LDV is a small British company that currently builds only light commercial vehicles. The company had some hard times when it was hit by the recession and has struggled a long time to remain alive. Until recently all its models were also far behind the competition and the company’s future was heading towards a black hole.
Recently however, the story has changed and it seems like the company has finally a winner in its hands. While the new LDV Maxus still has its faults, it is by far the best LCV ever built by the company and has a huge potential to revive LDV from its ashes.
The LDV Maxus is available in a wide range of body versions including combi, van, minibus, chassis cab and van models.
The LDV Maxus features a pretty basic design which can be considered dated if we’ll judge it by today’s standards. The hood is plain and simple without any crease to break the monotony, while the front grille is also rather dull than modern.
However, we like the main headlights, as they feature a pretty dynamic design which gels well with the rest of the body. On the other hand, the bumper is pretty dull and comes with a rudimentary design. For improved road visibility, the LDV Lexus can be fitted with optional fog lamps which are mounted low into the bumper. As most vehicles in the segment the LDV Maxus features a panoramic windshield and big lateral windows which keep well informed of what’s going on around you.
At the back, the vehicle is fitted with wide opening side-hinged doors, while the sliding side door is also convenient to use. Moreover, LDV offers the possibility to specify an extra sliding door mounted on the other side of the vehicle for more flexibility.
The MAXUS Chassis Cab range is offered with a choice of two wheelbases, Tippers and Dropsides as well as box vans. All Maxus Chassis Cab derivatives are factory built meaning a single warranty for both chassis and body.
The MAXUS Tipper can carry up to 1,320Kg, the MAXUS Dropside up to 1,540 Kg and the MAXUS Luton van up to 1,220 Kg.
The LDV Maxus interior is far from a conventional design, mostly due to the instrument cluster position which is placed above the center console. While we’re not 100 % convinced about the strange looking dashboard, this design approach will help LDV to make easier conversions from the right hand drive to the left hand drive.
The build quality it’s also worth to be mentioned, as compared to the previous models that rolled out from the company’s production line, the new Maxus is much improved and has lost (not entirely) those annoying rattles and squeaks.
As most vehicles in the segment, the plastics aren’t something to rave about as they are mostly part of the hard class. The good part is that they are easy to clean and will resist to the punishment of arduous working conditions.
LDV paid maximum attention to the requirements of today’s market and mounted the gear level directly into the dash. This new layout makes the interior look more upscale and it’s also pretty ergonomic as you can change gears effortless. The four spoke steering wheel won’t be our first choice when it comes to design, but it falls easy into hand and it’s not intrusive.
The standard equipment of the LDV Maxus includes remote central locking, driver airbag, power steering, electric windows and electric adjustment of the side mirrors.
Engines and transmissions
The LDV Maxus chassis cabs are equipped with a 2.5 CDi, common rail, direct injection, turbocharged, intercooled engine which is available in three power choices including 95hp, 120hp or 135hp. The engine delivers its maximum power at 3800 rpm while the peak torque is achieved form a relatively low level (1800 rpm) which would translate in good towing abilities.
Compared to the old LDV models the new engines are a big improvement and apart from their boost of power they’ll also receive better marks in the NVH (noise vibration and harshness) department.
However, the engines are still far away from their rivals and are anything but smooth. Moreover, the turbo kicks in at a wrong time and the transmission is far from being easy to use, as it offers a rubbish feel and harsh gear changes.
LDV Maxus Engines specifications
Ride and handling
The LDV Maxus comes only in front-wheel drive guise and this configuration offers a low loading height. The LDV’s sheet metal is also 20% stiffer compared to the previous models which is translated in a better stability and a more composed handling.
While the ride comfort is almost at par with competition, the handling could’ve been better and there is also a pretty big body roll combined with an accentuated under steer effect. The standard brakes aren’t brilliant either and they lack the feel found at other vehicles in the segment. Luckily, for some extra money you can add an ABS which will slightly improve the Maxus’s stopping abilities.
Given its base price of $19.300, the LDV Maxus is a pretty affordable option compared to its competitors. It’s true that the vehicle isn’t as technologically advanced as a Volkswagen Transporter or other similar models, but it has all the basic features to get the job done without whining.
The cabin is spacious and even if it’s not the most comfortable in the segment you won’t complain about the overall ergonomy. The payload is also generous and the engines come with strong towing abilities. On the other hand, the engines are raspy, the gearbox is among the worse in the business and the reliability is doubtful.