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LCV26462

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12

CONTENTS

6

24

32

40

February / March 2018

4 NEWS Our regular round-up of the latest light commercial vehicle and SUV news from New Zealand and around the world.

6 NEWS NEW MODEL FOCUS Toyota revamps its Hilux ute. We look at the changes being made to this commercial vehicle icon.

12 REXTON ROAD TEST The Editor samples Korean brand SsangYong’s new Rexton bodyon frame SUV and comes away impressed, .

16 LDV T60 UTE TEST Mike Stock takes a look at the Chinese van maker’s first-ever ute, and Arna Evans assesses its suitability as family transport.

20 FORD RANGER TEST

32 SPECIAL FEATURE

We revisit New Zealand’s biggest-selling new vehicle and try to discover what makes it so successful..

Associate Editor Dean Evans discovers a trans-Tasman collaboration to create a new type of service truck.

24 FOCUS ON TOWING Dean Evans hitches up a trailer and load to Holden’s Colorado Z71 ute to find out how the stylish truck fares.

28 FOCUS ON PRODUCTS Our round-up of the latest new products from the world of LCVs and SUVs.

30 NEWS SPECIAL We take a look at the latest news from the electric commercial vehicle sector.

36 TRUCK TEST Truck tester Hayden Woolston gets behind the wheel of Hyundai’s new light-duty truck, the Mighty.

38 COMMERCIAL MARKET Our in-depth analysis of the New Zealand light commercial vehicle market in 2017. Who were the big winners?

56 THE BACK PAGE Land Rover UK launches a commercial van version of the Discovery luxury SUV.

LCV | 1


SUVS

UTES

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LIGHT COMMERCIAL VEHICLE February/March 2018 | $7.50

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2 | LCV

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K NZ ISUZU TRUC T AUSSIE TWIS

FROM THE

Editorial Desk

The time has come…as the Walrus said THIS IS THE LAST EDITION OF NZ LCV Magazine that I will preside over as Editor; the time has come to move on into semi-retirement. Over the past four or so years, I have overseen the transformation of the editorial content of this magazine. It has morphed from Cargo, a true trade magazine, into first NZ Light Commercial Vehicle Magazine in 2014, and then the abbreviated LCV Magazine masthead from 2017. I have taken the content more towards a traditional car magazine, applying always the maxim that if it doesn’t interest me, how’s it going to interest and engage the reader? If the subject doesn’t interest you, as Editor, the reader will soon pick up on that lack of interest. It shows in the writing, the content; if there’s no passion, there’s no fire, no interest. You might as well read a bus timetable – but who prints bus timetables in this day of Google searches, Apps and smartphones? Over the past four years, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to bring this magazine to you and to chronicle the light commercial vehicle scene, and especially the ute’s metamorphosis. The ute has moved from humble, roughand-ready workhorse to a sophisticated vehicle able to do a hard day’s graft and double as comfortable family transport. At heart, I’m a reporter, and the ute’s transformation has given me the raw material to do what I do best – reporting. I’ve been editing weekly newspapers and weekly, fortnightly and monthly magazines since 1979, 12 years after I started as a cadet reporter at the late and much-lamented

Auckland Star, the greatest-ever NZ daily newspaper, our equivalent of The Washington Post. The Star’s senior staffers hammered into a rebellious 17-year-old me the virtues of true journalism. Fairness, accuracy, decency and above all the fear of getting it wrong or missing THE STORY, was the approach they taught. And I hope that the values I learned there have helped me to bring our readers a lively, vital and well-written LCV Magazine, 50-odd years after I set out on my voyage in the news business. Moving on is always bitter/sweet. There’s irritation at things you might have done better, plans that didn’t materialise, ideas that didn’t quite come off, the itch to make the next issue better than the current one. Countering that is the lure of vistas yet undiscovered let alone charted. Peeking, like Alice stepping through the looking glass, at new, undiscovered worlds and experiences. The time has come to step aside from the stresses of editing a magazine. But I’m not finished with this craft yet. There are still stories to be written, yarns to be spun, questions to be asked, people to be interviewed. I hope to engage with you again in the pages of LCV Magazine but, as Editor, it’s time for me to bid a fond farewell. To all of the people who have supported me as I developed LCV Magazine editorially and all of you who gave me positive feedback, I say, thank-you. – Mike Stock, Editor.

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NEWS | 2017 VEHICLE SALES

Utes and SUVs set new vehicle sales pace BY MIKE STOCK

Above: Ford’s Ranger outpaced all cars and SUVs in the NZ car market last year to be best-selling vehicle overall. Below left: Emphasising the importance of utes, the Toyota Hilux was second best-selling new vehicle overall. Below right: Mitsubishi’s popular ASX compact wagon was second best-selling SUV last December.

FORD’S RANGER UTE WAS NEW ZEALAND’S BEST-SELLING NEW vehicle in 2017, leading a market that set a new record of 159,871 registrations. The Ford truck was the best-selling overall vehicle for the second year running, logging 9420 registrations, more than a 1000 more than the 8501 it recorded in 2016. Reflecting New Zealanders’ love affair with utes, the Toyota Hilux was the second biggest-selling new vehicle last year; Toyota retailed 8106, a significant rise on the truck’s 2016 showing of 6198 registrations. The third best-seller was a car, Toyota’s Corolla, with 7797 sales, a total boosted by significant sales to rental car companies. David Crawford, the chief executive of the Motor Industry Association (MIA) which represents new vehicle distributors, says members believe current activity levels will continue, but they don’t expect to see sales grow in the way they did in 2017. He says that in December – the most recent month for which sales figures were available when LCV Magazine went to press – registrations were 9.6 percent (980 units) up on the same month of 2016. “A continued robust tourism sector, which in turn drove healthy sales of rental vehicles, helped to make…December the strongest on record with 11,570 new vehicle registrations.”

4 | LCV

That took the 2017 calendar year to an all-time record for the fourth year running. Registrations were nine percent (13,118 vehicles) above 2061’s. Commercial vehicle sales rose by 16.2 percent – 7173 registrations up on 2016; and passenger and SUV sales for 2017 were up by 5945 units and 5.8 percent. Toyota led the overall market in December with 2992 sales and a 26 percent share of the cake. That share was more than two-and-a-half times higher than secondplaced Holden which was on 10 percent (1142 units); Mitsubishi was third with eight percent and 947 sales. Toyota was also ahead in passenger and SUV registrations with a massive 29 percent market share from 2397 sales, followed by Holden with eight percent (669 units) and Mitsubishi, also with an eight percent share from 662 registrations. The top selling passenger and SUV models in December were the Toyota Corolla (1116 sales of which 1011 were rentals); the Toyota RAV4 (516 units of which 309 were rentals) and the Mitsubishi ASX (287 registrations). Ford led the commercial vehicle market with a 19 percent share and 657 sales, from Toyota with 17 percent and 595 registrations. Holden


was third with 14 percent of the market, achieved by 473 sales. The Ranger was December’s best-selling commercial model with 17 percent market share and 597 sales. The Hilux was second with 442 registrations and 13 percent market share (442 units) closely followed by the Holden Colorado – also with 13 percent but from 439 sales. Crawford says November had also been a record month, with 14,594 new vehicle registrations. November sales took the year-to-date tally past the total achieved in the full year in 2016. By the end of November, 148,335 new vehicle had been registered, exceeding the 2016 full year total of 146,753 vehicles by 1582. Toyota led the overall market with a 22 percent share from 3227 sales, followed by Ford with 11 percent (1546 units) and Holden (10 percent and 1489 registrations. Toyota led passenger and SUV registrations with 23 percent market share and 2358 registrations, followed by Holden with 11 percent (1149 units) and Mazda with nine percent and 904 sales. The Toyota Corolla was the segment’s top-seller with 814 units, followed by the Toyota RAV4 (645); the Highlander completed a Toyota clean sweep of the podium with 445 sales. Ford led the commercial vehicle sector in November, with 943 registrations and 22 percent of the action. Toyota was next with 20 percent and 869 sales, followed in a distant third by Holden with eight percent market share and 340

registrations. The Ford Ranger was the best-selling commercial model with 20 percent share (874 units) followed by the Toyota Hilux with 14 percent and 620 sales. Crawford says vehicle segmentation in 2017 reflected the changing patterns of new vehicle registrations with SUVs and light commericals dominating the market. Only the small vehicle segment broke into the top five spots with a 12 percent share. The top two segments were medium SUVs with 17 percent share (26,515 units) followed by the Pick Up/Chassis Cab 4x4 segment with 14 percent (22,175 sales). Large and compact SUVs rounded out the top five spots with 11 percent of the market each. In the luxury passenger and SUV sector, Mercedes-Benz retained the 2017 market leader spot with 2540 registrations, followed by Audi with 2060, and BMW with 1954.

Strong sales to rental car companies helped Toyota’s RAV4 to be best-selling SUV in December 2017.

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NEWS | NEW MODEL FOCUS

Toyota says it has worked to improve the Hilux’s ride quality. Better ride is key to greater success with urban buyers but all of Toyota’s press kit photographs showed the revamped model posing or romping off-road.

BY MIKE STOCK

Toyota revamps Hilux but will it be enough? TOYOTA HAS REVAMPED ITS-TOP SELLING MODEL, THE HILUX ute, shuffling the model line-up, tweaking specifications and working to address its Achilles’ heel, the ride quality. The revised range includes more automatic gearbox variants, a common 3.5-tonne tow rating across all PreRunner and 4WD powertrains, and a differential lock added to the PreRunner range. Toyota New Zealand says that all of the changes are in response to market feedback. “Customers will tell you everything you need to know about satisfying their needs and we are delighted to be able to respond with these enhancements,” says Toyota executive, Spencer Morris. “We’ve also spent considerable time working with the factory to ensure the ride quality delivers greater levels of comfort.” The five new automatic transmission variants include a 2WD PreRunner SR Extra Cab and four SR 4WDs. They come in Single Cab Chassis, Extra Cab chassis, Extra Cab ute and Double Cab chassis configurations. Falling costumer demand has seen Toyota drop V6 petrol engine variants from the range, along with the manual gearbox 4WD Extra Cab ute. “Light truck customers are looking for more automatic transmission options while the demand for the petrol utes has fallen away,” says Toyota NZ’s outgoing general manager of sales, Steve Prangnell. “We’re selling more Hilux than ever before in Toyota New Zealand’s history. “Hilux is Toyota’s top-selling model, a situation we could not have imagined five years ago when the Corolla led sales. “The market swing to utes is unrelenting,” Prangnell adds.

