Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

LDV Deliver 9 2021 review: Mid-roof Auto GVM test

The Deliver 9 appears to draw a lot of exterior design inspiration from the Transit van.

Daily driver score

3.8/5

Tradies score

3.8/5

There are currently 14 rivals competing for customers in the Light Duty or LD (3501-8000kg GVM) segment of Australia’s heavy commercial vehicle market. Business buyers and fleet operators are thick on the ground here and competition for their business is fierce.

Chinese brand LDV, a division of the huge SAIC Motor conglomerate which is now the seventh largest automotive company in the world, recently joined this battle with its new Deliver 9 van range that’s priced to entice. We spent a week aboard one to see how LDV’s claim of superior value stacks up when there’s work to be done.

Price and Features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

Our test vehicle is the long wheelbase mid-roof, which is part of a three-model Deliver 9 range offering mixed wheelbase and roof height combinations. According to local distributor Ateco, the van’s unusual name has no real significance beyond the fact that in China it’s sold as the V90, so given Volvo’s existing V90 nomenclature, LDV changed the name to Deliver 9 in export markets.

Available only with a 2.0 litre turbo-diesel engine, the standard transmission is a six-speed manual or there’s the optional six-speed automatic like our test vehicle, which has an RRP of $44,726. Needless to say, that’s a massive saving compared to top-selling van rivals like the Ford Transit 350L LWB RWD auto at $54,090 and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 314 CDI LWB RWD auto at $66,240.

Colour choice is limited to Blanc White or Pacific Blue. It comes equipped with 16-inch steel wheels and 235/65R16C tyres with a full-size spare, plus checker-plate-pattern rubber flooring throughout, LED cargo bay lighting, big truck-style power adjustable and heated side mirrors with indicators, seating for three including an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat with fold-down inboard armrest and an multimedia system with big 10.1-inch touchscreen, two USB ports and Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto) to name a few. There’s even a rare and endangered cigarette lighter and ashtray.

The Deliver 9 wears 16-inch steel wheels. The Deliver 9 wears 16-inch steel wheels.

LDV also offers a $1500 options pack which adds 236-degree rear door opening (except mid-wheelbase model), blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assist and remote keyless entry with push button start.

Design – is there anything interesting about its design?

If imitation is the greatest form of flattery then Ford should be blushing, because the Deliver 9 appears to draw a lot of exterior design inspiration from the Transit van. It’s a substantial vehicle, as they tend to be in this weight division, with a 3750mm wheelbase and 14.2 metre turning circle, length of almost 6.0 metres (5940mm) and width of 2466mm. Its 2535mm height excludes it from underground and shopping centre carparks with typical height limits of 2.2 metres.

The rear-wheel drive chassis construction is simple and robust, with MacPherson strut front suspension, multi-leaf live axle rear suspension with supplementary rubber cones to boost support of heavy loads, rack and pinion steering and four-wheel disc brakes. There’s also ample use of hard-wearing black plastic on lower body sections where most scrapes and dents appear.

The Deliver 9 measures in at almost 6.0 metres long and 2.4 metres wide. The Deliver 9 measures in at almost 6.0 metres long and 2.4 metres wide.

The cargo bay is accessed by one kerbside sliding door and dual rear-barn doors with 180-degree opening. The walls are lined to mid-height and there’s no roof lining. Bright LEDs provide ample lighting and even though our test vehicle was not the high-roof model, there was enough headroom for tall adults to stand without stooping. 

The cabin has a spacious and airy feel, even with a crew of three aboard, thanks largely to a banana-shaped dashboard with ends that curve towards the windscreen providing wide entry access and passenger legroom which is unusually generous for a commercial van.

The cabin has a spacious and airy feel. The cabin has a spacious and airy feel.

The cabin has higher-grade look than you would expect at this price, with a tasteful two-tone blend of light/dark grey plastics and faux carbon fibre inserts on the dash along with comfortable, supportive seats with quality-feel fabrics.

However, there is room for improvement, as there’s no cargo protection for driver and passengers, no driver’s left footrest, crackly AM radio reception (too bad if you like talkback) and a poor-quality image projected by the reversing camera.

Engine and transmission – What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

LDV’s Euro 5-compliant 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel produces 110kW at 3500rpm and 375Nm between 1500-2400rpm, which is adequate but not class-leading. It also offers a choice of Eco and Power driving modes and auto stop/start. 

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel produces 110kW/375Nm. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel produces 110kW/375Nm.

The six-speed torque converter automatic is smooth-shifting and easy to use. It also has the option of sequential manual-shifting which can be handy at times when hauling heavy loads, particularly in hilly terrain to save the transmission from continually hunting for gears.

Fuel consumption – How much fuel does it consume?

The dash display was showing an average combined figure of 11.0L/100km at the end of our 290km test, with the auto start/stop function disabled and about a third of that distance hauling maximum payload. Our figure crunched from fuel bowser and tripmeter came in at 12L/100km, so you could expect a real-world driving range of around 660km from its 80-litre tank.

Practicality – How practical is the space inside?

