speeds under 30 km/h.

Steering is quite light and responsive. Steering is quite light and responsive.

Engine braking is good. Hill descent control is surprisingly smooth; it’s really even and fair in its delivery going down steep hills.

Its leaf-spring suspension at the rear is pretty firm and jittery over harsher corrugations, but that's what you'd expect in a ute. 

In terms of off-road angles, the Trailrider 2 has a 27-degree approach angle, 24.2-degree departure angle, and a 21.3-degree rampover angle. 

The Trailrider 2 does pretty well off-road. The Trailrider 2 does pretty well off-road.

All-round it's okay off-road, but there are a few trade-offs: it feels quite low – ground clearance is listed as 215mm – and it’s a lengthy ute with a long wheelbase so it often scraped its belly, even while traversing innocuous ruts or minor obstacles.

The Trailrider’s road tyres – Continental ContiSportContact 255/55 R19* – don’t do you any favours off-road either. If you're thinking about using this ute as a work or touring platform, throw on a decent set of all-terrains. (* Note: the spare is a 245/65R17 on a steel rim.)

Visibility out of the cabin is good and, if you need to see more, then you can always use that 360-degree view camera to show the view of the front, the rear and down either side of the vehicle.

And you've also got that approximation of a bird’s-eye view so you can check out how you’re going on the track. That big screen is impressive, but the functionality is less so; I struggled with it a bit and, please note, the image depicted on that screen is quite dark in anything other than perfect light – forget it if you’re parked or driving through mottled light (which is always the case in the bush) or a bit of cloud cover or there’s an overcast sky. 

If you're thinking about using this ute as a work or touring platform, throw on a decent set of all-terrain tyres. If you're thinking about using this ute as a work or touring platform, throw on a decent set of all-terrain tyres.

In general terms, the Trailrider 2 never feels as comfortably capable as a similarly priced Triton, and it’s never as refined or as stress-free, but you tend to have to pay more for those. But at this price point, the Trailrider 2 is solidly decent.

As for its touring suitability, the tub is 1525mm long, load height is 820mm, and it is 1510mm wide, but 1131mm between the wheel arches and it's 1430mm wide at the rear. 

There are four tie-down points in the tray, one at each corner, and the surface area is covered in a sturdy tub liner.

There are four tie-down points in the tray. There are four tie-down points in the tray.

It has a lockable Mountain Top roller cover, and while that does provide improved security, it reduces the versatility of the load space. At least the roller cover drum at the front end of the tray is compact and doesn’t take up so much load space.

The Trailrider 2’s official payload is listed as 865kg (on this occasion, calculated by the vehicle manufacturer as GVM minus tare weight); the original Trailrider has an official payload figure of 765kg (on that occasion, calculated by the vehicle manufacturer as GVM minus kerb weight).

It has a towing capacity of 750kg (unbraked) and 3000kg (braked), and a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 2900kg and a gross combined mass (GCM) of 5900kg. 

How much fuel does it consume?

The Trailrider 2 has a listed fuel consumption of 8.5L/100km. The previous-generation Trailrider had a claimed 9.6L/100km. So fuel efficiency is a bit better, at least claimed.

It was showing 10.1L/100km on the dash display this time, but I recorded an actual fuel consumption of 10.4L/100km – drive time included plenty of high- and low-range 4WDing.

The Trailrider 2 has a 75-litre fuel tank.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Every Trailrider 2 has a five-year, 130,000 kilometre warranty

Servicing is scheduled at six-month/15,000km intervals. LDV Roadside Assist covers the vehicle for the warranty period.

The LDV T60 Trailrider 2 is a decent ute, especially for the price, even though it'd be an even better value proposition if it was a few grand cheaper. 

It's easy enough to spend time in, it’s comfortable enough on road and it's capable enough off-road. 

It's not the most refined ute in the mob, not by a long shot, though you usually have to spend more money for that. 

But in the cheaper end of the dual-cab ute market, the Trailrider 2 is right up there. 

$42,095

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.6/5

Adventure score

3.6/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Price Guide

$42,095

Based on new car retail price