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LDV G10 2020 review: Diesel automatic

The LDV G10 is one of the most affordable vans on the market. But do you get what you pay for?

Daily driver score

3/5

Tradies score

3.7/5

The LDV G10 arrived on the scene in the van segment a few years ago, with the aim of upsetting the equilibrium.

It was a budget-priced, Chinese-made mid-size van with its target set squarely on appealing to customers who might have wanted a HiAce, but couldn’t afford one.

After almost four-and-a-half years on the market in Australia, the LDV G10 is better than ever. It has seen new additions in the cabin, more comfortable seats, and still offers big value for money.

But with the van market moving forward at pace, does the LDV G10 offer appeal beyond the sticker price? We tested the diesel auto model to find out.

Design - Is there anything interesting about its design?

The more you see LDV G10 vans, the more regular they look. Familiarity breeds ignorance, I guess, but I still think the G10 looks smart. 

It isn’t quite as boxy as some, with its sleeker front-end styling and almost sedan-like tail-lights helping it stand out from the ‘box-on-wheels’ stigma. It gets 16-inch alloy wheels as standard, and has halogen headlights and misses out on daytime running lights.

The more you see LDV G10 vans, the more regular they look. The more you see LDV G10 vans, the more regular they look.

But it still is a box on wheels, measuring 5168mm long (on a 3198mm wheelbase), 1980mm wide and 1928mm tall. That makes it a darn sight smaller than the new HiAce, which stepped up significantly in size, and about on par with a Renault Trafic SWB or Ford Transit Custom 300S SWB

The perceived build quality is mostly okay, though our test car had a few loose plastics on the outside and a seemingly mis-fit windshield rubber.

Practicality - How practical is the space inside?

Those dimensions translate to a cargo space of 5.2 cubic metres, with a load space spanning 2500mm long, 1590mm wide (1270mm between the arches) and 1270mm tall. That mightn’t be big enough for you, and that’s too bad - there is no high roof version, nor a long-wheelbase model; but you could get an LDV V80 if you really need to step up in size… but we wouldn’t suggest you do that.

The payload for this model is 1010kg, which is decent but not benchmark-setting. It has a gross vehicle mass of 3000kg, meaning a kerb weight of 1990kg. The gross combination mass depends on the model: the GCM for diesel models is 5000kg for a braked trailer, while petrol models have a GCM of 4750kg for a braked trailer (auto) and 4500kg (manual). All models have a GCM of 3750kg for unbraked trailers.

The payload for our test car is 1010kg, which is decent but not benchmark-setting. The payload for our test car is 1010kg, which is decent but not benchmark-setting.

The petrol versions have 1093kg of payload, if you prefer that fuel type. Interestingly, the manual versions have leaf spring rear suspension, while the auto models have coil springs as part of a five-link suspension architecture.

The load area has a six floor-mounted and four wall-mounted tie-down hooks, and the floor is lined with a vinyl covering while up to half-height the inner walls are lined, too. There are four lights mounted on the walls, which is handy for after-hours work.

The load area has a six floor-mounted and four wall-mounted tie-down hooks. The load area has a six floor-mounted and four wall-mounted tie-down hooks.

And every LDV G10 comes with dual sliding side doors (some brands charge thousands more for this convenience), while the back door is a tailgate as standard, with the option of barn doors for diesel models.

For those who need to fork loads in, the barn doors are a no brainer, because the side door apertures (at 820mm wide) aren’t broad enough to load in using a lift. The tailgate also makes it very difficult to load weight in, as we found on test, as our mates at Crown Lifts had to use long tines to fork in our 750kg ballast.

The tailgate  makes it very difficult to load weight in, as our mates at Crown Lifts had to use long tines to fork in our 750kg ballast. The tailgate makes it very difficult to load weight in, as our mates at Crown Lifts had to use long tines to fork in our 750kg ballast.

