LDV T60 VS Ford Ranger
- Packed with features as standard
- Solid all-rounder
- Too-firm suspension (Pro)
- Resale value
- New powertrain is a beaut
- Suspension tweaks help around-town ride
- AEB in a ute? Great work!
- Highway ride too jiggly when unladen
- Options can push price up
- Sync 3 not perfect
A lot is riding on the LDV T60. The dual-cab-only ute range is spearheading a new generation of better-built and better-equipped Chinese utes and (very soon) SUVs, aimed at carving out their own slice of the lucrative Aussie work-and-play market.
It’s the first Chinese commercial vehicle to receive a five-star ANCAP rating, it’s well priced and packed with standard features and safety tech across the range, but realistically is that enough to make it an appealing proposition in the eyes of the ute-buying public? And to overcome the public's wariness about vehicles from the People's Republic? Read on.
|Engine Type||2.8L turbo|
As one of Australia’s best-selling vehicles month to month, Ford finds itself between a rock and a hard place when it comes to updating the Ranger line-up… does it dare mess with a winning formula, or should it push the boat out to try and claim a technological edge over its nearest rival, the Toyota HiLux?
The MY19 Ford Ranger update appears to plot a course right down the middle, offering key mechanical and safety updates with only the barest of bare minimum physical changes. Has Ford chosen the right path?
|Engine Type||3.2L turbo|
The LDV T60 is a big step in the right direction for Chinese-built utes and should go a long way to convincing Aussie ute buyers that these are finally a worthwhile consideration. Well priced and feature-packed, this dual-cab range exhibits a marked improvement in build quality, fit and finish and all-round drivability. Right now, the Chinese are not major contenders by anyone's estimation but at least they're moving in the right direction.
For our money, and for work-and-play versatility, the Luxe auto is the pick of the bunch; you get all the standard kit with a few nifty add-ons, including on-demand rear diff lock, chrome door handles and door mirrors, sports bar and more.
Would you consider buying a Chinese-built ute? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Park the MY19 Ranger next to an MY18 version, and only the train spotters will tell the difference externally. The key engineering changes, though, have made a real difference in the way that the Ranger presents as a privately bought family rig.
The suspension changes are most effective at lower speeds, and the new 2.0-litre twin-turbo engine is torquey, economical and quiet.
Add to that driver aids like AEB on the higher grades, and the Ranger is set to grace the top end of the vehicle sales charts for some time to come.
If we needed to narrow it down to one choice, we'd take the 2.0-litre XLT with the optional tech pack and black 18-inch rims. The fabric interior is great, and the pack gives the XLT the safety benefits at less cost than the Wildtrak.
Would you opt for the twin-turbo 2.0-litre Ford Ranger? Tell us in the comments below!
From the outside, the LDV T60 is not unpleasant to look at – part-chunky ute, part-SUV styling – but there’s nothing startlingly special about it, either. It has the scalloped sides of an Amarok look-alike, the sporty stretch bonnet of a HiLux wannabe and everything in between.
I like it for its lack of pretension, as if its designers had a beer down the pub, scratched out their ideas on a coaster as a bit of a joke and then they decided they were actually pretty good, so those guidelines have stuck.
The interior is all clean lines and big surfaces, especially the plastic everything in the Pro, which is not a bad thing as this tradie-targetting model has a real everyday working ute feel to it.
The cabin is dominated by the huge expanse of dash-top and the ute’s 10.0-inch touchscreen entertainment unit.
Not a lot to report here; chrome door handles and grille surrounds for XLT variants, along with a new front bumper skin on the Wildtrak, are about the extent of the exterior design changes.
Ranger’s interior images reveal a similarly short story. There is more black headlining through the range, while some of the interior finishes are more subtle and less reflective. The Wildtrak gets leather-accented seating as standard, while the XLT can be optioned with cowhide.
Side steps feature on XLT and Wildtrak, while body kits that include front spoilers, bonnet stripes and side skirts aren’t offered. A rolltop-type hardtop lid comes standard on the Wildtrak dual cab tray utility body, but a soft top tonneau is not included. There is a rear step bumper, though.