6 | LCV

In other changes, Hilux S and SR models have black, rather than chrome exterior door handles. They also gain variable intermittent-speed windscreen wipers. In response to the tough environments they typically work in all S and SR variants come with easily cleanable PVC floor covering instead of carpet. Toyota has added a reversing camera to all cab/chassis models, making this safety and convenience item standard across the Hilux range. The front foglights on SR5s have been upgraded to LED , and air vents have been added to the centre console for rear seat passengers. A key-lock mechanism has been added to the tailgate of all Extra Cab ute and SR5 variants to improve security. All 4WD SR Double Cab automatic models have added Downhill Assist Control to their suite of driver aids. Standard equipment on all Hilux S models includes cruise control, five-speed manual transmission, Day Time Running Lamps (DRL), and Vehicle Stability Control. They also get Hill start Assist Control, Trailer Sway Control, Emergency Stop Signal, seven airbags, air-conditioning, and eco/power drive modes. The SR variants add a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, rear differential lock and black alloy side steps. The 2WD variants gain PreRunner ride height. Features on the SR5 include Intelligent-Manual Transmission (i-MT) for manual transmissions, 17-inch alloy wheels, smart key entry and start, satellite navigation, and LED headlights, foglights and Day Time Running Lights. They also get leather-wrapped steering wheels and gearshift knobs, climate-control air-conditioning, an alarm and carpet floor covering.


Above left: All PreRunner 2WD and all 4WD Hiluxes now have a maximum tow rating of 3500kg. Above right: Toyota says it’s now selling more Hiluxes than ever and the truck is its biggest seller.

Let’s hope that the 2018 Toyota ute is a more credible all-rounder than its immediate predecessor. Because the new-generation Hilux, introduced at the end of 2015, proved to be a mixed bag. On the one hand there was a superb new engine and excellent six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes. It was a clear advance on its predecessor in terms of mechanical and cabin refinement and on-road dynamics. It handled well, and had good responsive steering. The protruding nose frontal styling polarised some as did Toyota’s choice to go with black-painted steel wheels on some variants. Some felt the former made it a little odd-looking; the latter made it look like a less premium product. But the real problem was the ride quality or – more correctly – lack of it. Subjectively, aside for the SR5 variants, the new Hilux was unexpectedly harsh and out of synch in an era when pick-up trucks are expected to do double-duty as workhorses and urban family transport. You could argue that those are diametrically-opposed requirements and I wouldn’t argue with you. But that’s what the market expects, and the Hilux didn’t deliver. Where others, notably Ford with the smooth (by ute terms) riding Ranger wowed urban cowboys, Toyota’s mindset seemed to still be with the rural or fleet user. And that was at a time when the ute was morphing from being primarily a workhorse into a vehicle that could double as a family car for urban dwellers. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-Toyota. I still have a beloved 1993 Corona EX1800 that converted me to the brand, but sadly has to go the automotive knacker’s yard. It was a brilliant car, if not 100 percent reliable (yes, Toyotas can have their problems too), a car with commonsense design, a little conservative maybe, but an absolute joy to drive. Handling was adequate, roadholding unshakable, the controls intuitive, the steering wheel just about the best I’ve ever encountered. The rim thickness was spot-on just as the diameter was. Clearly the designers had thought about the end-user. Here was a car in-synch with its potential buyers. Which was what astounded me about the 2015 revamp of the Hilux. The designers didn’t seem to be cognisant of

the change in buyers’ expectations of a ute. And Toyota missed the boat with the 2016 Hilux. It should have been able to meet the Ranger on equal terms – Toyota NZ did its best to do that, plugging gaps in the range where the Ford had an edge. But Toyota’s truck with its lumpy ride just wasn’t equipped to stick it to the Blue Oval’s truck, even though in all other respects it was an on-the-ball challenger. During the launch and subsequent home environment testing, I drove Hiluxes maybe 2000 kilometres. The low point came when I tested one and took it over an apparently-innocuous suburban street on my regular commute. This piece of tarsealed road is the best test of ride quality

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LCV | 7


NEWS | NEW MODEL FOCUS

Above: Toyota has dropped petrol engines from the Hilux range, saying there’s simply no demand. Above right: Reversing cameras are now standard on all Hiluxes, including cab/chassis like this one. Right: Much of the sales action may be with fleets and urban buyers looking for dual-purpose transport, but Toyota is clearly determined to show it won’t be abandoning the farming sector by softening up the Hilux (right).

that I’ve ever found, and on it the Hilux failed miserably. So much so that I contemplated leaving it at home and using my Corolla company car instead. As a Toyota fan – yes, I truly am – I just hope that with the suspension re-tune, Toyota has finally brought the Hilux into the modern ute era. I can’t wait to drive it.

Ford uprates Power Stroke V8 diesel FORD HAS UPGRADED THE 6.7-LITRE Power Stroke diesel engine in heavy-duty versions of its F-series pick-up truck for the 2018 model year The engine now develops maximum power of 336kW – a 7.5kW lift over the 2017 model – and delivers 1268Nm of peak torque, a rise of 13.5Nm. Upgrades to the Power Stroke V8 for 2018 include redesigned cylinder heads for added strength under higher

Using a gooseneck hitch, Ford’s F-450 can tow 15.4 tonnes.

8 | LCV

loads. Optimised fuel and turbo boost calibrations are designed to take advantage of the increased cylinder head capacity for increased horsepower and torque. Ford is the only American heavy-duty pick-up truck manufacturer that designs and builds its own diesel engine and transmission combination. The Ford’s body is made from highstrength military-grade, aluminium, and has a high-strength steel box frame, integrated

gooseneck hitch mounts, and added load capacity. The F-450 can carry a 3.3-tonne payload. Using a gooseneck hitch, the new F-450 Super Duty 4x2 dual-rear-wheel truck can tow 15.4 tonnes. That’s a 680kg improvement. Using a conventional hitch, the heavy-duty Ford can tow 9.5 tonnes. Ford is building the Super Duty F-450 4x2 in XL, XLT, Lariat and Platinum versions.


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NEWS | ROUND-UP US market Ford Ranger is engineered to do double-duty as on-road transport and off-road adventure ute.

BY MIKE STOCK

Ranger to roam the US prairies GROWING AMERICAN DEMAND FOR MIDsized utes has spurred Ford to launch the Australian-developed Ranger on to the US market. Ford will start building the Ranger late this year at its Michigan Assembly Plant. Ford says US sales of mid-sized pickups (what we call utes) are up 83 percent since 2014 as a new generation of buyers seeks more manoeuvrable, fuel-efficient trucks. Chevrolet already sells the Colorado in the USA, and Toyota has the Tacoma, a Hilux equivalent. The American market Ranger uses the Mustang pony car’s turbocharged 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, a combination that has led to speculation that an equivalent model will come here. Currently the only engine choice in the NZ market Ranger is a 3.2-litre Duratorq five-cylinder turbodiesel. If the EcoBoost-powered Ranger comes here it might be in the high-performance limited edition Raptor that’s due to arrive later this year. The Ranger Raptor follows the guidelines set by the Ford F-150 Raptor that’s capable of running on off-road tracks at speeds higher than 160km/h. But in New Zealand, a market where the fuel of choice for utes is diesel we can’t see the logic of a turbo petrol-engined mainstream Ranger. Toyota has just dropped petrol engines from its Hilux range, citing buyers’ lack of interest. For the Ranger Raptor, we’d suggest that a tweaked version of the 3.2-litre

10 | LCV

Duratorq diesel is more likely and that a petrol-powered mainstream Ranger is an almost certain no-no. The US Ranger’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine is a tempting proposition with direct fuel injection, a twin-scroll turbocharger and 16 valves. It has a forged-steel crankshaft and connecting rods, and twin chain-driven overhead camshafts. “Ranger’s proven 2.3-litre EcoBoost provides a torque target on par with competing V6 engines, but with the efficiency of a four-cylinder,” says Ford USA executive, Hau Thai-Tang. “When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you’ve got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment.” In a land where petrol is cheap, maybe that’s so: but here? Hau says the American version of the Ranger is designed for a new generation of midsize truck customers who “head off-road to recharge.” It has high ground clearance to help it climb over off-road obstacles. Its FX4 Off-

Road Package provides additional rough road capability with off-road-tuned shock absorbers, and all-terrain tyres. It has a Terrain Management System similar to the F-150 Raptor’s. It includes four distinct drive modes – normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand. The system can shift on-thefly to automatically change throttle responsiveness, transmission gearing and vehicle controls to tailor traction, driveability and performance to any given terrain or weather condition. “The all-new Ranger is designed for today’s midsize truck buyer, delivering even more utility, capability and technology for those who blend city living with more off-thegrid adventures on weekends,” Tau adds. It’s a description not that different from our dual purpose workhorse/family transport concept of the modern ute. What it demonstrates is that worldwide, the ute as we used to know it is no more; sure, there will always be those intended mainly as workhorses, but most will have to be able to do the school run too – or run at high speed off-road.

There are subtle differences in styling of the US Ranger (pictured) and NZ market model. Some sources suggest some of the US styling might be included when local Ranger gets a refresh.


NEWS | DETROIT SHOW

Above: Nissan says it Xmotion concept unveiled at Detroit hints at styling theme for its future SUVs (left); U-shaped LED headlights and modified version of Nissan family grille dominate frontal styling (centre); Long wheelbase and wheel-at-each-corner layout allowed three rows of seats (right).

Xmotion show car blends tradition with high-tech NISSAN BILLED ITS DETROIT MOTOR show Xmotion concept car as “a design exploration for a potentially groundbreaking compact SUV.” It says the six-passenger, three-row Xmotion (pronounced “cross motion”) concept “fuses Japanese culture and traditional craftsmanship with American-style utility and new-generation Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology.” Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice president of global design, says that “in the Xmotion concept, we explored the more rugged and powerful side of Nissan Intelligent Mobility. “Bold and powerful forms and proportions are, upon closer inspection, contrasted with aspects of traditional Japanese craftsmanship expressed in a contemporary way. “The exterior’s combination of western and eastern concepts continues inside the Xmotion, where advanced connectivity and autonomous technologies mix with modern Japanese digital art and cultural craftsmanship.” Signalling the future of Nissan design, the Xmotion’s exterior uses understated sculptural lines, including unique U-shaped headlights and an evolution of the brand’s signature V-motion grille. The visual simplicity of the bodywork

contrasts with the metal-crafted wheels. The mechanical tool-inspired wheels and all-terrain tyres are one piece, with the tyre tread physically laminated over the 21-inch aluminium-alloy wheels. Additional exterior features include a retractable rooftop box and a unique tail light design inspired by Japanese woodwork. The Xmotion’s long wheelbase and wheels pushed out to the extremes of the corners, allowed designers to create a fourplus-two seating layout. There are three rows of side-by-side individual seats, and the cabin has been designed to provide “a perfect space for a young couple, another couple and two children or pets in the third row,” says Nissan. The crafted interior design symbolises a Japanese landscape, honouring Nissan’s roots while incorporating advanced graphic user interfaces and autonomous driving technologies. The interior itself was created with the imagery of a river on the floor, with the centre console acting as a bridge. The console is the core of the interior design and uses a traditional Japanese architectural wood joinery technique, kanawa tsugi, which is found in the carpentry used to build temples and shrines. The Xmotion concept’s instrument panel design is a modern interpretation of traditional

Japanese kigumi wood joinery. Nissan says that by using the kigumi structure in the instrument panel and console, the vehicle’s interior suggests “a robust bone structure, creating a sense of strength and trust.” The interior includes seven digital screen portions. Three main displays and left and right end displays span the width of the instrument panel. There’s also a “digital room mirror” in the ceiling and a centre console display. Users can control the displays and infotainment system using gestures and eye movements. Intuitive controls and a voice command system allow drivers to focus on driving, helping them access various information easily and safely. “We envision the Xmotion concept to be a highly functional SUV that can be driven every day, yet can take the owners and friends to a national park or recreation area on a whim,” Albaisa adds. Nissan is no stranger to cutting edge SUV design. It introduced the Juke compact crossover in the early years of this decade, and the car was an instant success in Japan and Europe. It’s a relatively-small seller here, but has been enormously successful elsewhere, helping to spur the growth of the then-new compact crossover class into the major market segment it is today.