When it comes to creature comforts up front, there is a pair of low-mounted pop-out cupholders, and an open storage area between the seats. There isn’t much covered storage, so if you often carry valuables, you may need to keep that in mind. 

The seats are comfortable and offer good adjustment, and they’ve been changed since the diesel auto model launched. They’re no longer a cheap-feeling fabric, but rather a faux-leather accented, mesh-lined set of seats, and both have armrests. Nice.

  • The touchscreen is mounted down lower than most, and means you may need to take your eyes away from the road. The touchscreen is mounted down lower than most, and means you may need to take your eyes away from the road.
  • The seats are comfortable and offer good adjustment. The seats are comfortable and offer good adjustment.

The presentation is okay, but the ergonomics could be better. The touchscreen is mounted down lower than most, and means you may need to take your eyes away from the road because the controls are down even lower. And the USB? Near the floor.

That screen is still a 7.0-inch display, but now has the same software system as the newer models in the LDV range. That means a nice crisp colourful display with the added advantage of Apple CarPlay… if you can get it to work. We had a few issues when reconnecting a phone without re-starting the car. 

The 7.0-inch touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. The 7.0-inch touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.

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

If you’re buying an LDV G10, it’s because of the price. The cost of the diesel automatic model we’ve got is usually $32,490 drive-away for ABN holders, but there are promotions running listing it at $29,990 drive-away for ABN holders at the time of writing. If you’re not an ABN holder, just get one, because you’ll save heaps (the G10 diesel auto is $34,147 drive-away for non-ABN holders).

You can get other vans for around this money - the Renault Trafic Trader Life manual, with its gutless 66kW turbo-diesel engine, is $30,990 d/a. But you won’t find a diesel Hyundai iLoad, Peugeot Partner or Toyota HiAce within $10,000 of the LDV.

As for standard spec, you get 16-inch alloy wheels, tyre pressure monitoring, climate control air-conditioning, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with USB connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, CD player and AM/FM radio, a digital speedometer, two part fake-leather seats with arm-rests (driver’s side with height adjust), carpet flooring up front, and vinyl floor protective liner in the rear, and a reversing camera

Our test car comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels. Our test car comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels.

Standard body fit out is dual sliding side doors and a lift tailgate, though you can get barn doors fitted on diesel models. Unlike some competitors, there is no option for glazing in the rear doors or side panels. 

There are also no auto headlights, no auto wipers, push-button start, keyless entry, leather-lined steering wheel, reach adjustment for the steering, and there’s quite a bit missing in the safety section of this review - see below.

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

Under the bonnet of the diesel G10 is a 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel with 106kW of power and 350Nm of torque. There’s the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, and the G10 is rear-wheel drive. It has a diesel particulate filter, but not stop-start or AdBlue.

The 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel makes 106kW/350Nm. The 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel makes 106kW/350Nm.

Prefer petrol? There’s a 2.4-litre five-speed manual model (105kW/200Nm) or a 2.0-litre turbocharged six-speed auto (165kW/330Nm). Those models are cheaper - $25,990 for the manual for ABN holders, while the turbo-petrol auto is $30,990 d/a. 

Fuel consumption - How much fuel does it consume?

The combined cycle fuel use claim for the LDV G10 diesel auto is 8.6 litres per 100 kilometres. The manual version uses 8.3L/100km according to the brand.

On test we saw a fuel use return of 9.7L/100km at the pump, across a mix of urban, highway and freeway driving, with and without a load. 

Petrol models use a claimed 11.5L (manual) and 11.7L (auto) per hundred.

What's it like as a daily driver?

You probably wouldn’t choose an LDV G10 as a daily driver if you didn’t intend to use the cargo zone at least 80 per cent of the time.

But if - for whatever reason - you really want to use a van like this on a day-to-day basis, you won’t hate it. 

The G10 drives pretty nicely for this type of vehicle. It isn’t as bouncy when unladen as some of the other vans out there, with the suspension proving very quick to settle and mostly very compliant across mixed surfaces. 