The Wildtrak misses out on the awesome wheel arch extensions that feature on the Raptor, sadly.
Dimensions remain the same for the MY19, including interior dimensions and dual cab tub dimensions.
If you’re looking for colours, there’s white, red, blue, silver, grey and black, while the Wildtrak comes in Saber orange. No green or yellow, unfortunately, and there’s no options for two tone paint. You can’t opt for a sunroof, either, and it isn’t offered with an off-road pack or dual battery option.
The cabin is neat and roomy with adequate storage space for driver and front-seat passenger; a lidded centre-console bin, big door pockets, a dash-height cupholder for driver and front passenger (although our supplied water bottles only fit in with a little bit of twisting and forcing) and a knick-knacks tray, replete with two USB ports and a 12V socket.
Those in the rear get door pockets, a centre armrest with two cupholders and a 12V socket.
The front seats are comfortable enough but lack support, especially at the sides; the rear seats are flat and workmanlike.
Interior fit and finish is a big improvement on what’s come before in Chinese-built utes and these build-quality positives may go a long way to helping convince Australia’s ute buyers that the LDV T60 is a worthwhile purchase – or at least worth considering.
The 10-inch touchscreen is clear, neat and simple to operate, although prone to glare. I did see one colleague struggling to get his Android OS phone working through his Luxe. (I didn’t even bother trying to hook up my iPhone; I’m a dinosaur like that.)
The LDV T60 is 5365mm long, 2145mm wide, and 1852mm high (Pro) and 1887mm high (Luxe). Kerb weight is 1950kg (Pro manual), 1980kg (Pro auto), 1995kg (Luxe manual) and 2060kg (Luxe auto).
The tray is 1525mm long and 1510mm wide (1131mm between the wheel arches). It has a plastic tub liner and four tie-down points (one in each corner) and two ‘tub rim anchor points’, which seem like a bit of a flimsy afterthought. Loading height (from tray floor to ground) is 819mm.
The TDV T60 has a 3000kg braked tow capacity (750kg unbraked); many rivals hit the 3500kg benchmark. Its payload ranges from 815kg (Luxe auto) to 1025kg (for the Pro manual). Towball download is 300kg.
One final quirk we should mention is that the two Pros we tested had the indentation for a driver-side 'Jesus!' handle, but no actual handle. Strange.
Again, there’s no real change over the MY18 model. There’s a small, deep centre console bin and an oddments tray under the centre console, along with two line-astern cup holders up front and two in a pull-down centre armrest in the second row of the dual-cab.
Wonder no more about how many seats the Ranger has; it’ll handle five passengers (in dual cab guise, anyway).
Speaking of the second row, rear legroom is sufficient for all but the tallest of passengers, while headroom is acceptable. The angle of the seat backs isn’t too vertical, either, which does present as an issue in some dual-cabs.
Bottle holders are present in the shallow door pockets, and there’s a tray on the top of the dash that sports a 12-volt socket.
There’s also a 12V socket in the tray. Speaking of which, the cab-chassis can obviously accept a steel tray, an aluminium tray or flat tray.
If you still think in terms of boot space - even for a ute - the cargo capacity of the Ranger’s styleside tray isn’t measured in litres, but in millimetres. At 1549mm long by 1560mm wide, the width drops to 1139mm between the wheel arches at the floor. A canopy is a common addition, too.
The dual-cab’s second row sports ISOFIX mounts for two baby seats, as well.
The Sync 3 system is offered as an option in the XLS and standard in XLT and Wildtrak, and while it works well on the whole, its speech recognition talents are on par with most of the others present in the industry… not terrific. If you learn the system’s intricacies, it gets better, but it’s still got a way to go before it’s truly intuitive.
It comes with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, but we found that it confused things when it came to navigation; plugged in, our iPhone would default to Apple maps, even if you’ve started a trip with the Ranger’s nav.
The Ranger’s front passenger seat, too, offers only fore/aft and seat back adjustment, but no ability to adjust for height. It didn’t get a positive rating from our passenger.
