The LDV van seems to have had more lives than a cat but it looks like it might just have saved the best to number 9!
It’s been written off so many times before, of course, but now it really does look like the ghost of LDV’s past has finally gone the way of so many other iconic British motoring brands. Ever since it was rescued from a pauper’s grave in 2009 by Chinese manufacturing giant SAIC, there seemed a certain inevitability that the famous, and sometime infamous, badge would be dropped in favour of a more globally appealing persona. And so, it came to pass in mid-2020 when at a COVID-19 dictated online event at the Dublin HQ of importer Harris Group, the very latest Maxus branded vans were unveiled. Fundamental to the company’s ambitions is the completely fresh-looking Deliver 9, a direct replacement for the V80 3.5 Tonne van which had clearly come to the end of its particularly long and winding road. We were given a sneak preview during a visit to the Shanghai factory at the end of 2019 and saw at first hand the huge resources which enables the company to sell more than 7m vehicles per annum, and make it China’s number one automotive manufacturer.
One of the most important developments for its commercial van offering has been the inclusion of an in-house produced, 2.0 litre Euro 6 compliant diesel engine. The twin turbo motor will deliver 211bhp and 480 Nm of torque, featuring high pressure fuel injection and a water-cooled intercooler, along with a two-stage oil pump to reduce energy use, as well as twin balancer shafts for smooth running.
An altogether more modern design was a given considering the highly competitive nature of this sector of the LCV market and important improvements have also been made to the cab environment, with six air bags, a 10in. touchscreen and a multifunction steering wheel, keyless entry and button start with a panoramic reversing camera. All models have electric power assisted steering plus a host of advanced driver assistance systems, such as lane departure warning.
The Deliver 9, which has a payload in excess of 1,100kg, is offered with front or rear wheel drive model, having a choice of single or twin rear wheels, with the 3.5tonner coming in three wheelbases, with three body lengths and three roof heights to choose from. Carrying capacity will range from 8m3 to 13m3 with load lengths from 2,650 mm to 3,413mm, accessed by a single sliding door. Standard equipment across the range is of a high standard but further optional extras are available to suit budgets although you can expect to pay around the £30,000 mark to become one its first customers.
Of course, if you want to join the all-electric revolution you will almost certainly have to dig a lot deeper, perhaps twice as much for the new e Deliver 9. It’s a direct replacement for the old LDV full electric EV 80 which, for reasons unknown, enjoyed noteworthy success in Norway but more muted appeal in the UK.
The front wheel drive Deliver 9 will form the basis of the all-electric upgrade which is expected to be rated at the new maximum for electric vehicles which is 4.25 tonne gross vehicle weight, achieving a payload of 1,400kg (some additional formal driver training may be required for this category). Available in a host of body heights and lengths, power is provided by a large 114bhp electric motor, which can be fully charged in anything from 90 minutes to ten hours, depending on power source with an expected range of around 150 miles.
The company’s commitment to an electric future doesn’t end there, however, with the additional launch of a smaller sibling, the e Deliver 3. Don’t be fooled by the 3 as in terms of a third of the size, however. This boxy, unconventional looking van isn’t actually that small when making comparisons with other similar vehicles on the market. It is available as a panel van in two wheelbases, with up to 1,000kg payload and a roomy 6.1m3 load volume. To keep kerbside weight to a minimum the company has incorporated aluminium and composite materials into the front wings and bonnet, with power provided by a choice of NCM lithium-ion battery packs. A 35kWh battery offers around 100 miles of range with the larger one extending that to a claimed 150 miles. Charging for the batteries can be achieved via AC or DC currents up to 50kW and, according to the literature, a 45-minute charge will restore 80 per cent battery life to both battery sizes.
Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, all three vehicles have remained frustratingly out of our reach in terms of actually getting behind the wheel, but we hope to put that right in the first few weeks of 2021. There is also talk of a new pick-up launch, the T70 later in the year as the Maxus brand aims to fully deliver on all fronts.
For further information on the new Deliver 9 visit https://saicmaxus.co.uk/deliver9-van/