Its 2358kg kerb weight and 4000kg GVM leaves a competitive maximum payload of 1642kg. It’s also rated to tow up to 2800kg of braked trailer but given the GCM figure (or how much you can legally carry and tow at the same time) is not published, we can’t tell you how much payload it can legally carry while towing that weight. 

We struck a similar problem testing a G10 LDV van as far back as 2017, when LDV could not provide the GCM despite a direct approach to the factory in China. Why such a fundamental figure must remain secret is a mystery to us and could be a deal-breaker if you need to tow and carry.

The cargo bay offers a competitive 10.97 cubic metres of load volume. The cargo bay offers a competitive 10.97 cubic metres of load volume.

The cargo bay offers a competitive 10.97 cubic metres of load volume. Its load floor’s 3413mm length, 1800mm width and 1366mm between wheel housings means it can easily carry two 1165mm-square Aussie pallets or up to four 1200 x 800mm Euro pallets, held in place by a choice of eight sturdy load anchorage points. There’s also a small cave above the cabin which is ideal for carrying straps, ropes, load padding, tarps etc.

There’s more than ample cabin storage too, with large-bottle holders and two levels of storage in each front door, numerous nooks of different shapes and sizes across the dashboard including a driver’s cup holder, plus a single glove-box and large overhead storage shelf with central sunglasses holder.

There’s are large-bottle holders and two levels of storage in each front door. There’s are large-bottle holders and two levels of storage in each front door.

Pivoting the two passenger seat base cushions forward reveals another big storage area beneath them. The centre seat backrest also folds down to reveal a handy work desk on the back if it, which includes two cup holders. Overall, there’s smart use of space here.

What’s it like as a daily driver?

It’s pleasantly civilised to drive unladen, even on bumpy roads. With rock-hard tyre pressures (front 51psi, rear 71psi) recommended for load-carrying, the unladen ride remained disciplined and relatively smooth, so LDV has done a good job with the suspension tuning.

We were also pleasantly surprised by the low internal noise levels, not only in city and suburban driving but also at highway speeds. We can only assume that the load floor’s thick rubber flooring, which also covers the rear wheel housings, is effective in reducing the higher noise levels typically experienced in vans without cabin bulkheads like this one.

There are clear eye-lines to the door mirrors and the view through the rear doors using the central mirror is also uncluttered. There’s evenly-balanced elbow support for the driver between the fold-down inboard armrest and door moulding. However, we did miss having a left footrest.

The cargo bay is accessed by one kerbside sliding door and dual rear-barn doors with 180-degree opening. The cargo bay is accessed by one kerbside sliding door and dual rear-barn doors with 180-degree opening.

With maximum torque available across a broad band between 1600-2400rpm, the engine displays good flexibility in city and suburban driving, even though it lacks the instant punch of rivals like the Transit’s stellar 2.0 litre EcoBoost engine when operating in its peak torque zone. The engine only needs 2000rpm at 100km/h and 2250rpm at 110km/h, but the degree of push required on the accelerator pedal to maintain it feels like it’s punching above its weight a little in either drive mode.

Our only major gripe is the adaptive cruise control. Usually these systems will automatically resume their pre-set speed, after being given clear road ahead following a lane change from behind a slower vehicle. However, our test vehicle required tapping the accelerator each time a lane change was made to resume the set speed. It also required this reset technique after downhill braking, so some refinement here would be welcome.

What’s it like for tradie use?

We maxed-out on GVM for this test, with more than 1.5 tonnes in the cargo bay plus driver equalling the 1640kg payload limit. The rear leaf springs only compressed 45mm, with the rubber booster cones providing a second stage of load support. The front end dropped 7.0mm, which maintained a fairly level ride height.

It rode well with this load on board, maintaining good directional stability and soaking up the largest bumps on a variety of road surfaces. The engine also proved competent on our 2.0km 13 per cent gradient set climb at 60km/h, with the auto self-shifting down to third gear and 2600rpm for the climb to the top. However, it didn’t feel like it had much steam in reserve, given the accelerator pedal was not far from the floor the whole way. 

The Deliver 9 can easily carry two 1165mm-square Aussie pallets. The Deliver 9 can easily carry two 1165mm-square Aussie pallets.

Engine-braking on the way down, in a manually-selected second gear, also produced minimal retardation on overrun, requiring plenty of braking to avoid exceeding the 60km/h limit. However, this was not unexpected and typical of type, given the engine’s small cubic displacement and the sizeable payload it was trying to restrain. 

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

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

LDV’s national network of 82 dealers inspires more confidence than the three years/160,000km warranty, which is less than the major players – but then its purchase price is much lower too. Scheduled servicing is six months/5000km then 12 months/35,000km whichever occurs first and 12 months/30,000km after that. Capped-price servicing program of $1895 covers the first three years or 95,000km whichever occurs first.

It has its flaws, like any vehicle, but it’s not as far away from segment leaders in terms of refinement and performance that its bargain-basement pricing might suggest. Whichever way you look at it, this is a lot of van for not a lot of money.

$44,726

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.8/5

Tradies score

3.8/5
Price Guide

$44,726

Based on new car retail price

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.