Price and features
In an age where each new vehicle seems to offer a mind-boggling variety of trim and spec levels, the LDV T60 range is a refreshingly small and simple one.
The diesel-only five-seater LDV T60 is available in one body style – dual-cab – and two trim levels: Pro, aimed at tradies, and Luxe, aimed at the dual-purpose or family recreation market. The range is limited to dual-cabs at the moment, but, at the launch LDV Automotive Australia did tease the arrival of single-cab and extra-cab models in 2018.
The four options are Pro manual, Pro automatic, Luxe manual and Luxe automatic. All are powered by a 2.8-litre common-rail turbo-diesel engine.
The base-spec T60 Pro, the manual, is $30,516 (drive away); the Pro automatic is $32,621 (drive away), the Luxe manual $34,726 (drive away), and the Luxe automatic $36,831 (drive away). ABN holders will pay $28,990 (for the Pro manual), $30,990 (Pro auto), Luxe manual ($32,990) and Luxe automatic ($34,990).
The ute’s standard features in Pro form include cloth seats, a 10.0-inch colour touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, automatic height adjusting headlights, 4WD with high and low range, 17-inch alloys with a full-sized spare, side steps, and roof rails.
Safety gear includes six airbags, two ISOFIX child-seat restraint attachment points in the rear seat, as well as a raft of passive and active safety tech including ABS, EBA, ESC, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, 'Hill Descent Control', 'Hill Start Assist', and a tyre-pressure monitoring system.
Above and beyond that, the top-spec Luxe gets leather seats and leather-bound steering wheel, electrically six-way adjustable and heated front seats, automatic climate control and a 'Smart Key' system with Start/Stop button, as well as an automatic locking rear differential as standard.
The Pro has a multi-bar headboard to protect the rear window; the Luxe has a polished chrome sport bar. Both models have roof rails as standard.
LDV Automotive has launched a range of accessories including rubber floor mats, polished alloy nudge bars, tow bar, ladder rack, colour-matched canopies, tonneau covers and more. Bullbars for the ute are in the pipeline.
While we’ll look mostly at the dual cab part of the mix in this test, the Ranger is also available in cab-chassis, single cab and super cab (spacecab or extra cab, if you like) variants, as well as 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains.
There are a total of 29 models in the Ranger range for 2019 across four grades. Six have been dumped - including the 2.2-litre, four-cylinder-powered 4x2 XL Hi-Rider and 4x4 double-cab manuals - while four have been added.
The price list remains surprisingly static across all trim levels, and of course how much you spend is up to you, but the RRP starts at $41,890 (up $300) for the 4x4 XL single-cab chassis manual, while as a guide the double-cab Wildtrak pick-up with the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel costs $1000 more at $60,590 (manual) and $62,790 (auto).
When you compare that most variants pick up extra specification vs the 2017 models, this is pretty good from a value standpoint. As well, Ford dealers will often have Rangers on the yard for a keen drive-away price.
All Rangers will benefit from a reworked front suspension setup that sees the front anti-roll bar moved from in front of the axle line to behind it, which has allowed engineers to reduce its diameter and increase its strength. This in turn means that softer front springs and shocks can be fitted.
All Rangers have power windows, power mirrors, central locking, cruise control, climate control air conditioning, multimedia touch screen with Bluetooth, too. There’s no subwoofer amongst the speakers in the Ranger’s sound system, and the radio CD player – indeed, the CD changer – has gone the way of the dodo. Haven’t you heard of MP3 or DAB?
And even though a DVD player used to be a great addition for kids, it’s all about iPads these days…
All 4x4s are fitted with an electronic differential lock, while the base model XL 4x2 Lo-Rider is the only RWD version to miss out on a limited slip differential. All models do get hill descent control, hill start assist, ESP and power steering.
The entry level XL features a darker interior treatment and very minor exterior updates that include chrome door handles and grille surround, along with an lift-assisted tailgate that reduces lift effort by almost half. The 118kW/385Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel and 147kW/470Nm 3.2L engines are carried over unchanged.
