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LDV D90 2020 review: Executive


What you're seeing right here is a large, seven-seat SUV that comes in without the large price tag. It's the LDV D90 Executive and it's the top of the range, at just $43,990 driveaway. That price is a huge temptation for anyone in the seven-seat SUV market who wants a proper 4WD at the lower end of the price spectrum.

The LDV is in competition with cars like the Holden Acadia and Ford Everest, both of which offer lower-end models at around this price. Does the Chinese-born LDV have what it takes to compete with Ford and Holden? I test drove it over seven days with my family to find out.

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✅ How does it look?

It's a hefty size, this LDV D90, so it's never going to look elegant, but it's on par with the others in the category. It has a sizeable front end and a bulky rear and there is car everywhere you look. A slight sense of refinement is visible around the grille and with the lights, so there's that, and they've pulled off the big car look quite well.

The interior looks good, considering the price and the amount of man-made materials used. It still feels stylish and pleasant to sit in on the road, especially when compared to the competition. In this top spec there are leather-trim seats, which are also comfortable and a leather steering wheel with a flat-ish bottom. I'm not a fan of the faux wood trim but the centre console is well designed and functional. The D90 is not a standout-looking car, but it's a bit more stylish than what you'd expect in this category.

  • It’s a hefty size, this LDV D90, so it’s never going to look elegant, but it’s on par with the others in the category. (image: Dean McCartney) It’s a hefty size, this LDV D90, so it’s never going to look elegant, but it’s on par with the others in the category. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • A slight sense of refinement is visible around the grille and with the lights. (image: Dean McCartney) A slight sense of refinement is visible around the grille and with the lights. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • They’ve pulled off the big car look quite well. (image: Dean McCartney) They’ve pulled off the big car look quite well. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How does it drive?

Here's where the fun starts. The LDV delivers a bouncy drive and almost feels like a van. At the beginning of the week I was quite put off because I didn't think it cornered well at higher speeds and wasn't confident about the handling. But as time wore on and I drove it over long distances - we actually went away for the weekend, about three hours out of Sydney - my fears were allayed and I did learn to trust it. So it does drive well, if unconventionally, and it just takes some getting used to.

The D90 is quite a heavy car, and with only a 2.0-litre turbo engine to power it you'll need to press firmly and often on the accelerator. It gets up hills perfectly fine but it sounds like there's a lot of effort under the bonnet to do so. Obviously,  it's not exactly quick off the mark, either.

The LDV delivers a bouncy drive and almost feels like a van. (image: Dean McCartney) The LDV delivers a bouncy drive and almost feels like a van. (image: Dean McCartney)

Fuel consumption is a claimed 10.9L/100km and my average over the week was 11.6L/100km, but I did do a lot of highway driving, much more than usual for my regular family reviews. It was a bit concerning when I was on the highway with no fuel stop in sight and the gauge dropped from just above the red lines, which indicate you need fuel soon, to totally empty in about 10 minutes. Luckily a petrol station turned up.

Parking this car was difficult, because there's just no getting around the sheer bulk of the car. It's hard to fit neatly anywhere and I found myself always a bit further than I'd like from the kerb. The steering isn't spot on, either, so you often think you've turned enough, but you haven't, and this is something that didn't improve over the week. There is a decent reverse-parking camera to help, though.

Parking this car was difficult, because there's just no getting around the sheer bulk of the car. (image: Dean McCartney) Parking this car was difficult, because there's just no getting around the sheer bulk of the car. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How spacious is it?

This is where the LDV D90 shines, because space on every level is great. In the front there was plenty of leg and head room, even for the taller members of my family, plus it's a nice wide cabin, so it feels big, too.

The second row easily fit my two children, aged six and eight, and they had enough room to play back there. I was comfortable at 161cm and there is lots of space for longer legs to fit in the second row, too. You can also fit in three child seats across this row, which I proved with two boosters and a baby capsule.