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LCV | 11


ROAD TEST | SSANGYONG REXTON

G4 R S

Main: New G4 Rexton goes as well as it looks. Facing page: New Rexton takes SsangYong brand to a new level (left). Reston handles and rides extremely well, feels like well-sorted sedan rather than a body-on-frame SUV (right).

THE FIRST SSANGYONG I DROVE WAS A MUSSO UTE, BACK when the then distributor’s idea of a road test was a couple of hours. Naturally, I refused his terms, insisting on at least a morning-tofollowing-morning chance to assess whether this thing was any good. After all, if you’re keen, you can log up hundreds of city and country kilometres in a 24-hour period. It was a weird-looking truck with duckbill front end styling and significant gaps between major components like the rear of the cab and the wellside load tray. It all looked kind of disconnected. But it didn’t drive all that badly, and the Mercedes-derived engine was lusty; today that awkward Musso has morphed, through at least one also odd-looking derivative, into the well-regarded if now a little dated, Actyon. The Actyon is nearing the end of its production life and a new variant is about to burst on to the world scene. My second vivid recollection of the SsangYong brand was at a Sydney motor show where, in a backwater inhabited mainly by motorbikes, a colleague and I came upon a vehicle such as we had never seen before. It was an oddly-styled MPV with a cabin section topped at the rear by an incongruous angular section which, we were told later, was intended to suggest the rear of the superstructure of a cabin cruiser motor launch. Really and why? This weird vehicle bore the moniker Stavic which led me to remark in typical foot-in-mouth style: “what the goodness is this, something out of Eastern Europe?” – or words to that effect.

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The legacy of the Skodas and Russian Lada Nivas lingered on, you see. Remember the Lada Niva SUV with its usually out-of-harmony driveshaft which made driving in one at speed feel like you were in the bowl of an old agitator washing-machine? You don’t remember the Niva? Probably best not to. “Hello guys,” came a voice from the shadows – the SsangYong distributor who told us he was going to bring this oddball vehicle to New Zealand. Not, he said, in the 11-seat version SsangYong was showing at Sydney but in a more Kiwi frame-friendly seven-seater. We never drove it but by all accounts the Stavic was pretty good with plenty of power, good cabin space and good on-road dynamics. You just had to ignore the open-mouthed stares of people who saw you driving it or getting out of it. Which brings us in a roundabout way to SsangYong’s newlylaunched Rexton SUV, a SsangYong very different from any that has gone before. It’s the fourth SsangYong to wear the Rexton moniker – hence the G4 label – and it looks, in a way, like an enlarged version of the Tivoli compact crossover SUV the Korean brand launched a couple of years ago. When the Tivoli arrived it was heralded as a new kind of SsangYong, the first of a new breed of vehicles to wear the double dragon badge. It was a nice enough little car, though we drove it for only a short


REXTON TAKES SSANGYONG TO A NEW LEVEL BY MIKE STOCK

time on the model’s media launch; but I can’t recall there being much that made me think that here was a vehicle that was going to change any games. But the G4 Rexton certainly is; it’s one of the best vehicles that we drove in 2017, impressing us in much the same way as Skoda’s Kodiaq SUV did. It’s a traditional-style SUV, using body-on-frame construction with the seven-seater bodywork mounted on a ladder chassis with side rails made of ultra-high-strength steel. The Rexton weighs in a little over 2000kg, is diesel-powered, and has quoted fuel economy on the combined cycle of 8.3 litres/100km. It has double wishbone front suspension, and NZ market models have a solid rear axle which increases towing capacity by 500kg. Safety kit is extensive and the Rexton G4 has nine airbags, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and headlight high-beam assist. Entry and door-locking are by smart key, and there’s push-button engine start/stop. The parking brake is electronic. The Sport model we tested has high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, chrome-look 20-inch alloy wheels (including the spare), LED foglights, and cornering lights. The Sport’s cabin has a classy look and atmosphere, and the well-shaped and supportive seats are upholstered in leatherette. Dashboard design is clean and uncluttered, and the instruments are easy to read.

There is a 9.2 touch-screen and the expected connectivity features; the Rexton is Apple Carplay and Google Androidcompatible, and also has Bluetooth phone and audio functions. The audio system is high-quality and delivers superb sound. From the driver’s seat, the Rexton G4 doesn’t feel big; I was thinking in terms of mid-sized until by chance I parked it next to a Kia Sorento and realised just how big it was. Around town the SUV is manoeuvrable and easy to handle, offering good visibility; an excellent camera system helps to make parking easier. Where the G4 comes into its own is on the open road – not just on motorways and state highways, but on tight and winding roads where a body-on-frame SUV can often feel like a duck out of water. Most of the time the Rexton runs in rear-wheel drive, with fourwheel drive available on demand, and the general handling feel is like a well-sorted rear-drive vehicle. The thing is it felt more like a big car than an SUV. Turn the Rexton into a corner and it does so with alacrity and goes exactly where you point it. There’s none of the wibble-wobble feel common to body-onframe SUVs when they first change direction. And unlike most rivals, the Rexton will handle a road on which corner follows corner and left follows right like a well-sorted big sedan rather than a big, high-riding SUV. It never once felt ungainly and could be flowed from corner to corner smoothly, never ever looking likely to get flustered.

LCV | 13


ROAD TEST | SSANGYONG REXTON

Above left: Dashboard layout is contemporary and tidy. Car’s mechanical quietness means driver needs to keep a weather eye on the speedo. Above right: To our eyes, Rexton doesn’t suit white as well as it does darker paint schemes. The white seems to over-emphasise the sculpted wheelarches. This is top-of-the-line SPR.

In 90km/h-plus sweeping turns on our test loop, the Rexton was superb, running rock-solid with bodyroll completely absent. In the most demanding section with slight off-camber corners on a narrow road running along a ridge its agility was impressive and the well-sorted handling gave me a great feeling of confidence. The steering is well-weighted and accurate and offers good feel. Ride quality is very good and the suspension is firmish but absorbent at urban speeds. There’s none of the body rock that is common to body-on-frame SUVs in city running. Over the bumpy sections of our country road test loop, the Rexton was completely composed and is one of the most stable vehicles we’ve driven.

Styling builds on the thick C-pillar theme introduced by the SsangYong Tivoli compact SUV crossover.

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In the city, the turning circle is impressive and 360-degree turns around the small roundabout at the end of my road were much easier to make than in other SUVs of this type. The Rexton tracked tightly and I never had to resort to bumping over the kerb on the outside of the turn to get it around the obstacle. In fact, it didn’t even seem to get close to touching the kerbs. The Rexton has a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel, delivering a strong 133kW at 4000rpm and a hefty 420Nm of peak torque that comes on stream at 1600rpm and stays there until 2600rpm. It’s an excellent engine, providing vivid acceleration and maintaining cruising speeds effortlessly.


Above left: SPR’s tailgate lifts hands-free if the driver stands behind it with the smart key in pocket. Above right: Range-topping SPR uses quilted effect on door inners, dashboard and seats.

tailgate that raises itself if you stand behind it with the smart key in your pocket. But we preferred the Sport’s more understated trim and we could do without the presence-activated tailgate and the assorted gewgaws that differentiate the SPR from its sibling. Prejudice may be the Rexton’s only real handicap. The thing that may hold back sales is simply the SsangYong name and its association with budget-priced and – well in the past – often somewhat crude vehicles. If this body-on-frame SUV wore a Ford or Toyota badge, it would sell like hotcakes, even though it would certainly then cost a great deal more. It’s one impressive traditional-style SUV, and at a price that undercuts the opposition, the Rexton is truly a value-priced proposition. Get over the name and get into the driver’s seat – this is one of the best SUVs money can buy, well-equipped, surprisingly refined and with a ride handling, and power combination that few can match. And alongside that comes very real off-road ability and SsangYong’s good reputation for reliability, underpinned by SsangYong New Zealand’s five years/150,000km fully-transferable warranty.

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It’s also an extremely quiet unit, even at idle, and you’re hardpressed to identify it as a diesel. Even at full throttle, its sound is muted, and there’s never even a hint of diesel clatter. The engine’s quietness and refinement have one drawback; combined with the general quietness of the car you get virtually no idea of how quickly the vehicle is travelling. A weather eye on the speedo is essential. The engine gives the Rexton the grunt to tow a 3.5-tonne braked trailer, which puts it right up there. The seven-speed gearbox offers all but imperceptible gearshifts, delivers instant kickdown, and is well-matched to the engine, providing seamless acceleration as it travels smoothly up the ratios. Braking performance from the four-wheel discs is very good, with no signs of fade or softening of the pedal even in hard use. On the road, the G4 is impressively-quiet. Even running at 100km/h on chip-sealed country roads, it isn’t exactly “chip seal, what chip seal?” but the noise level is muted and no louder than some rivals’ on smooth-surfaced roads. If we were in the market for a big SUV, we’d certainly consider the G4 Rexton, even against vehicles with unitary bodies. And at a starting price of $59,990 for the Sport it’s very good buying. For an extra $8000 you could move up to the SPR with its quilted upholstery and door and dashboard trim, and an automatic

LCV | 15


ROAD TEST | LDV T60 UTE

Solid safety credentials in LDV’s first ute

BY MIKE STOCK

Frontal styling is dominated by huge chromed grille. The T60 has real on-road presence.

LDV’S T60 UTE SCORED TWO FIRSTS BEFORE IT EVEN REACHED New Zealand showrooms. It was the Chinese van manufacturer’s first-ever ute, and it was the first Chinese-built light commercial vehicle to win the top fivestar safety rating in ANCAP crash testing. To get the T60 to us for tow testing (see tow test in DecemberJanuary LCV), LDV New Zealand quickly prepared a fresh-fromthe-boat ute that had fewer than 10km on the odometer when we picked it up. To say the engine was tight is an understatement, but tow tester Dean Evans put 600km on it and by the time it came back to me it was considerably freer and the performance much livelier. The test vehicle was the range-topping Luxury model which is well-equipped and comes with a six-speaker sound and infotainment system that is Bluetooth and MP5-compatible. It has smartphone integration with Apple Carplay and Google Android. Automatic air-conditioning is standard, and there are daylight running lights, blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, traction control, a tyre pressure-monitoring system, cruise-control, and a reversing camera. The heated front seats are electrically adjustable and are leatherupholstered, and the T60 has a smart key and push-button engine on/engine off. The electrically-adjustable exterior mirrors are heated and autofold when the engine is switched off A 2.8-litre turbodiesel with a variable geometry turbocharger provides the T60 with strong power.