It also gets xenon, rather than projector, headlights.
The XLS gets the same set of updates, along with a tech pack that includes gadgets like front sensors, an optional $1950 Sync 3 pack with eight-inch multimedia screen with sat nav, dual zone climate control, digital radio and a smart key.
The XLT is the first of the 2019 Rangers to feature the model’s biggest update for the new year; the option to fit Ford’s latest 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that’s been plucked from the Ranger Raptor, alongside the tried and true 3.2-litre five-cylinder diesel.
The 157kW/500Nm engine uses Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission – as seen in both the Raptor and the Mustang GT – while the five-potter keeps the six-speed tranny. It’s a $1200 uptick to get four more gears, one less cylinder and 10kW/30Nm more oomph.
It’s now got keyless entry with push-button start, while an optional $1700 tech pack furnishes it with AEB with pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition within the navigation system and – in a first for a dual cab ute – automatic park assist.
There are also 18-inch alloys in black as an option, while LED daytime lamps, roof rails (no roof racks, though), a tailgate liner and HID headlights are included.
By way of model comparison, the top-drawer Wildtrak – which is like a sport edition - is offered with both the 3.2 and optional 2.0-litre diesels, and is also fitted with AEB that includes both obstacle and pedestrian detection modes.
Traffic sign recognition and active parking (including parallel) are added, along with LED driving lights in a new front bumper fascia. No LED headlights, unfortunately.
The easy-lift tailgate is also connected to the Wildtrak’s central locking system, and the black 18-inch rims can also be optioned.
Accessories like a bull bar, snorkel, nudge bar, ladder rack are an aftermarket affair, but a sports bar is offered on XLT grades and up, as is window tint. Floor mates? Argue the toss with your dealer.
If you just want a price list, this should help out a lot:
|XL single cab-chassis 2.2L, manual||$27,990|
|XL single cab-chassis 2.2L Hi-Rider, auto||$33,690|
|XL super cab-chassis 2.2L Hi-Rider, auto||$36,190|
|XL double cab-chassis 2.2L Hi-Rider, auto||$38,190|
|XL double cab pick-up 2.2L Hi-Rider, auto||$39,690|
|XLT double cab pick-up 3.2L Hi-Rider, auto||$50,290|
|XLT double cab pick-up 2.0L Bi-Turbo Hi-Rider, auto||$51,490|
|XL single cab-chassis 3.2L, manual||$41,890|
|XL single cab-chassis 3.2L, auto||$44,090|
|super cab-chassis 3.2L, manual||$44,390|
|XL super cab-chassis 3.2L, auto||$46,590|
|XL super cab pick-up 3.2L, auto||$48,090|
|XL double cab-chassis 2.2L, auto||$46,090|
|XL double cab pick-up 2.2L, auto||$47,590|
|XL double cab-chassis 3.2L, manual||$46,390|
|XL double cab-chassis 3.2L, auto||$48,590|
|XL double cab pick-up 3.2L, manual||$47,890|
|XL double cab pick-up 3.2L, auto||$50,090|
|XLS double cab pick-up 3.2L, manual||$49,190|
|XLS double cab pick-up 3.2L, auto||$51,390|
|XLT super cab pick-up 3.2L, auto||$56,190|
|XLT super cab pick-up 2.0L Bi-Turbo, auto||$57,390|
|XLT double cab pick-up 3.2L, manual||$55,990|
|XLT double cab pick-up 3.2L, auto||$58,190|
|XLT double cab pick-up 2.0L Bi-Turbo, auto||$59,390|
|Wildtrak double cab pick-up 3.2L, manual||$60,590|
|Wildtrak double cab pick-up 3.2L, auto||$62,790|
|Wildtrak double cab pick-up 2.0L Bi-Turbo, auto||$63,990|
|Raptor double cab pick-up 2.0L Bi-Turbo, auto||$74,990|
Engine & trans
The 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel makes 118kW and 385Nm, and is used mainly for the 4x2 models. It can be had with either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto, with the latter doing the best job of distributing the Ranger’s horsepower.
