LDV has been preparing to launch its forthcoming D90 SUV by putting two engineering vehicles through their paces in New South Wales ahead of the new model's reveal in production trim at the Shanghai motor show next week.
The D90 will likely go on-sale in Australian showrooms by the end of this year, according to a spokesperson for local LDV distributor, Ateco Automotive.
This arrival follows LDV's upcoming October launch for the T60 one-tonne utility – of which the new SUV shares its underpinnings and many of its safety technologies.
An all-new platform with a high-tensile steel ladder-frame chassis will be employed by both models, while power is expected to be provided by a 2.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine.
A manual gearbox and automatic transmission will be on offer, as well as the choice of 4x2 or 4x4 driveline.
Competition for the D90 will be fierce as the Australian market already offers other ute-based SUVs like the Ford Everest (Ranger), Holden Trailblazer (Colorado), Isuzu MU-X (D-Max), and Toyota Fortuner (HiLux).
Despite their heavy camouflage, the engineering mules appear to largely mirror the exterior styling of the D90 concept that was revealed at the Beijing motor show last year.
However, the rear 'suicide' doors have been replaced with a more conventional set-up, while the front fascia with its three-bar grille design adopts a more conservative look.
Measurements of 5100mm (length), 2000mm (width) and 1900mm (height) mean the D90 concept was slightly larger than the segment-leading Mitsubishi Pajero Sport – which is based on the Triton.
An engineering team of at least 20 people is currently on hand to assist with adjustments to the suite of electronic driver-assist systems the D90 is fitted with, which includes road sign recognition and driver fatigue alert.
It is evident that by investing so heavily in local engineering calibration Ateco Automotive and SAIC Motor are intent on seeing the T60 and D90 achieve the maximum five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
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