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Maximum horsepower is 110kW at 3400Nm, and peak torque is a useful 360Nm which arrives at 1600rpm and is on-stream until 2800. That’s enough to give the T60 the grunt to tow up to three tonnes on a braked trailer. Acceleration improved the more miles the ute covered, and we’d expect engine performance to continue to do so. It’s not the quietest diesel, though engine noise levels are no greater than in, say, an Isuzu D-Max. But quiet and refined like the Ford Ranger’s five-cylinder or the new Rexton’s 2.2-litre it isn’t. That said, the engine noise is no deal-breaker. It’s not a roughand-clattery unit like the agricultural Perkins motor in the original Land Rover Discovery. The turbodiesel drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox which delivers smooth ratio shifts and good kick-down performance. A rotary dial engages or disengages fourwheel drive. I had no difficulty achieving a comfortable seating position – though the steering wheel is adjustable only for height not reach – and the seats provided good lateral support. We ran the T60 over our regular 160km-plus test loop which mixes urban, motorway, state highway and narrow, winding country roads and found its on-road behaviour to be better than good. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has a comfortable diameter, and the T60 turned-in to corners crisply, tracking accurately. The basic handling trait is mild understeer, and the ESC kept the rear end in line. Gone are the days when a rear-wheel drive ute would step its tail out if you mashed the throttle injudiciously as


Above: Chrome treatment carries over to the rear bumper. Test ute had factory-designed and fitted sports bar. Above right: T60’s lines are clean in profile, and ute’s dimensions are ballpark with Ford Ranger;s. Right: T60’s 2.8-litre turbodiesel motor is a touch noisy but produces strong power and torque.

you exited a corner, or the road was greasy or wet. The T60 tracked well through our favourite sequence of corners that culminates in a descent over a blind brow into a tricky lefthander. In fact, on the sweeping corners than precede that section of narrow rural road and the truly demanding former rally special stage that follows it, the LDV acquitted itself well. It wasn’t as fluid, say, as a Ranger or Holden Colorado in the same terrain, but coped impressively well. The four-wheel disc brakes – a rarity on a ute – performed well, providing strong fade-free braking in winding going. The biggest irritation was the lack of a rest for the driver’s left foot – surely a simple fix and one which would improve driver comfort significantly. Ride quality is a mixed bag. Both LDV utes use a double wishbone front suspension and a leaf-sprung solid rear axle. The workhorse-oriented T60 gets heavy duty springing on both axles, and as a consequence has a lumpy ride. The upscale Luxury has been re-tuned to provide a better ride. Around town it still felt firm but not uncomfortably so, and on smooth surfaced roads at highway speeds it produced a comfortable ride. The issue came on uneven surfaces – some long straight roads on our test loop run across peatland – and here the T60 jumped around a little and had a “floaty” feel. It was cured by shaving a few kilometres per hour off the speed we were doing, but we’d have liked the ute to feel more

composed. We feel a bit more attention paid to achieving a better compromise on uneven-surfaced roads would make the T60 Luxury a better vehicle, especially for passengers. We’ve heard anecdotally that some critics have said the workhorse model’s ride is too hard and the Luxury’s is too soft. We suspect that what they mean by the latter is that the body control is not as good as it should be which may result from the dampers being softened up too much in the quest for a better ride. Incidentally, the Ranger was also less than composed over these same roads, and LDV is said to have used the Ford as a benchmark when developing the T60. Overall, LDV’s first ute is a solid entry into the market’s most competitive segment. It’s well-equipped, has solid safety credentials, and drives well. How well it will fare in the reliability and durability stakes only time can tell. To some extent, early adopters of new arrivals always take a leap of faith and their experiences will form part of a model’s development. However, LDV New Zealand is confident enough in the T60 to offer a five year/130,000km warranty. Virtually all road test vehicles that come to motoring media are low mileage and you’d expect them to be fault-free; however, minor rattles are not uncommon, and occasionally there’s a mechanical glitch. But the LDV was rattle-free, seemed to be well-built, and performed better the more kilometres we put on it. It looks like a ute with real potential.

LCV | 17


ROAD TEST | LDV T60 UTE

THERE’S A LOT OF COMPETITION FOR attention during any typical family drive. Whether it’s snacks for the kids, spilled drinks, questions, commands, cries or any combination of the above, to us a quiet drive only happens on a golf course. Attention-seekers are met with scorn, and I quickly found myself scorning the LDV. From the beeping upon opening the driver’s door, to the beeping for the seatbelt, just a few seconds in the cabin and I’m already irritated. Then after a few kilometres of suburban running, the car keeps beeping, thanks to the overly sensitive Lane Departure Warning, sounding off when straight-lining a gentle corner, when crossing an intersection or even, occasionally, for no reason at all. Digging into the menu reveals a setting which showed it was already at its least sensitive. So after locating the off switch on the dash, things became a little less stressed. But it still beeped on occasion. That all draws my attention away from the practical side I’m supposed to be focusing on,

so back to it. On paper, I was quite impressed by the LDV T60, as this Luxury model has all the modern equipment. It’s a relatively high climb aboard, helped by the big sidesteps, only to drop on to – rather than into – a rather hard, high-set seat, devoid of any lumbar adjustment. Even after a few days, I was still not comfortable, partly hindered by the lack of steering wheel reach adjustment. The stand-out feature of the LDV is the big 10-inch central touch-screen, which looks great and offers a big view of the options or the reversing camera. But my affection ends there, as the layout of the controls is not intuitive, overly complex, and keeps reverting to a screen saver after 60 seconds (the maximum time allowed). So I can’t view at a glance, for example, the radio station we’re on, or the temperature the climate control is set at, without pressing a button. The screen suffers badly from reflections at particular angles, and there’s no marking

on the shifter, either, to signal which gear has been selected, only the display in the dash. I like the basic layout and design, but it’s less friendly in use. Other things grate: like the lack of an ‘OK’ button when a dash warning illuminates (as it did after 90 minutes relentlessly suggesting a coffee break). Also, there’s no back-lighting of the buttons on the steering wheel, the semi-covered seatbelt release button, or the ability to easily adjust the climate-control air-conditioning by one degree without waiting for the screen to wake up and display the set temperature. It leaves you wondering if that was the last temperature setting or the new one. The interior mirror also interferes with the driver’s sunvisor, there is no driver’s left foot footrest, and though the Bluetooth phone connection worked well, there was no ‘answer’ button on the steering wheel, only one to hang-up. On the positive side, ‘cooled’ can-holders

Below: 1. Rear seats are basic – they have a drop-down centre armrest and there are power windows, but there’s not much else in the back cabin. 2. Big 10-inch screen offers a big rear view, with steering guidelines, though can be heavily pixelated at night. 3. Space in the rear is good, as is the B-pillar handle to assist entry. 4. After 60 seconds, the main screen reverts to a screensaver. Does it really need saving, because it’s highly impractical?

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2

3

4


Right above: The clean gauge design suffers from reflections from the steering column surround.

LDV T60 LUXURY AT-A-GLANCE Brief Specifications

Right: The seatbelt release button is partly hidden behind the seatbelt buckle. Far right: Along with the twin centre console cupholders, two pop-out can-coolers are located in front of each side vent.

pop out from each side vent. The T60 Luxury may be the top-spec model but the frills are few in the back seat, with a fold-down centre armrest with cup-holders, and a 12v socket and power windows. There is decent legroom, and entry/ egress is easy thanks to the steps and handy B-pillar handle. The rear cabin is basic but competent. But even with three adults and two kids aboard, the ride is not for this family. It’s both floaty and harsh, and even after 10 minutes of floating and bobbing over undulations, we had to knock off 20km/h to make it bearable for passengers. It’s not the noisiest diesel I’ve driven but it’s close to it, and its performance conjured the word slow, even considering

the low kilometres the test T60 had travelled (0-100km/h in 12.8 seconds). Even 100km/h was marked by an audible increase in wind noise, which we hope was down to the optional weathershields. At least the trade-off in fuel consumption offers some respite, clocking 8.6 litres/100km for our 600km of suburban/motorway miles, impressively better than the claimed 9.6 litres/100km. I was told that the T60 towed well, and I’m sure there will be many who love the T60’s attributes, and its competitive pricing, and those who can live with the beeping and quirks. But as family transport, the T60 is solid and capable, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. – Arna Evans

ENGINE

2.8-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel. Maximum power, 110kW @ 3400rpm. Peak torque, 360Nm @ 1600rpm.

TRANSMISSION

Six-speed automatic gearbox. Rearwheel drive, selectable four-wheel drive.

SUSPENSION

Front, double wishbone. Rear, leafsprung solid axle.

BRAKES

Front, discs. Rear, discs.

WHEELS AND TYRES

17-inch alloy wheels and 245/65 R17 tyres. Full-sized alloy spare wheel.

SAFETY

5-star ANCAP rating. Six airbags, five lap/sash seatbelts, ESC, ABS, EBD.

PERFORMANCE

Tow rating, 3000kg braked trailer. Payload, 815kg. Turning circle, 12.6 metres.

DIMENSIONS

Length, 5365mm. Width, 2145mm. Height, 1844mm. Wheelbase, 3155mm. Cargo bed dimensions: length, 1525mm; width, 1510mm (1131mm between wheelarches); depth, 530mm. Fuel tank capacity, 75 litres.

WARRANTY

5 years/130,000km. Service Intervals.

LCV Magazine rating. 3.5 out of five. Good: strong performance, towing ability, safety kit. Not so Good: engine noise, floaty ride at speed on uneven roads.

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www.airplex.co.nz LCV | 19


ROAD TEST | FORD RANGER WILDTRAK

WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES THE RANGER SO SPECIAL? BY MIKE STOCK

IT’S THE DARLING OF THE NEW ZEALAND new vehicle market, not just the best-selling ute but the best-selling vehicle – period. And demand for Ford’s Ranger shows no signs of slackening. In fact, since it edged ahead of the Toyota Hilux to become NZ’s best-selling ute in 2014, Ranger sales have simply expanded. For instance, in June last year, the Blue Oval sold close to 1200 of them in one month. June is Fieldays month when ute sales go crazy, but the Ranger’s performance caused many a jaw to drop. Its appeal to buyers seems unending, and Ford has followed a policy of continuous improvement, like making engine refinements that lowered noise vibration and harshness (NVH) levels. It has also retuned the suspension to make

20 | LCV

the truck more dual-purpose and city and family-friendly without compromising off-road ability. And it added electrically-boosted power steering to improve sharpness and precision and reduced noise and vibration. It has endowed the ute with cutting edge connectivity features formerly seen only in passenger cars, including the latest version of Ford’s SYNC system. Looks-wise, the Australian-designed ute has had one mid-life freshen: the current trapezoidal grille replaced the horizontalbarred original unit. Visually, it’s probably due for another revamp, and that may come in the wake of the Ranger’s move into the mid-sized ute section of the American market (see story in the news section of this magazine).