The 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel, meanwhile, makes 147kW and 470Nm, and uses the same two six-speed gearbox options.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel is the newest engine in Ford’s commercial roster, and debuted in the Transit last year. In the more highly tuned Ranger it makes 157kW and 500Nm, and is backed by a 10-speed auto.
All three engines use a diesel particulate filter system.
Even though some overseas markets offer a petrol motor version, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see it here; petrol consumption isn’t on Ford Australia’s radar. Neither is EV, and LPG is not possible, either.
Our 150km test of the 2.0-litre Wildtrak returned a dash-indicated fuel consumption average of 9.4L/100km, against claimed figures of 7.4L/100km on the combined fuel economy cycle. The Wildtrak 3.2’s fuel economy is rated at 8.9L/100km, and the XL dual-cab 4x4 2.2’s mileage is 8.0L/100km.
When it comes to manual vs automatic fuel consumption, the manual 3.2 returns 8.3L/100km.
The Ranger has an 80-litre size tank as standard, while a long-range fuel tank is an aftermarket proposition.
Weight wise, the 2.0-litre Wildtrak comes in at 2246kg at the kerb, and 3200kg gross vehicle weight (or GVW), meaning it’s able to deal with a payload / load capacity of 954kg. Its gross combined weight when hauling a trailer, therefore, is 6000kg.
We did more than 200km around Bathurst in some LDV T60s, most of it in a Pro auto, and much of the drive program was on bitumen. A few things became obvious quite early on and, later, a few quirks popped up as well.
The 2.8-litre four-cylinder VM Motori turbo-diesel never seemed to struggle – on the blacktop or in the bush – but it almost felt too relaxed, as it was slow to respond and wind up, especially when pushed on long, steep hills.
However, a bonus of that under-stressed engine is that it is very quiet – we had the radio off and engine-related NVH levels were impressive. There wasn’t even any wind-rush from the big wing mirrors.
The six-speed Aisin auto trans is a smooth unit – no hard-shifting up or down – but there’s no real discernible difference in drivability between modes; Normal or Sport.
Ride and handling are adequate if unspectacular, although it turned in nicely – steering was very precise for something like this – and the ute held stable through long sweeping bends. Our tester was on 245/65 R17 Dunlop Grandtrek AT20s.
While our stiff-set Pro exhibited no arse-end skipping-around straight away, typical of an unladen ute, we did hit a few surprise lumps and bumps early on in the drive-loop and that got the back end jumping about in a brief but brutal manner.
As for the quirks, our overzealous ABS kicked in on several occasions for seemingly innocuous reasons when we tickled the brakes (discs all round) at lower and high speeds on bumpy stuff, which was concerning.
Secondly, a couple of journalists in a Luxe reckoned the blind-spot monitor in their LDV T60 failed to alert them to the presence of a passing vehicle.
While the Pro suspension was too firm (to cope with heavy loads, no doubt), the Luxe’s tended to wallow.
For off-roading enthusiasts, here are the numbers worth noting: ground clearance is 215mm, wading depth is 300mm, and front and rear departure angles are 27 and 24.2 degrees respectively; ramp-over angle is 21.3 degrees.
The launch off-road loops were more scenic than challenging but when we intentionally veered off-course and onto some steep hilly sections, we had the opportunity to check out the LDV T60’s engine braking (okay) and hill descent control (good).
The Pro auto was an easier drive over any off-road bits than the manual Pro was, as the light feel of its clutch and the loose throw of its gear-stick didn’t inspire confidence.
Underbody protection includes a plastic bash-plate at the front.
We tested a Wildtrak with the new 2.0-litre engine and suspension set-up over 150km, and we came away impressed. The 500Nm engine is the same spec as the one found in the Ranger Raptor, and while it won’t tear the hairs off your chest when you plant the foot, its performance – especially when combined with the 10-speed auto – saw it build speed evenly and confidently.
