IF you’ve never considered a Chinese car because of quality and power concerns, now’s the time to have another look. With the arrival of the 2022 LDV T60 MAX ute, the game has changed.
It’s a good looking pickup, and its clean lines and sharp mags are complemented by a stylish lights and grill design, punctuated by sizable retracting side mirrors. From behind, it looks aggressive, with branding that clearly assets the brand’s ambition as a player.
We drove the 8-speed auto 4×4 Luxe version for this review, but there’s also a Pro version which has a manual transmission and 2WD option. As we all know, these days the humble ute, truck or pickup (whichever you prefer), is far from a tradie truck.
The light commercial vehicle market now reaches into the young family space, something that stretches the brief to comfortable rear seats, good safety features, navigation and reasonable sound systems. All of which the T60 MAX has as standard.
The back seats are basic yet comfortable, with enough leg room for the kids and shorter legged adults. The seats are leather trimmed, and look and feel better than the standard cloth offering.
The work tray is 151cm wide by 152cm long, with a side depth of 53cm. It’s spray coated with a tough plastic that should keep most tradies happy, as will the simple release and access to the fold down tray.
Ground clearance is more than good, giving a commanding driving position, while high and low range 4WD, with a lockable rear diff ensure plenty of options to drive in most challenging conditions. Though this is where the vehicle needs some getting used to.
The 2.0 litre bi-turbo diesel engine that we tested is surely one of the stranger power units in the market, oddly lacking the low down grunt you’d expect, while the transmission seems a little confused when it comes to transferring power to the road surface.
Don’t despair though, the engine, at least on paper, has the goods with 160kW of power and 500Nm of torque, and it’s a leap above previous models. It seems well made and performed well at speed too.
The standard Giti tyres are chunky enough for dirt roads and thankfully didn’t hum too much on the bitumen. The suspension was more tuned to off road than on, providing a soft, if somewhat bouncy ride.
The cabin wind noise is surprisingly negligible considering the large side mirrors. The 2022 LDV T60 MAX has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, with six airbags, and lane departure warnings. There’s no active cruise control, blind spot monitoring or AEB though.
That said, it does grab traction and stability control, rear fog lights, daytime running lights, brake assist and EBD, as well as a 360-panoramic camera with rear parking sensors. Which brings us to the centre console and its infotainment system.
A screen the size of a large iPad easily controls most things, including radio (sans DAB+), Bluetooth music and mobile integration, with native support for Apple CarPlay. There’s no Android Auto but you can sort of achieve a desired outcome through smartphone mirroring.
There is of course Bluetooth, but there’s no wireless charging pad, and nor is there satellite navigation – you’ll need your phone for that last one. You do get two USB ports and a 12V power outlet though.
Fuel economy during testing sat around 9.3-litres/100km, and the T60 MAX comes with a healthy 73-litre fuel tank, giving a reasonably impressive 800km average range. It has a 3,000kg braked towing capacity.
Prices for ABN holders start at a competitive $35,990 drive away for the 2WD auto in Pro spec, while the Luxe tested here hits the road at $40,490 drive away. The retail price difference is around $2-3,000.
The 2022 LDV T60 MAX comes with a 5-year 130,000km warranty, paired with roadside assist for the same period. All up, this Chinese born ute out of the SAIC Motor stable represents true value and should be on the list for anyone looking for a good looking ute.
In terms of colours, you can choose Blanc White, like our tester, or you can also opt for Metal Black, Jewel Blue, Maple Leaf Orange or Lava Grey. You can build and price your own 2022 LDV T60 MAX Luxe on the LDV Automotive Australia website website.
Our test vehicle was provided by LDV Automotive Australia. To find out more about the 2022 LDV T60 MAX Luxe, contact your local LDV Automotive dealer.