Any new look is likely to coincide with the arrival of the high-performance Raptor model later this year. So what is it that gives this undeniably handsome-looking pick-up truck its enduring appeal? We re-tested it in January to try to get a handle on what it is that makes the Ranger so special. After all, rivals are coming close – like the revitalised Holden Colorado that we made LCV Magazine’s 2017 Ute of the Year. The changes Holden made to the Colorado in 2016 so transformed the ute that it was almost a no-brainer as the logical choice for our award. But even in making the award we noted that the Holden still wasn’t quite on a par with the Ford. The test Ranger was the top-of-the-line


Wildtrak Double Cab 4x4, finished in grey metallic, with two-toned orange fabric and black leather interior trim and seat upholstery. It’s a classylooking interior. After a few days with the Ranger, including a long country drive that included our regular test loop, we think we’ve identified two things that are major keys to the Ford’s market appeal. The first is all-round refinement. Refinement is a Ranger strong point and extends from in-cabin quietness to the ride quality and the way the truck steers. Noise levels are well-muted. The engine is generally very quiet until you floor the throttle and big five-cylinder bellows like a Wagnerian heldentenor . The 3.2-litre Duratorq sounds much less

like a diesel than the rival Holden Colorado’s 2.8-litre four-cylinder or the VW Amarok’s. The motor has a lovely evocative note – as unique in its way as the Subaru boxer four’s V8-like beat used to be before the Japanese make sanitised it – and it roars gutturally when you pound the pedal. It’s a very different sound, and a pleasing one. Cabin noise is moderate even on the harshest of chip-sealed tarmac surfaces and there’s little detectable wind noise. In short, the cabin is a nice, quiet and restful place to be. We feel that another important key to the Ranger’s success is that during the vehicle’s

development, Ford’s design team obviously thought long and hard about what the endusers – passengers as well as driver – would want of the truck. Consider the nicely minimal dashboard layout and its user-friendly controls. There’s everything that needs to be there, nothing that doesn’t. This less is more approach adds a feeling of class. A big touch-screen puts you in command of a myriad of functions and sits in centre-dash, easy to read, easy to reach, and simple to use. The instrumentation is dominated by a large-diameter speedometer directly ahead of the driver, and a blue indicator needle makes it easy to see where your speed is on the analogue dial. At the top of the dial is the marking for

Main: The vehicle that has captured Kiwi ute buyers’ hearts. Handsome Ranger dominates the market and continues to set sales records. Insert: Ranger still looks fresh; Ford designers have eschewed using chrome detailing, instead going for an elegant black.

LCV | 21


Above left: The view of the Ranger that its rivals have seen in the ute sales race. Above right: Fender-mounted “vent” distinguishes Ranger. Wildtrak decal is discreet, alloy wheels elaborate without being over the top. Below: Neatly-styled sports bar blends with the rear of the cab, adds an extra touch of class.

100km/h which makes it easy to keep tabs on the speed limit, an important factor in these days of zero tolerance enforcement. The tachometer is to the right, a small instrument that you can consult if you need to. But how many people ever consult the rev counter – even in a high-performance sports car? For other than race drivers, the tacho is something to stare at as you blip the throttle and watch the needle hurtle around the dial. It’s become a toy-for-a-boy rather than a genuine driver aid in a day when you have less need to be concerned about over-revving engines because they’re usually slightly overengineered and are electronically-controlled anyway. Ford’s tacho in the Ranger is about the size of the dial on a Longines watch; the key instrument in this day of strict speed-policing is the speedo and Ford has recognised that. My only quibble about the controls was a certain awkwardness in finding the slot for the ignition key on the steering column; I always seemed to have it at the wrong angle, the blade vertical when it should have been horizontal. The seating is excellent, and there’s good legroom in the rear cabin. The only criticism came from the front seat passenger who said

22 | LCV

her legs felt cramped and she could have done with more room. Performance is very good and the engine’s 147kW of maximum power and 470Nm of peak torque ensure good acceleration and the ability to tow a 3.5-tonne braked trailer. The Ranger accelerates willingly and always feels like it has plenty in reserve, never feeling as if it could do with more oomph. Generally, handling is excellent. The steering – controlled by a nicely-chunkyrimmed leather wrapped steering wheel – is sharp but retains plenty of feel and the Ranger can be placed extremely precisely. Point it into a 90km/h-plus sweeping corner and it turns-in eagerly, with a nice rear-wheel drive feel (after all, on-road it runs in rearwheel drive) as the weight transfers to the outside rear wheel. Ride is generally very good. It’s firmish but very comfortable around town and the Ranger sailed serenely over the bumpy section of suburban road we use to assess low-speed ride. It’s an innocuous-looking section of tarmac but there are hidden, high-frequency bumps that quickly point up any shortcomings in ride quality. But on our regular test loop, and running at 100km/h, the Wildtrak felt a little unsettled over bumps and undulations on a section of road built on peatland. It wasn’t quite as marked as it was on the LDV T60 which – we understand – used the Ranger as a benchmark in its development, but it wasn’t what we had been expecting. The Ranger also discovered an unsettling bump on a moderately-difficult left-hand corner off a bridge a kilometre or so further along the route. It’s a bend where the actual corner is a few metres further down the road than you’re anticipating as you drive off a narrow bridge. It’s the kind of corner where rally navigators would tell their drivers, “don’t cut” because if they did, they’d turn-in too soon and zip into

a ditch. We’ve pushed several different utes, SUVs and even vans into this corner and they’ve never been unsettled by what to most is a minor bump. But the Ranger got really lively here, with a hunker down followed by a slight shuffle sideways – not a big shuffle but enough to get your attention. Maybe it was travelling a tad quicker than others we’ve driven through this bend – for the Ranger has a very competent chassis and unshakable roadholding and will handle turns at higher speeds than many rivals. Whatever the reason, the little shuffle sideways before the Ranger regained its composure came as a surprise. Over our handling road where corner follows corner with a few straights, plenty of blind crests, and bends that demand precision, the Ranger was excellent. The brakes (disc front, drum rear) were strong, the turn-in crisp with only moderate understeer – though surprisingly, a couple of times, I had to wind on more lock that I remembered having to do in rivals. I’m inclined to think, though, that the Ford’s point-to-point time and cornering speeds were a little up on the other vehicles’. The Ranger’s six-speed automatic gearbox is excellent, shifting smoothly and quickly, though we were a little disappointed by the hesitant and – ultimately slow – kickdown when you floored the throttle off a corner. The pause felt a nanosecond too great. The Ranger is a hit with Kiwi ute buyers – you don’t sell them at the rate of 1200 a month as Ford NZ did last June if the product doesn’t meet buyers’ expectations – but is it the best ute on the market? If we were to be asked, we’d say it’s a close call between the Ford Ranger and the Holden Colorado. The old Colorado wasn’t exactly a dog but it couldn’t hold a candle to the Ford. But the improvements the General made


FORD RANGER WILDTRAK AT-A-GLANCE Brief Specifications ENGINE

3.2-litre Duratorq Euro 5 five-cylinder turbodiesel. Maximum power, 147ykW @ 3000rpm. Peak torque, 470Nm @ 1500rpm.

TRANSMISSION

Six-speed automatic. Selectable four-wheel drive.

SUSPENSION

Front, double wishbone. Rear, leaf-sprung solid axle.

BRAKES

Front, ventilated disc. Rear, drum.

WHEELS AND TYRES

18-inch alloy and 265/60 R18 tyres.

SAFETY

Six airbags. Five lap/sash seatbelts, ESC, ABS, EBD.

PERFORMANCE

Tow rating, 3500kg braked trailer. Fuel economy: 8.7 litres/100km (Ford figure for combined cycle).

DIMENSIONS

Length, 5351mm. Width, 1860mm. Height, 1848mm. Wheelbase, 3220mm. Cargo bed: length, 1549mm; width, 1560mm; depth, 511mm.

WARRANTY

3 years/100,000km.

Top: Dashboard design is extremely neat and logical. Instrumentation is dominated by large easy-to-read speedo, leather-wrapped steering wheel is a pleasure to use. Below left: There is good legroom for rear seat passengers. Below right: Sports-style front bucket seats get a two-tone finish and are comfortable and supportive.

to the Colorado in 2016 took it into a new league; we figured at the time that it had gotten closer to the Ranger. This test of the Ranger has confirmed that impression, and the Holden has possibly the best and most responsive steering in the ute genre. Both handle, perform and ride well, both have high levels of refinement, though we’d give the nod to the Ford whose engine is quieter and generally feels the smoother of the two. However, if it is to retain its market leadership, we think that the time has come for Ford to do a little more than make regular

upgrades to the Ranger. It may be time to make a similar leap forward to the one that saw it topple the Toyota Hilux as NZ’s king of utes. Right now, the Ranger is king but the challengers are gathering, and as the Ranger is the most important vehicle in Ford’s portfolio, the Blue Oval boys can’t afford to let it lose ground. One of the lasting impressions from a week with the Ranger is that it is very much the sum of its parts, a vehicle that does everything well and some things outstandingly. It scores heavily on refinement and intelligent design in which the end user has

EKO Sport Canopy

been considered from day one of the design process. It is well made, and it is enjoyable to drive in all environments. It has the feel-good factor you get when driving prestige cars: when you’re driving them, those sort of vehicles make you feel good about them and about yourself. At the end of the day they may be transport but they have an x-factor that sets them apart from their rivals. The Ford Ranger Wildtrak is one of those vehicles. It’s easy to understand why so many Kiwis have bought them. If there’s an aspirational ute on the NZ market, it’s the Ford Ranger.

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LCV | 23


BEST BARS. BY FAR. FOCUS ON TOWING –

HOLDEN COLORADO Z71 Colorado’s massive torque – 500Nm in the auto as tested – made light work of towing.

