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1996 - 2005 LDV Convoy

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LDV isn’t known my many people but it’s a UK company specialized in manufacturing small commercial vehicles. While at the moment the company builds only the LDV Maxus LCV, in the past its lineup of products also included the Convoy which was discontinued in 2005.

The Convoy was never a huge success, but has helped the company to survive until 2008 when the production was stopped. Luckily the company was rescued in 2009 when the assets were sold by administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers to China Venture’s firm Eco Concept.

But while the vehicle was behind its competitors when it comes to build quality, comfort and power, the Convoy managed to win some adepts thanks to its generous payload capacity and the affordable price.

Design

LDV Convoy

The Convoy’s story began in 1994, and it’s basically and improved version of the old 400 model. While underneath, the vehicle remained basically the same, with only minimum changes, the main upgrades were made to the exterior design.

Despite its upgrades however the new LDV Convoy had still a rugged and rudimentary design. The good part is that its boxy shape didn’t bothered anyone, as at that time the LCV manufacturers didn’t struggled too much to come up with modern designs, as all their attention was directed towards the vehicle’s practicality.

Compared to the old 400 model, the Convoy featured a new bonnet, fresh lights and a redesigned grille. There were also new wraparound front indicators and bumpers. A keen eye could’ve observed that some changes were also made at the doors.

The vehicle had also a pretty flexible character and was available in a wide range of models including bus, panel van and chassis cab. The van version of the LDV Convoy was fairly spacious and came with payload capacities between 1,085kg - 1,702kg and was fitted with sliding rear doors and side hinged tailgates.

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Interior

LDV Convoy

The cabin was spartan and unrefined with a poor build quality and cheap plastics. The dashboard however, was pretty well designed as it maximized the use of space offering a lot of storage places cubby holes and cup holders. Moreover, all the controls were placed within easy reach and the instrument cluster was fitted with two big, easy to read gauges.

On the other hand, the Convoy’s seats were part of the hard class and started to feel cramped after a longer trip. At least, they came with a few adjustments which permitted you to find a better driving position.

Thankfully, the steering wheel had a pretty ergonomic design with perfectly choose dimensions and offered a good grab.

Thanks to the high seats, the driving position is commanding and you have a perfectly clear view of the road. The A pillars were pretty thin and didn’t affected the visibility, while the huge mirrors were also up to the task.

The LDV Convoy comes pretty short in the equipment department as apart from a standard audio system it wasn’t fitted with anything else.

Engines and performance

LDV Convoy

The LDV Convoy was equipped with a 2.4 liter engine. The engine was fitted with a turbocharger and developed either 74 or 89 hp with 180 Nm and 200 Nm of torque, respectively. These numbers are relatively small for a big LCV, so the LDV Convoy felt heavily underpowered, especially when it was fully loaded and needed to deal with up-hills. The engine was also pretty raspy and its metallic growl filled the entire cabin.

The sluggish acceleration will also give you headaches on the highway, but at least, at low speeds you’ll have plenty of torque to play with.

LDV Convoy Engines specifications

Enginehp @ rpmNm @ rpm
2.4 liter74 @ 4000180 @ 2000
2.4 liter89 @ 4000200 @ 2000

Ride and handling

LDV Convoy

The LDV Convoy was designed especially for transportation and commercial purposes and it did its job just fine, but the last concern of the engineers was the driver’s comfort.

The vehicle was fitted with hard suspensions which help it to deal with big payloads without baking down, but this configuration made you feel every bump of the road directly in your spine.

The tall height was also translated into a pretty accentuate body roll which made handling this big boxy shape a bit of a pain, especially around corners. The steering wasn’t brilliant either. It had a flimsy feel and didn’t engage you in any way.

The stopping power was average for its time, but it didn’t inspire confidence as there wasn’t offered any ABS system. The truck was also pretty short on safety features as it wasn’t even fitted with an airbag or even imobiliser.

Verdict

LDV Convoy

The LDV Convoy wasn’t the best LCV that you could find around, but it was a basic workhorse that was able to do the heaviest jobs without too many problems. The cabin was fairly spacious and the instruments were arranged in an intuitive way.

The weaker points of the LDV Convoy were the seats comfort and the poor build quality. The engines were also unrefined and sluggish, but in the end, they were able to do their jobs and didn’t back down in any situation. Unfortunately the ride and handling were the biggest faults and at this chapter the LDV Convoy was far behind its competition.



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