"LDV V80 High Roof LWB first drive: A welcome return" by Business Vans
What is it?
LDV by name, Maxus by nature, SAIC’s attempt to get this previously British brand back on the road with the V80 has been welcomed as we focus on the LDV V80 High Roof LWB. There’s a bright, and very technologically exciting, future ahead for the brand and Harris Group, as SAIC’s UK and Ireland distributor, is in the process of preparing its dealerships for that future.
Testing the V80 and its variants in the Irish boreens – that’s winding country roads to you and I – we had the opportunity to compare notes on its medium roof sibling and see what the V80 could offer small and medium businesses, particularly the self-employed trades.
- This V80 is great value-for-money for trades and logistics professionals alike. Starting at £15,500, the standard spec offers comfort, plenty of practicality and the extra height is great for bulky items, mobile workshops – where full-height standing is imperative – or, in the case of the Mini B, mobility services.
- There’s no difference in kerb weight between the medium and high roof variants, sitting at 3,500kgs. Though there’s a loss of around 30kg payload for the high roof, the 11.6m-cubed space of load area is still impressive and easily accessed from the side and rear. Protective panelling is an optional £360, helping to maintain residual value as a company asset.
- Driving empty is torquey enough to give the impression that even fully loaded the turbo-charged 2.5-litre engine of the V80 won’t keep you waiting at the lights. You need less than 2,500rpm to feel the pull of that 330Nm torque. What’s more, the EV80 is even nippier, due to the digital transmission.
- Overall, the V80 handles well. The six-speed transmission is smooth, particularly in the lower gears. The longer wheelbase offers a real sense of stability, despite the higher centre of gravity.
- The cabin is comfortable enough with air-con and cruise control as standard. The standard trim for the V80 is basic, but practical, and noise from the load area is minimal. Bluetooth and a micro-USB charger in the glovebox add more convenience. Deep door cubbies, a roomy glovebox, spacious pockets above both sun visors and non-slip dash mats cater for every storage need (though we weren’t entirely convinced that gravity would be so forgiving when it came to the cup holders directly in front of the radio console! Nb. cup covers are essential.)
- Prospective electric customers need to evaluate their motorway driving. If there’s plenty, the EV80 is not necessarily the van for you. The 56KwH battery will soon discharge its 190-kilometre range without undulating hills of the country, or the stop/start of urban jams to recover some of that energy. Fully loaded, that range will drop significantly. What’s more, the highly anticipated EV80 drive was disappointing. The much lighter steering felt flimsy and the artificial noise added to the motor was rather whiny.
- Like the medium roof variant, we experience issues with the FM radio and struggled to understand why a DAB radio wasn’t a standard consideration for drivers of this marque. The garishly cheap plastic mouldings highlighted the low cost of the LDV, too.
- The driver seat adjustment also left a lot to be desired. Taking a high-riding position to an inexplicable extreme, the restrictions would be felt acutely by taller drivers, putting a rather dark mark next to an otherwise excellent fleet or trader shortlist option.
Verdict on LDV V80 High Roof LWB
The affordability of LDV’s offering – some £10,000 less than the Citroen Relay – coupled with the choice of variants, make it difficult to dismiss the brand from shortlist consideration. The V80 is a wise choice for tradespeople looking for a workhorse, offering enough comfort for shorter journeys and plenty of height for larger equipment. The 125,000-mile warranty and five years’ roadside assistance thrown in for good measure don’t hurt either.
Lowdown of the LDV V80 High Roof LWB
On the road price excluding VAT:£ 21,069
Load width (max):1,770mm
Load capacity:11.6cu m
Towing Capacity braked/unbraked:n/a/750kg
Engine:2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Economy combined (claimed):30mpg