Hard to fault Holden’s range-topping Colorado STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY DEAN EVANS

AT LCV MAGAZINE, WE’RE IMPRESSED BY HOLDEN’S COLORADO – so much so that we awarded it the 2017 LCV Ute of the Year. Having sampled its revisions in late 2016, we were equally pleased with its refinements in steering, noise and vibration, and were unsurprised to see it hold on to its number three sales position for ute sales in 2017. Available in 12 models starting from just under $40,000, the range-topper is the Z71 4x4 model which has a sticker price of $67,000. All Colorados run the same 2.8-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine that produces a solid 147kW of maximum power and puts down solid acceleration numbers: 0 to 60kmh in 3.9 seconds (halfa-second faster than a Ford Ranger), and 100km/h in 9.9 seconds (one full second faster). Anything under 10 seconds is sharp in

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unladen-ute territory. Where the Colorado shines is the torque its engine produces. And though it’s only a few Newton metres above its direct topselling Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger rivals, the Holden develops a very marketable 500Nm when combined with the six-speed automatic version (440Nm for manual). That output is bettered only by the $84,000 Volkswagen Amarok V6 ute – and it’s rather handy when it comes to hauling its towing limit of 3500kg, plus a tonne of payload. Holden even has a comprehensive payload calculator on its website, to provide a guide to a final payload rating based on accessories, passenger weight, equipment and down-weight on the towball. Today, as wet test the truck with two up and some camera gear,

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Above left: Car trailer and tractor/mower combination provided a load of just over 2500kg. Above right: Tow tester Dean Evans rated the Colorado Z71’s towing ability at 5 out of 5. Below: Dual-axle trailer provided good stability when towing and distributed weights across its own axles.

we’ve loaded up the Colorado Z71 to see how it handles around 2700kg – about 75 percent of its capacity. We’re hauling a car trailer, tractor and mower, all courtesy of and available from Kennards Hire’s new branch in Hamilton. As the weight was just over 2500kg – the legal maximum without service brakes – the Kennards Hire guys even supplied us with a plug-in remote electric brake set-up that was set to match the trailer and tractor combination’s weight. The Colorado’s key rivals, Ranger and Hilux, sport similar engine capacities, power and torque, but a reasonably-high 18psi of turbo boost endows the Colorado with the magic 500Nm. Impressively, however, it never sounds like it’s working hard. There’s a normal amount of diesel noise, and from five to 30km/h, the acceleration is very impressive. It’s these strengths that remain when we hook up the Holden ute

with the burden of weight. With the 1700kg of tractor/mower perched on the trailer to distribute the load across its own axle weights, rather than the tow ball’s, the Colorado seems to barely suffer at all from any ill effects. As a guide, we measured the 0 to 60km/h acceleration time, and discovered a keen reluctance to be bothered by the extra weight. Its towing time of 7.3 seconds to 60km/h is immensely impressive – and seconds faster than other recent comparable ute tests. We guide the long and low cargo out of Kennards driveway, squeeze on the throttle and the response is equally strong and immediate, with a rush of torque and acceleration. And within three or four stop-start traffic lights, it’s almost as if the trailer isn’t there, with the Colorado effortlessly reaching the urban speed limit.


BEST BARS. BY FAR. FOCUS ON TOWING –

HOLDEN COLORADO Z71

Above left: Good-sized reversing camera helped when backing towball up to trailer hitch. Above right: Load looks impressive viewed through rear window looking along Colorado’s hard tonneau lid. Below: Kennards Hire provided the tractor/mower and trailer from its Hamilton branch.

Braking, naturally enough, needs a firmer shove on the pedal, but with the adjustable electronic controller able to scale its assistance up and down quickly, it was easy to minimise pedal effort and help stabilise the trailer. Surfing through the streets, as would be typical for this application, the only reminder that we were hauling something was the bright orange bucket in the interior mirror; and the width of the trailer that sometimes needed extra care, but was handled easily using the large exterior mirrors. With a little more weight over the rear, the ride quality also improved, not that it was an issue previously, and even the sharp

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steering seemed largely unaffected. However the tuning circle remains the only consideration: at 12.7 metres, it’s on the large side, though more noticeable around town and when parking, than while towing. As speeds increase, so does the confidence. The overall control, ride, steering and performance package is as good as it gets in this leading ute class. The Colorado slips through its six-speed automatic gearbox eagerly and often in the ideal gear; and basically showing how it’s done properly. After a few hundred kilometres, we’re back into the Kennards

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Test Colorado looked handsome in black – this particular vehicle has an All Black provenance, being driven previously by Holden ambassador Mils Muliaina.

yard, suitably impressed. Being critical of Colorado’s towing ability isn’t easy, with only the fuel use being a minor issue. Around town with normal driving (not towing), we saw the Colorado use around 9.8 litres/100km, and a little less on the motorway. When loaded up and working harder, all that torque does

HOLDEN COLORADO Z71 AT-A-GLANCE

Brief Tow Test Specifications

use more fuel, but at 14.5 litres/100km it’s proportional with the performance and its rivals like the Ranger. On the back of another strong sales year and our previous experience with the Colorado, the Z71 came into this test with high expectations – and it didn’t disappoint. Our thanks to: Kennard’s Hire Hamilton 07 834 4090, www. kennardshire.co.nz for providing the trailer and load.

Watch our towing video, and Like LCV Magazine, at: www.facebook.com/NZLightCommercialVehicle.

ENGINE

2.8-litre four-cylinder Euro 5 turbodiesel. Maximum power, 147kW @ 3600rpm. Peak torque, 500Nm & @ 2000rpm.

TRANSMISSION

Six-speed automatic gearbox. Rear-wheel drive with selectable four-wheel drive.

LCV MAGAZINE TOW TEST ARCHIVE

SUSPENSION

Front, doubled wishbone. Rear, leaf-sprung solid axle.

December 2017/January 2018

LDV T60 Luxury

October/November 2017

2017 Holden Captiva

August/September 2017

2017 Isuzu D-Max ute

June/July 2017

Ford Ranger Wildtrak

April/May 2017

Foton Tunland

BRAKES

Front, disc. Rear, drum.

WHEELS AND TYRES

18-inch alloy and 265/60 RT18 tyres.

PERFORMANCE

Payload, 1000kg. Tow capacity, 3500kg. Turning circle, 12.7 metres.

February/March 2017

Volkswagen Amarok V6.

December/January 2017

Holden Colorado Z71

Seven airbags, ESC, ABS, EBD.

October/November 2016

Summer towing tips

August/September 2016

Hyundai iLoad Van

June/July 2016

Toyota Hilux 2WD

April/May 2016

Ford Everest SUV

February/March 2016

Volkswagen Amarok four-cylinder

December 2015/January 2016

Mazda BT-50

SAFETY DIMENSIONS WARRANTY

Length, 5361mm. Width, 1872mm. Height, 1800mm. Wheelbase, 3096mm. 3 years/100,000km.

LCV Magazine’s tow rating. 5 out of 5. A great performer that’s hard to fault.


FOCUS ON PRODUCTS

US-developed Decked storage system contains two drawers and is fully waterproof.

Waterproof storage system available for utes

UTE ACCESSORIES SPECIALIST BEAUT UTES HAS begun distributing a new in-vehicle storage system that is waterproof and can carry a one-tonne load. Designed and made in the USA, Decked is a truck cargo bed storage system which raises the surface of the vehicle’s deck to create secure space underneath. It creates extra waterproof storage space for things like tools. The storage space keeps tools and equipment out of the way while at the same time, protecting them from severe weather. The newly-raised deck space can still be used as a normal truck bed and has a one-tonne load capacity. Decked has been marketed in America for several years, but hasn’t been available for mid-size utes like the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux. The mid-sized ute market is growing in America and the Ranger is going in there to challenge the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma. When Decked units designed to fit mid-sized utes became available, Beaut Utes took the opportunity to introduce the product to New Zealand. Beaut Utes says Decked differs from other drawer systems because it is fully-waterproof and doesn’t need a cargo space canopy or hard lid to keep equipment out of the rain. It’s other main difference is that up to one tonne cargo can be carried on top of it. Beaut Utes says Decked will carry the weight of a quad bike with ease. It says Decked weighs less than 100kg, so it has minimal impact

on payload. Decked has two massive, secure, and weatherproof full cargo bed-length drawers for organising and storing. Each drawer has a 90kg load threshold, and they have been designed to slide in and out effortlessly even when they’re loaded to full capacity. The drawers roll on four over-sized, sealed-bearing wheels riding in dedicated channels. Each drawer can be customized to accommodate customers’ needs by adding trays and dividers. Other extras include locks to secure expensive tools and other essentials. There are also Core Trax 1000 tie-downs to secure bulky loads to the deck, and multiple trays and dividers for full customisation. Beaut Utes will have Decked available from mid-February.

Up to one tonne of cargo can be loaded on to the Decked storage system.

US-made warning lights arrive in NZ VEHICLE LIGHTING SPECIALIST, Narva, has been appointed as the exclusive New Zealand distributor of Federal Signal emergency vehicle warning lights. Most of the range was designed and is manufactured in the United States. Narva NZ’s Tim Paterson says the new partnership enables his company to offer a wider range of products to police,

ambulance and fire services. “Narva has a strong existing range of emergency service lighting but now has a well-established, full range of red and blue products to realise the potential in New Zealand.” Federal Signal is best known for its powerful police vehicle-mounted light-bars, along with siren and speaker systems. It recently added body cameras to this line-up. There are also light-bars and sirens designed specifically

designed for ambulances and fire engines. There’s also a range of warning lights and signalling devices for civil contracting and local authority vehicles. Paterson says the wider availability of Federal Signal products in New Zealand, coupled with backing from Narva, will greatly help the brand achieve strong penetration into the local market. “With Narva on board there’s the strong stability and industry know-how to properly promote the Federal Signal brand, allowing it to meet its full potential here.”

Federal Signal Integrity Light-bars are among a wide range of products tailored to suit emergency service and civil workplace applications.

28 | LCV


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LCV | 29


NEWS SPECIAL

Haval unveils production PHEV wagon

CHINESE SUV SPECIALIST HAVAL TOOK THE WRAPS off a production version of its first plug-in hybrid vehicle at the Guangzhou Motor Show in China. The P8 SUV – launched under the company’s Wey luxury brand (named after Haval owner, Jack Wey) – goes on sale in China in the first quarter of 2018. Shown in prototype form at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, the P8 has a PHEV powertrain coupling a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with electric motors on each axle. The combined power output of 250kW of maximum power and 520Nm of peak torque, drives all four wheels through a six-speed dual clutch transmission. Haval says the P8 can hit 100km/h in 6.5 seconds, and can return fuel consumption of 2.3 litres/100km. The home charger can fully charge the vehicle in four hours. Haval says the maximum range is 660 kilometres. Safety kit includes autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane change assist, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear

30 | LCV

Above: Haval’s new PHEV – marketed under the company’s Wey luxury label – has bold ‘face’ typical of Chinese vehicles. Below: Side profile uses currently in-vogue coupe style and has athletic lines.

cross traffic alert, a 360-degree camera and a streaming rear-view mirror. Company chairman Jack Wey says the P8 is a milestone in his journey to put luxury vehicles within reach of all consumers. And he says Haval is well on the way to becoming a leader in autonomous vehicles. “Our XEV concept we showed at Frankfurt Motor Show has already reached an L3 level of automation and we are on target to reach L4 in the next two years.” L3 vehicles allow drivers safely to turn their attention away from driving, with the vehicle capable of emergency braking and other tasks. But it still requires the driver to undertake duties/inputs if requested. L4 doesn’t require a human for any driving actions, with the car able to respond to any situation and guide itself to its destination.


ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Electric truck future for Fuso

FUSO HAS LAUNCHED AN ALL-ELECTRIC BRAND, E-Fuso, to build and sell electric-powered light- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), part of Daimler Trucks, became the first truck-maker to launch a brand exclusively dedicated to electric trucks when it announced E-Fuso at the Tokyo Motor Show. It says that, through E-Fuso, it plans to electrify its complete range of trucks and buses in coming years. Heading its new line-up is the 23-tonne E-FUSO Vision One concept vehicle, which can be fitted with up to 300kW/h of batteries allowing a maximum range of 350km with an approximate 11-tonne payload. President and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation and Head of Daimler Trucks Asia Marc Llistosella, said the Vision One “underlines our commitment to electrify our complete product range.” He said a production version of the Vision One could be launched in Japan and Europe as early as 2021. “Fuso has been a pioneer in the electrification of trucks for many years,” said Llistosella. “Just one month ago we launched our eCanter, the first serialproduced, all-electric light duty truck. “In the future, all our electrified vehicles will run under the name of E-Fuso, our new product brand dedicated exclusively to electric trucks and buses.” UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company, became the first US commercial customer to add the eCanter to its fleet. Above: Fuso’s all-electric brand, E-Fuso, will build and sell electricpowered light-duty (right, in photograph) and heavy-duty trucks.

www.

.co.nz

37 Kaimiro street, Hamilton | sales@actionmanufacturing.co.nz | 07 850 2410

LCV | 31


SPECIAL FEATURE | ISUZU NLR

Little Isuzu that punches above its weight

BY DEAN EVANS

ISUZU HAS TEAMED UP WITH SERVICE BODIES AUSTRALIA and Palfinger to create a quick-to-build lightweight urban workhorse that can be driven on a car licence. It’s the perfect truck for operators who’ve outgrown a ute, but don’t want a big truck, and for when a one-tonne ute isn’t enough, but a three-tonne one is overkill. That’s where the appeal of this Isuzu NLR 250S service truck, fitted with Service Bodies Australia CityPro bodywork, becomes clear when you examine it closely. The Isuzu/SBA combination is an exclusive partnership between Isuzu Australia and Service Bodies Australia (and Palfinger for the crane option). Kiwi and Aussie companies have worked together to make a highly practical and compact workhorse based around the N Series of Isuzu light trucks. The bodies are imported into New Zealand and fitted by two companies: CAL Isuzu in Hamilton does the work for North Island customers, and Smallbone Isuzu in Ashburton and Timaru for the South Island buyers. SBA offers two main truck body models, the CityPro and UrbanPro; there are six to seven size derivatives and a range of payloads from 1800k to 2500kg that can be driven by car licence holders. Payloads of up to 4000kg for heavy-duty service, for both car and truck licences. “There are six basic models across the range,” says CAL Isuzu’s Andrew Farrell, at the large Isuzu truck dealership in Te Rapa Park, Hamilton. When LCV Magazine called, CAL had just finished its first unit, the vehicle pictured, a NLR 250S fitted with the CityPro body

32 | LCV

The ease with which the units come together is a key aspect of their appeal. “The units come in fully fitted and ready to be put on to a chassis cab,” says Andrew. “Fitment takes around three to four hours, depending on the level of accessories. “This is the smallest in the range, on the NLR narrow cab, short-wheelbase.” The truck’s cab offers a good all-around view, and is wide enough to comfortably fit three across. There’s a range of factory Isuzu equipment, including remote central door-locking, adjustable suspension on the driver’s seat base, adjustable steering, and a Bluetooth-enabled sound system that’s smarter than it first looks. Offering both USB and 3.5mm inputs, it can operate satnav through an optional GPS SD card; the system also features an optional Isuzu reversing camera and audio unit, which is integrated into the body though a profile-cut hole. It can run up to four camera/audio units that can be selected manually anytime. They can be selected individually, or as a combination for two, three or four split-screen displays. There’s also a beacon button on the right-hand side of the dashboard which operates the optional accessory roof light. The clue that the cab is a little bit special is a DIN-sized panel to the left of the audio system that contains a solitary rocker switch for the internal body light. It’s positioned to allow for easy access from either the left- or righthand side of the parked vehicle. The simple switch activates several LEDs that are incorporated cleverly throughout the storage areas. The switch offers another clue about the integration of the body on to the chassis. Three small harnesses that integrate into the Isuzu’s wiring loom


Opposite page: Service truck combines Isuzu NLR cab/chassis with ready-to-fit Australian-manufactured SBA body. Above: Fitting the pre-built body takes two to three days depending on the level of customisation. Below clockwise: An SBA body as delivered, ready for fitting and the addition of a crane. | Storage compartments have internal lighting. Note the doors’ robust construction. | Double-locking gates ensure cargo is secure in the load bed. | Opened tall storage unit shows off adjustable shelving and storage pockets in the doors.

LCV | 33


SPECIAL FEATURE | ISUZU NLR

Above: Isuzu’s 110kW/375Nm turbodiesel ensures the service truck has plenty of power. Standard truck can be driven on a car licence. Below left to right : Doors all open – the SBA body provides a lot of lockable secure storage. The door-locking system locks and unlocks the cab doors and the doors on the storage compartments.

for the switch effectively enable the truck’s plug-and-play system, controlling LEDs and central locking, that unlocks not just the cab doors, but each of the 12 cabinet doors on the truck’s bodywork. It’s also a smart system; if any of the doors are ajar, the central locking won’t activate, signalling the safety or security risk. With the doors unlocked, the body reveals eight main storage areas. They start with a tall, narrow through box, which is accessible from either side of the truck, and is ideal for long tools – shovels, for example – or cylindrical objects that could roll around. The doors themselves are double-skinned, thick and sturdy. They have slam-shut paddle handle locks that feature two-stage rotary latching: a quick flick for closing, or a harder shut for locking, though either stage is steadfastly secure. Inside each door are several pockets for aerosol cans and small items; there are three shelves on each of the mid doors and four shelves on the taller rearmost locker. And each door also has a damper, adding another level of quality and operation. With the CityPro replicating the powder-coated body in a mirrorimage cabinet design on both sides, the leading door on each side is the sealing door. Each of the shelves can be tailored through a range of nine heights in the mid bins, or 14 heights in the rearmost lockers; or they can be removed completely. For example in the rear cabinets, they can be removed to take an oxy-acetylene kit, with provision for venting.

34 | LCV

Additional considerations in the body include a cut-out for access to the spare wheel and fuel filler, and a small lower front door on the passenger’s side allows access to the battery and jump-start terminals. At the rear, anti-slip steps and dual grab-handles make three-point access easy, with grip-tape on the edge of chequerplate maximising foot traction, allowing safe and easy access to the bed’s storage area. There are six tie-down points on the bed. Affixed to the subframe, each is rated at one tonne. Rear gates are also lockable in both the open and closed positions, with a top collar to help safety should something work loose in the rear. Additionally, forward protection is integrated into the body, with anticrash safety mesh built-in for rear cab protection. Finishing off the rear is a towbar rated to 2000kg, which has racked up its share of Airpoints, being manufactured in NZ, sent to SBA Australia, and then shipped back again. There’s also 2500kg of rated payload in the body. All up, tare weight is 2800kg. The key option is a Palfinger crane which incorporates neatly into the rear, with stabilisers, and the addition of a switch in the cab that activates the PTO. There’s a range of accessories. The non-crane unit pictured was fitted with ladder racks which are bolted on to the structural point of the unit.


Andrew says some customers bolt on awnings. The cab also features a sunvisor and stone guard, and daytime running lights, though Andrew says they can either be factory optioned or aftermarket retro-fitted. Of course a key feature of this model is not just the convenience factor – Andrew quotes two to three days from start to finish, depending on the customisation – but the size. Because it can be driven on a car licence, we head out for a quick drive and photography, and are immediately impressed by the response of the unladen unit. With a manual gearbox – an automated gearbox is an option – there’s plenty of urgency from the 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine which develops maximum power of 110kW and peak torque of 375Nm As we head down a dead-end road, the super tight 8.9-metre turning circle – better than not just any ute, but even a Toyota Corolla’s 10.8 metres – is a reminder that this is a small and agile combination. Says Andrew: “it’ll fit into a standard car parking spot, so you can pull up and park as a car would.” With models available with or without a crane, the Isuzu/SBA combination offers a lot for something that isn’t too large. And it will suit a wide range of operators. “It could be for mobile mechanics…councils like them as they can store a lot of tools…local government bodies, plumbers, drainlayers and electrical companies. “We have different sizes, such as 4x4 crew cab models of NPS 450, between crane and non-crane versions, and we are in the early development stages of a crew cab 4x2.”

All Black and green and gold don’t always go together, but with this New Zealand and Aussie combination working so well, it’s like Goldilocks has found the perfect range of light trucks, that are just the right size.

Above:Two companies fit the bodies. CAL Isuzu in Hamilton does the work for North Island customers, and Smallbone Isuzu in Ashburton and Timaru for South Island buyers. Below : The blank canvas, Isuzu cab/chassis ready to be fitted with SBA body.

LCV | 35


ROAD TEST | HYUNDAI MIGHTY

ROAD TEST BY HAYDEN WOOLSTON

WRITTEN BY MIKE STOCK

Good-looking Hyundai

impresses with quality and handling

H

YUNDAI’S MIGHTY IS THE NEW ENTRANT IN THE New Zealand light-duty truck market, and is a major advance on the rather dowdy-looking HD-series the brand sold here previously. Hyundai previewed the truck at the 2016 Fieldays, and gave it its sales launch at the THE transport expo at Mystery Creek in March last year. It’s a good-looking truck with clean lines and a thoroughly contemporary air. The light-duty version of the Mighty is the EX6, and there’s also a medium-duty EX8 with a more powerful version of the EX6’s engine. The EX6 has a five-speed manual gearbox and the EX8 runs a sixspeed manual; no automatic option is available for either. EX6s are available with Standard Cabs in short-, medium-, and long-wheelbase variants. The longer Super Cab comes in mediumand long-wheelbase variants. Suspension front and rear is by leaf-sprung solid axles, and the EX6 runs on 17.5-inch steel wheels. The test EX6 was fitted with a factory-installed drop-side flat-deck body. It was a Super Cab that can seat three, and has a useful space behind the seats to stow items like kit bags and hard hats. The only drawback of the Super Cab is that the rear pillar creates a minor blind spot because it’s in line with the back of the driver’s head. The middle seatback can be folded forward and has a tray on the back for clipboard or document storage. And there’s a small lidded glovebox in the dash.

36 | LCV

The dashboard is car-like and is high-mounted. Hyundai engineers have made a good job of the dash, which feature logical and tidy design. It’s fitted with large-diameter analogue instruments that are very easy to read at a glance. Woolston rated the control layout highly, saying everything is easy to find and operate. Getting in and out of the cab is helped by well-placed steps and grab handles. Efficient manual air-conditioning is standard, and the cup-holders are in a tray that pulls out from the dashboard.

Above: Hyundai Mighty is a handsome truck; large and deep windscreen and door windows provide excellent visibility from cab. Below: Hyundai proved to be very manoeuvrable with an excellent turning circle.


