LDV V80 (2016 - 2020) used car review

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By Jonathan Crouch

Introduction

Van brand LDV returned to the commercial vehicle market in 2016 with this large-segment V80 model. True, it doesn't have the sophistication of the volume players in the large van sector from the 2016-2020 period, but it wouldn't do because it costs a fraction of what those vans are priced at. Despite the fact that it will probably serve most of the needs of your business just as well. In short, if you need profit more than polish when it comes to the purchase of a large used van, this contender could be worth a try.

Models

Large van (2.5 diesel - 136hp)

History

Today, perhaps more than ever, cost control is an over-riding priority in modern business and if you operate one, you'll be particularly conscious of it when it comes to purchasing the commercial vehicles upon which much of your company's livelihood may depend. If you deliver in bulk, you'll need a large van - or perhaps a small fleet of them. And if that's the case and you need to buy used, then the primary selling point of the contender we're going to look at here might be difficult to ignore, once you've been briefed about it. Welcome to the LDV V80, which sold here between 2016 and 2020.

The V80's chief selling point doesn't really lie in any of the things that van makers usually talk about - technology, carriage capacity or engineering. No, let's get straight to it: this LCV is spectacularly affordable - as you'll discover if you start to check out prices on the used market. Which could translate into massive savings for your company if you were buying two or three large vans of this type.

There are several reasons why LDV sold this model so cheaply. First, it needed to re-establish itself in the British market. The business that re-launched itself in 2016 was very different from the under-funded and rather shaky brand of the same name that eventually collapsed into receivership in 2009. By 2016, LDV was owned by Chinese manufacturing giant SAIC, the seventh largest vehicle maker in the world and the owner of MG. To kick things off for the new LDV era, the brand dusted off the old Maxus model it was selling a decade previously just before the receivers moved in. Which is what brought us the V80.

Inevitably, the resulting package was a bit behind the current standard when it came to things like running cost efficiency, drive dynamics and media connectivity. Still, on the plus side, it backed up super-low up-front pricing with tough, practical virtues - and could even deliver a slice of modern technology in the form of an all-electric variant. The V80 sold until Spring 2020, when LDV was re-branded 'Maxus' and the V80 was replaced by the Maxus Deliver 9. So, does the V80 proposition make sense on the used market? That's what we're here to find out.

What You Get

There's nothing much wrong with the way this V80 model looks: you certainly wouldn't immediately pigeonhole it as a dated design. The front end styling's clean and modern, with the short dual-creased bonnet flowing down into a chrome-finished front grille that shows off the LDV marque's corporate branding. Inside, the first thing you'll notice is that the instrument binnacle isn't where you'd expect to find it. Instead of being viewable through the four-spoke steering wheel, the two main dials have been positioned at the top of the silver-coloured centre stack. The seating placement is high and commanding and the vast windscreen gives a clear view ahead, plus there are large mirrors with manually-adjustable secondary mirrors below them. As usual with a large van, a three-person front bench is provided as standard.

Three main panel van body styles were offered to LDV V80 buyers - short wheelbase 'low' roof, long wheelbase 'medium' roof and a long wheelbase 'high' roof. All based around a 3.5-tonne vehicle mass. So let's check out the practicality being delivered in a little more detail. As usual, two big rear doors open first out to 90-degrees, then can be pushed back to 270-degrees if you remove the stays and fold the doors round to magnetically click into place on large humps. The rear door opening width is 1,550mm, while the rear door opening height on the 'high' roof variant is 1,790mm, up from 1,580mm with the 'medium' roof body style. There's a low floor loading height and inside, you'll find decent load area lighting, nine tie-down points and an easy-clean non-slip cargo mat for the floor, though some original operators will have specified a proper ply-lining kit to protect the interior metal work.