The steering wheel can jostle a bit over sharp edges, but it steers well, with decent (not too heavy) weighting and predictable response at all speeds. 

Without weight on board the engine feels reasonably urgent in its response, which is a bit of a surprise because it’s not a powerhouse based on its outputs. It revs smoothly and pulls with good strength, with little turbo lag to contend with. While it is a bit of a grumbly engine at times, the response is better than adequate.

Plus the transmission is well sorted, with smooth shifts that are predictable.

The braking response is definitely better without weight on board, with a decent progression to the pedal and decent bite when you press hard on the anchors.

What’s it like for tradie use?

We strapped down 750kg of weight in the (very) back of the LDV G10 - we would have liked to have put it further in, so it was mounted midway up the load floor, but even with long tines on the Crown Lift Truck we didn’t want to risk the ballast getting stuck in there. 

Based on this writer’s basic understanding of physics, having about 3/4 of the weight over or rear of the back axle exacerbated some concerns over the ride compliance. The automatic versions have a coil spring rear suspension (manuals have leaf spring rear-ends) floated and wobbled over speed humps, with notable nose-to-tail pitching and it took longer for the suspension to settle than we’d expect. 

We strapped down 750kg of weight in the (very) back of the LDV G10.
We strapped down 750kg of weight in the (very) back of the LDV G10.

But these complaints were mostly based around lower speed driving, because at higher speeds the ride remained quite composed and comfortable, even dealing with road joins and lumpy sections of road at 80km/h plus commendably. The steering was fine, with a nice, accurate action when parking, and the visibility from the driver’s seat was good, aside from the slab-sided metal down the kerbside (the camera is good, and the mirrors a decent, too).

There isn't much in the way of advance safety features, but there is a reversing camera. There isn't much in the way of advance safety features, but there is a reversing camera.

The acceleration and engine response with that much weight on board was still quite positive, and while the engine is somewhat noisy and there is some vibration noticeable (primarily visibly through the rear-view mirror), the progress was honest and manageable, and it never felt short of grunt.

The transmission, too, was mostly very smart with weight on board, with smooth shifts and little confusion over what gear was needed at what time. Indeed, it preferred to stay in a higher gear and grumble on using the engine’s torque, rather than shuffle constantly between the gears.

The biggest issue when loaded was the braking response - the four-wheel discs were under pressure to perform with this much weight on board, and the pedal felt spongy, too. 

Despite the general decent driving manners of the G10 diesel auto, in this configuration it would be considered a better option for drivers who hand-load their vehicles rather than need to fork items in.

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

If safety matters to you, this could be your reason not to buy an LDV G10.

The van scored a mediocre three-star ANCAP crash test safety score - which would be more acceptable if that was under the current, strictest criteria, but it was actually tested in 2015. Which means it would be even lower if tested today.

One of the reasons is the safety equipment - there’s not a lot of it. You get dual front airbags, but no side airbags or curtains. There is no advanced tech like auto emergency braking (AEB), no lane keeping assistance or lane departure warning, no blind spot monitoring or rear cross-traffic alert… But you do get a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

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

LDV isn’t close to the leaders in the segment for ownership, with a behind-the-times three-year/100,000km warranty (admittedly with the same cover for roadside assist), and no capped price servicing plan. 

Service intervals are every 12 months/10,000km, which is short, and you need to get an initial service done at 5000km, too. 

If you’re worried about long-term longevity, you can check out our LDV G10 problems page.

The LDV G10 is a solid option for those buyers who just want a van that gets the job done. It was decent with weight on board, but is probably better suited to parcel carriers rather than pallet shifters.

Safety levels are the biggest concern, as it is falling behind in the class when it comes to active safety tech, and its weak crash test score could be enough to rule it out for some customers. 

$29,990

Based on new car retail price

Daily driver score

3/5

Tradies score

3.7/5
Price Guide

$29,990

Based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data