UPDATE: Featured on this week's podcast, we've brought this review forward to give you another look!
I'm a tradie and my previous work cars have been 4x4 twin-cab utes. This time around I was doing a lot more highway driving, so ride, comfort and low NVH were high on my priority list. Enter the LDV G10 people mover. Having researched what others had done, I bought the 9-seat model and then removed the rear bench along with one of the rear solo chairs, leaving it as a five seat van that had about the same floor space my previous utes did. Only this time it was enclosed and had a low load height, with the centre walkway being perfect for longer items and weekend toys like mountain bikes or Malibu surfboards.
Cabin comfort is good, featuring soft seats with armrests, big air con vents right through (dual zone) and so much space. It's a fair reach to the passenger seat or even the dash radio or air con controls for that matter. The touchscreen media unit has the basics and is easy to use, although it's on my list of things to upgrade one day. A big miss is the lack of power outlets - just one up front.
Running gear wise the (VW) 2.0-litre turbo petrol is plenty grunty enough, although the tune is a little unrefined. I get fuel consumption as low as 8.8 litres per 100 kilometres on a Bruce Highway drive (hilly, generally crap surface and constant roadworks), and up to 11.9L/100km around town. It requires 93RON fuel, and I run the 94 ethanol fuel usually (just ticked over 70000km). It also has to tow a 5-metre fiberglass boat occasionally, which it does surprisingly well.
The gearbox is a ZF 6-speed unit, which goes about its business without any fuss, only hampered by the crude tune on the engine. There is a part solution, which involves installing a throttle controller that effectively gets rid of the excessive rolling acceleration lag (I use I-drive U3 setting). I also fitted a K&N washable filter. Cruise control is great; its economy program eases it up to speed then keeps it very close to the set speed - I would say it is as accurate as Korean cruise control setups.
Having owned and driven a variety of vans, this G10 is by far the most comfortable, and is actually fun to drive through the hills too. Well, about as much fun as a 2-tonne brick could be. Lotus did the suspension and chassis calibration and it shows. Visibility is excellent, helped by the reverse camera and parking sensors.
The 16-inch wheels look a bit small to me and the digital speedo reads about 7km/h slow. Luckily it's a standard 6-stud pattern and wheel swaps are not uncommon.
Outside, it's a large car and will fill a standard car space, so it is also is a magnet for people's doors and shopping trolleys. Also mine is Black (polished regularly) and while it is a better colour than the white, paint quality I have seen is not up to the standard of fellow SIAC brand MG motors. The LED DRL's look great, as do the LED rear lights.
Servicing has been pretty straight forward with just a Bluetooth update and some new seat rails through a recall. Prices for servicing at the dealership is good for a large car; approximately $400-$500 every 10000km.
Some things i wish it had:
Electric handbrake (it has push button start), sat-nav or Android Auto (has Apple CarPlay), more storage up front, and way more power outlets.