On the long wheelbase model, there's 3,300mm of cargo area length and 1,770mm of cargo area width, narrowing to 1,380mm between the wheel arches. The cargo area height is 1,925mm - up from 1,710mm with the 'medium' roof body style. That means a total cargo volume of 11.6m3 - up from 10.4m3 with the 'medium' roof body style. As a point of comparison, the entry-level short wheelbase 'low' roof model can only take 6.4m3. So yes, providing you go for the lengthiest wheelbase, most of what you'll want to take will probably fit. The payload figures aren't especially notable by class standards though. In the long wheelbase range, you're looking at 1,419kg for a 'medium' roof model and 1,389kg for a 'high' roof. If you're loading from the side, there's enough side door opening width (1,290mm) to be able to slot in a Euro pallet and whatever your roof choice, you get a 1,590mm side door height aperture.

What You Pay

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What to Look For

You get what you pay for in terms of a budget van. Obviously, an LDV V80 isn't going to have quite the same build integrity of a rival from a more established volume brand. But to be fair, the vehicle seems to be built to last - as it had to be in order to work in less developed world markets. So the things that break will probably be minor trim items, rather than serious mechanical parts. Because all models were originally sold with a five year warranty, you might well find that the majority of that remains too.

The interior isn't the last word in sophistication but it is hardwearing. Check for damage to locks, tired rear suspension, rogered clutches and brakes and make sure that the load bay tie-downs aren't bent or broken. Ply lined vans don't suffer so greatly from dents and scrapes on their side walls as they're being loaded and unloaded.

Look out for rusting rear door hinges and check the outer CV joint rubber boot covers for splits. They wear and if they let water in, the CV joints will wear quickly. Flickering or dimming lights might indicate a problem with the electrics. Test the brake, front and fog lamps as well as the indicators. Check the tyres for wear or sidewall damage. If there are signs of uneven wear, it could mean that the tracking has been knocked out and damaged sidewalls or wheels also signal abuse. Check the clutch for slip or judder by rolling away in second with low revs. If there's any evidence of it then negotiate a discount, or have a new one fitted before buying. On higher mileage examples, check whether the timing belt has been replaced.

Listen out for any rumbling or drone from the wheel bearings when test driving. Be sure to run the van at everything from town speeds to dual carriageway speeds. Check how the vehicle you're looking at has been used - and don't be too afraid of higher mileage examples. A 40,000 mile V80 doing short drop town driving might be in rougher condition mechanically than a 100,000+ mile example that's spent most of its time travelling on motorways. Finally, have a good look around the cabin for any water ingress; lift carpets, look under the seats and check under floor mats. Check that any drainage holes around the windscreen front firewall aren't blocked.

Replacement Parts

LDV parts are pretty inexpensive, as you would expect, but aren't that easy to source. Many of the major parts websites don't seem to stock them, so you may end up needing to go back to a franchised dealer, which might not be too easy: the LDV marque was re-branded at 'Maxus' in the Spring of 2020 but there are still a relatively small number of outlets around the UK (around 30).

On the Road

On the move, you get a 2.5-litre four cylinder diesel beneath your right foot sourced from Italian firm VM Motori. It was been matched with front-wheel drive and puts out 136bhp, so yes, the performance on offer is likely to be quite sufficient for your needs. This engine's not particularly refined, but the reasonably slick six-speed manual gearbox was set up to make the most of the 330Nm of torque on offer and this unit pulls quite well, provided you keep within its pulling power sweet spot. If your business deliveries will be primarily urban-based, you might want to seek out the rare all-electric version of this model, the EV80. Here, a 56kWh lithium-ion battery combines with a 100KW electric motor to produce an operating range of up to 120 miles.

Overall

Big vans don't have to be as expensive as they are. Back in the mid part of this century's second decade, LDV proved that when it came to commercial vehicles. It's true of course that they delivered that choice by re-badging quite an aging product. But there's nothing really very much wrong with the fundamentals on offer here. Certainly, the running costs are a way behind the class norm, but better-than-average residual values should compensate for a lot of that. Leaving this model's strongest sales proposition pretty much intact: namely, the way that it offers you a large van for the price of a compactly-proportioned one.

Of course, there are other issues here - principally in the areas of cabin quality and diesel refinement, but you might be inclined to excuse these in view of what you're paying. This is probably a large van used LCV choice that more small to medium-sized operators ought to be considering. After all, when it comes to price, size matters.

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