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First drive: LDV Maxus - on sale now

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Review

Mark LDV chief executive Allan Aimey’s words: “Our new van can, and will, compete head on with the best in the industry for years to come.”

He’s referring to Maxus, the all-new, made-in-Britain 2,800kg-3,500kg light commercial vehicle range – just launched on the back of a £500m investment programme.

LDV has been treading water in a crowded sector for some years, largely on the lifebelt of ancient Convoy’s appeal as the platform for minibus and crewbus conversions: total registrations in 2004 were 8,314, ahead of arch rival Iveco (7,335) but some way behind where it would rather be ­– beyond the wake of Peugeot (8,909), Citroen (9,847) and Fiat (12,135).

The fact Maxus emerged at all from the LDV/Daewoo Gemini joint development project is testament to the Birmingham vanmaker’s tenacity.

That the two wheelbase, three roof height panel van turns out to be front-wheel drive and modern looking is cause for its 60-odd main retailers to celebrate.

The unladen examples we drove had interior and exterior finish wide of a mark that might avoid claims on the 60,000 miles/four years or 100,000 miles/three years warranty. But they handled well and the overall business proposition looks right.

Strength: Simple spec, sensible options
Weakness: Finish and fit quality questions
Opportunity: Reawaken LDV operators, out-package LCV rivals
Threat: Narrow target market besieged by good product
USP: It’s British
Prices: £12,995-£18,495
Type: Panel van
GVWs: 2.8, 3.2, 3.5 tonne
Engine: 2.5-litre 4-cyl VM common rail turbodiesel, 98bhp, 118bhp
Transmission: 5spd manual, fwd
Service int: 20,000 miles
Efficiency: TBA
CAP RV (3/30k): 29-31%
Rivals: Transit, Movano, Sprinter, Transporter, Boxer, Master, Ducato, Relay, Daily

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