It holds pace going uphill, too, and it’s plenty strong enough for towing (we drove a stint with a 1200kg horse float attached). It’s still rated to tow 3500kg of braked trailer, just like the 3.2-litre model.
It’s impressively quiet and grumble-free for a diesel, and especially when comparing its noise output directly to the 3.2-litre five-cylinder. As well, the smaller engine feels stronger lower down in the rev range than the five-potter, though at the top, the 3.2 feels stouter at speed.
We didn’t put the two back to back across the 0-100 acceleration test, but our guess is that the performance figures would actually come out pretty evenly.
The retuned suspension is notably more compliant both front (coil sprung) and rear (leaf sprung) than the previous model, with a nicer front end and much more pleasant manners around town and under 70km/h.
Without a heavy duty load on board, though, it’s still a bit too brittle and unsettled at highway speeds, especially on less than perfect bitumen.
Steering feel is very light, and it takes a watchful eye to keep the Ranger on the straight and narrow. Its 12.7m turning circle is pretty ponderous, too.
We didn’t do enough dirt work to justify an off road review, but the Ranger’s capability and performance off road is well documented. The Wildtrak is fitted with highway-spec all-terrain tyres on its 18-inch alloy wheels, which still managed a wet, muddy loop of Werribee’s 4x4 facility perfectly well.
Smaller diameter 16-inch alloy wheels may be a better bet when it comes to tyre selection for pure off road work, and while some people may be thinking of fitting air suspension, it’s definitely not necessary.
We did test the wading depth of 800mm by traversing a river crossing that easily topped 600mm, while the ground clearance figure of 237mm is commendable, as well.
Its towing capacity tops out at pulling 3500kg of braked trailer, and a tow bar is standard on all models above the XLS 4x4.
The LDV T60 packs a lot of safety gear in for the price. It has a five-star ANCAP rating, six airbags (driver and front passenger, side, full-length curtain) and includes a raft of passive and active safety tech across the range including ABS, EBA, ESC, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, 'Hill Descent Control', 'Hill Start Assist', and a tyre-pressure-monitoring system. It has two ISOFIX points and two top-tether points.
Technical safety aids like auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection (on Wildtrak and optional on XLT), reverse camera, rollover mitigation, hill control assist and trailer sway control are all standard safety features. There is a tyre pressure monitoring system included as standard across the majority of the line, while lane assist comes as part of the XLT Tech Pack.
Ford now offers an extended warranty of five years as standard, with unlimited kilometre coverage.
Servicing the 2.0-litre dual cab 4x4 Ranger, as an example, will cost $2300 over five years, with service intervals at every 15,000km or 12 months. As an example, a 30,000km service will cost $555.
Don’t forget, though, if you bush-bash your Ranger, you’ll need more frequent, and possibly more expensive, services. Even it’s just a more frequent oil change regimen, it’ll help prolong the life of your Ranger.
If you’re wondering where the Ford Ranger is built, it comes from Thailand.
In terms of problems, common faults, issues and defects, the Ranger has been recalled ten times since 2010 for items ranging from improperly secured manual shifter cables (2015-16), a lack of heat shielding near the rear exhaust that could lead to fires if driven in long grass (2016-2018), and poor steering shaft welds (2018).
Previous owners have also noted reliability issues around the Ranger’s EGR coolers. On the whole, though, the ratings for the Ranger for durability have been solid. Make sure you keep your owner’s manual filled out for easier resale, and keep it to hand when you want to know about oil capacity and type.
If you’re wondering if the diesels use a timing belt or chain, we can tell you all three use the former. The 2.0-litre actually uses a belt-in-oil set-up.
Transmission issues, auto gearbox problems or transmission failures haven’t really cropped up as a concern, though injector changes at 100,000km are recommended by some repairers as a preventative measure.
Blowing black smoke is a thing of the past, while the oil pump, clutch and intercooler pose no issues if regular services are performed.
When it comes to resale value, a second hand 2016 XLT dual-cab that sold new for $57,000 could now fetch around $40,000 second hand if sold privately, depending on mileage and condition.