Second-row passengers get their own climate control and airvents, two cupholders in the centre armrest and pockets on the back of the front seats. (image: Dean McCartney) Second-row passengers get their own climate control and airvents, two cupholders in the centre armrest and pockets on the back of the front seats. (image: Dean McCartney)

Even the third row, which is usually a squish in most seven-seat SUVs, had ample room for me, and you can also move the second row forward if you need more space. Kids and taller teenagers should be fine back there.

The LDV's boot is also huge - with the back row down it's a whopping 1350L, and the Cars Guide pram only took up half the space. I haven't seen that happen before! With the third row up and in use, the boot size is still 343L, and you'll be able to fit groceries, school bags and even a small suitcase on the side.

Rear passengers get airvents and two cupholders as well. The rear air-conditioning is loud, though. (image: Dean McCartney) Rear passengers get airvents and two cupholders as well. The rear air-conditioning is loud, though. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

There are a few features that are a bonus to find at this price, including a power-operated tailgate and the fact that the parking brake turns off automatically as you drive off.

You'll find two cupholders in the front row, a large centre storage bin, a spot for keys and a phone and bottle holders in each door.

  • The LDV's boot is also huge - with the back row down it’s a whopping 1350L. (image: Dean McCartney) The LDV's boot is also huge - with the back row down it’s a whopping 1350L. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • The Cars Guide pram only took up half the space. I haven’t seen that happen before! (image: Dean McCartney) The Cars Guide pram only took up half the space. I haven’t seen that happen before! (image: Dean McCartney)

Second-row passengers get their own climate control and airvents, two cupholders in the centre armrest and pockets on the back of the front seats, while rear passengers get airvents and two cupholders as well. The rear air-conditioning is loud, though. Quite loud.

The D90 is also a very high car and I had to use the side step to get in and out, which is never really great if you're wearing heels.

The interior looks good, considering the price and the amount of man-made materials used. (image: Dean McCartney) The interior looks good, considering the price and the amount of man-made materials used. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ What's the tech like?

You can plug in for phone connectivity on the very large 12.0-inch multimedia screen, which syncs immediately with your phone so you can use maps for navigation and Spotify/streaming apps to listen to music and podcasts.

Be warned, however, that there is no volume button on the centre console, it's just on the screen and it's not easy to use. There's another one on the steering wheel, which clicks with every touch. Also, when you switch from, say, Spotify to the radio, for some reason the volume goes up to full level, so it's a huge rush to turn it down. Which isn't easy, because there is no knob.

You can plug in for Apple Carplay and Android Auto on the very large 12-inch multimedia screen. (image: Dean McCartney) You can plug in for Apple Carplay and Android Auto on the very large 12-inch multimedia screen. (image: Dean McCartney)

✅ How safe is it?

The safety equipment is of a high level in the LDV D90. Expect all the advanced-safety features to come standard, included in the price. So that's things like adaptive cruise control, auto emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and driver-fatigue monitoring.

You'll also get airbags to cover driver and front passenger, and side curtain airbags that extend all the way down to the third row. There are two ISOFIX points and three top-tether points to fix car seats in safely.

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The LDV D90 4WD Executive costs $43,990 driveaway. Fuel consumption is a claimed 10.9L/100 km and I averaged 11.6L/100km with a lot of highway driving, which uses less fuel.

The D90 is covered by LDV's five-year/130,000km warranty, service intervals are every 12 months/10,000km.

The D90 is quite a heavy car, and with only a 2.0-litre turbo  engine to power it you’ll need to press firmly and often on the accelerator. (image: Dean McCartney) The D90 is quite a heavy car, and with only a 2.0-litre turbo engine to power it you’ll need to press firmly and often on the accelerator. (image: Dean McCartney)


The Wrap

The LDV D90 is a decent competitor in this category, especially at the price. There is lots of interior space, the boot is huge, the safety is great and it drives... well enough. It's let down by a few things that could easily be refined to make it feel like a more quality driving experience.

I gave it a family rating of 7 out of 10 and my kids gave it an 8 - they love big cars.

Likes

Interior space
Boot space
Advanced safety

Dislikes

Bouncy drive
Hard to park

Scores

Nedahl:

3.5

The Kids:

4

$39,990

Based on new car retail price

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