Above left: Dashboard design and layout is very clean with logically laid-out controls, clear instruments. Above right: 3.9-litre Euro 5 four-cylinder develops maximum power of 140kW and 392Nm. Right: Test EX6 was fitted with a Hyundai factory-built tipper body.

The heated exterior mirrors are mounted at mid-point on a frame that extends out from the bodywork. The 3.9-litre Euro 5-compliant inline four-cylinder turbodiesel motor develops maximum power of 140kW at 2500rpm, and peak torque of 392Nm arrives at 1400rpm. The engine is not especially noisy, and Woolston liked its quietness; he also liked the suspension built into the driver’s seat. Disc brakes are fitted front and rear, and are augmented by an exhaust brake. Woolston said the power-assisted ball-and-nut steering has a good feel and is not over-light; the steering wheel included buttons for hands-free mobile phone operation. Electronic stability control is standard, and the EX6 also has hill-start assist which makes starting easier on steep terrain. On our test starts on hills, the EX6 pulled away from rest cleanly, with the clutch free of any grabbing. The gearbox shifts smoothly and reasonably quickly. Woolston was impressed by the large and deep windscreen, and by deep front edges of the door windows which provide an excellent three-quarter view. The left-hand window also gives a good view of the offside kerb. At 50km/h, the Mighty was running at just over 1500rpm in fourth gear. Put to the test in a tight urban cul-de-sac, the truck revealed it has a very good turning circle. The mirrors were vibration-free and Woolston found the Mighty easy to reverse. The cab tilts forward easily for daily maintenance, and is not especially heavy to move. Overall, the Hyundai Mighty performed well and was easy to position on the road thanks to the deep windscreen and downward-sloping edges on the front of the door windows. Noise levels were moderate, the exhaust brake was effective, and the controls were user-friendly. The Mighty EX6 has the goods to be a competitive player in the light-duty segment. Hyundai New Zealand sold 25 Mightys during 2017, a vast improvement over the sales performance of the HD-series trucks. The older model truck languished in dealers’ yards until Hyundai NZ dropped prices to fire sale levels to clear stock before the Mighty arrived.

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LCV | 37


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 TRUCK SALES

Fuso’s Canter was NZ’s best-selling light truck last year.

Canter sets pace in buoyant light truck market

F

USO’S CANTER WAS NEW ZEALAND’S BEST-SELLING light-duty truck in 2017, holding off a strong late year challenge from former market leader, the Isuzu N-Series. Fuso sold 565 Canters during the year, to Isuzu’s 516 N-series, giving the Mitsubishi brand a lead of 49. That was a major turn-around from 2016 when Isuzu absolutely dominated the market with 566 registrations; Fuso was second with 218 Canters sold – just three more than rival brand Hino’s 300 series light truck. Hino 300 registrations last year totalled 238. Between them the two market leaders sold 1081 trucks last year, 23 more trucks than the total for the entire segment in 2016. Last year the overall light-duty truck market of 1379 was 321 registrations ahead of 2016, an increase of roughly 31 percent which underlines the buoyancy of the segment.

The total also reflects the solid marketing and sales performance delivered by the newly-formed Fuso New Zealand which took over distribution of the brand from Mitsubishi New Zealand at the end of 2016. Fuso NZ increased Canter sales by just over 60 percent during 2017. The company says that In its first calendar year of trading, it smashed the previous record for Fuso truck and bus sales in NZ by more than 20 percent, registering 1017 units across all truck segments. Over the previous five years, Fuso truck and bus sales averaged 540 a year, and the previous sales record of 787 was set in 2014. Last year, Fuso achieved a 17.6 percent share of the market – a 99.8 percent increase on its 2016 position. “We didn’t head out to set the world on fire,” says managing director Kurtis Andrews. “Our main goal for the year was to develop a business that would allow Fuso trucks to realise their potential in New Zealand – thanks to our highly experienced and passionate dealer network, the foundation was already in place. “There has been a massive amount of work put in at Fuso NZ, and by our dealers, to build our team and operations from the ground Foton Aumark returned to NZ market last year and sales are gathering momentum.

38 | LCV


Left: Isuzu N-series came back strongly after Canter set early lead. Right top: Hino 300 took the third podium spot last year. Right below: Hyundai Mighty is still establishing itself after being launched in 2017.

up, so to sell 1017 trucks against that background is testament to the effort that went in and the potential the business has.” Fuso has also beefed up its parts division. “We now carry over 8000 stock items in our parts inventory,” says Andrews. “Previously, only around 3000 Fuso parts were available off the shelf in New Zealand; anything else had to be airfreighted, which often led to unsatisfactory delays. Our off-the-shelf parts order fill rate is now at 96 percent.” Andrews says Fuso is looking for more expansion as 2018 unfolds. “Now we’re set up, we’re in a position to focus on selling trucks and continuing to deliver better for our customers. “We’ve got some exciting products landing in 2018, and we’re all pretty excited about the opportunities they’ll bring,” he adds. Isuzu dominated the overall new truck market in New Zealand last year, coming out on top for the 18th year in a row. “Since the year 2000, Isuzu Trucks has been the top selling truck brand in New Zealand, which is an unprecedented achievement,” says Isuzu general manager, Colin Muir. “There are very few brands in the entire automotive industry, even considering a global perspective, which can claim such dominance.” Isuzu achieved 1305 registrations across all truck segments during the year, which is a new record. Muir says Isuzu held a 25.6 percent share of the new truck market. “The quality, performance and all-round durability of Isuzu trucks has contributed to this ongoing success, as has a dealer network which is really stepping up in terms of exceeding customer expectations.” Muir is upbeat about the future. “Prospects for Isuzu Trucks are very bright, a sentiment shared by many of the Isuzu Master Truck dealers who have invested heavily in the future of the brand including new or significantly upgraded facilities and growing staff numbers... “We’re really excited about our prospects heading into 2018... We have every confidence we can continue this remarkable run of form.” In the light-duty segment, Hino was the only other brand to achieve three-digit sales figures in 2017. Its 300 series sales of 238 were around 10 percent higher than its 2016 results.

Hyundai’s all-new Mighty was the year’s fourth biggest seller. Previewed at the 2016 Fieldays and launched at the THE Expo last March, the Mighty is a big improvement on the previous HD series trucks the brand marketed here. They sold in very small numbers and were retailed at fire-sale prices during their final months; Hyundai NZ moved six HD75s in 2017 and 35 the year before. It also sold 14 HD65s in 2016. Though Mighty sales started slowly, by December 31, Hyundai NZ had retailed 25. Chinese brand Foton was relaunched during 2017 after Foton NZ, part of Hamilton’s Ebbett Group, took over distributorship of the Aumark light truck and Tunland ute from Ateco. The Aumark was off the market for several months while Foton NZ worked on final local spec and model range; once that was done, 13 were registered in the final months of the year, five of them in December. Foton NZ is understood to have strong forward orders for the well-priced trucks, with at least one fleet moving over from a Japanese brand. And that, basically, was the light-duty market in 2017. Completing the total were seven light-duty versions of Fuso’s Fighter, one Isuzu F-series and one Chinese Jac. December sales figures showed the Isuzu N-series in command with 75 registrations to the Fuso Canter’s 56. Hino moved twentyfive 300s, Foton sold five Aumarks and the only other light-duty truck registrations for the month were three Hyundai Mightys.

LCV | 39


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 UTE SALES

Ranger makes it four on the trot

BY MIKE STOCK

L

AST YEAR, FORD’S RANGER CEMENTED its position as New Zealand’s king of the utes, holding on to the crown it gained when it wrested it off the Toyota Hilux in 2014. Not only was it 2017’s best-selling ute but it was also the best-selling new vehicle overall, beating all cars and SUVs. The Ford offers a blend of off-road ability and on-road chops that have struck a chord with New Zealand ute buyers. It’s a vehicle for its times, still a capable workhorse but with genuine on-road refinement, sparkling performance, almost unparalleled ease of use, good looks and an individuality that sets it apart from the bunch. Once Ford New Zealand got a steady supply and a full range – factors that had hamstrung sales following the weather catastrophes

40 | LCV

that hit Thailand where it’s made – the Ranger fought the Hilux on equal terms. The battle see-sawed during 2013 and 2014 until the Ford edged ahead and won the day. It was a narrow win, but in subsequent years the Ranger has moved ahead to the point where last year it was


Left: Ford Ranger remained top-selling ute in 2017, by a substantial margin. Top: Toyota Hilux made some gains on the Ranger but was still the bridesmaid. Right: Holden Colorado settled into a secure third spot, came close to passing Hilux in December.

almost 1200 registrations in front. Last year, Ford sold 9324 Rangers – up from 8501 in 2016. That’s a clear demonstration of how important the ute market has become; in one month Ford retailed around 1200 utes. In second place last year was the ute that once was king. Well, that’s an almost insulting understatement when you consider that the Toyota Hilux was at the top of the heap for 32 years. Until, somehow, the Ranger did something noone else could, and toppled it. Was it a Suzuki Swift moment? Did the Ford arrive with the dead-right package at the deadright time as Suzuki had done with the Swift? Maybe. There was calculation in the way Suzuki styled the original Swift: that deep windscreen, the side windows narrowing as they rose, wedgeshaped toward the back of the car. It looked for all the world like a BMW Mini without the premium pricetag, and buyers fell in love with instantly. As a car it wasn’t all that special, a bit gutless, the handling competent but not inspiring. But how it wowed the punters and caught Suzuki NZ off-guard with its success. Nowadays, the Swift is a highly-competent smallish hatchback with models within the range that have true sporting credentials. What Ford’s development team did with the Ranger was something similar. The designers came up with a big – for a traditional Japanese-style ute – truck with a decidedly American look. Ironically, the original Aussie-developed Ranger had a grille with chromed horizontal bars the evoked late 1940s Chevrolet pick-up trucks.

More than that, they produced a vehicle that was perfectly in tune with the times and the evolving role of the ute. It could rough it off-road but was also civilised enough to be a vehicle of choice for family transport. It was quiet, redefined pick-up truck refinement and, though keeping within the traditional layout of a mid-sized ute, brought a freshness that rivals didn’t have. By comparison, the Hilux was very much the traditional workhorse. At heart it was a rugged battler most at home on unmade and unsealed roads and tracks, surging through knee-deep mud but also capable of footing it – especially in upmarket variants like the SR5 – in the town and city. But its ride quality reflected a suspension tune more in keeping with a back country road-basher. As a dual-purpose workhorse/family transport vehicle, it couldn’t hold a candle to the Ranger. The all-new Hilux which debuted at the end of 2015 brought some aspects of the Toyota truck into synch with the dual-purpose world. The new engine was excellent, the six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes superb, the levels of quietness and refinement impressive. But the ride remained firmly rooted in the legacy that saw the Hilux a favourite mount for Australian mining industry workers – tough, rugged and near-indestructible. Despite re-arranging the range and adding models – notably high-riding two-wheel drives, an area where Ford had given it a pasting – the Hilux has remained the bridesmaid to Ford’s bride. Whether that will change with the newlyrevamped Toyota whose suspension is said to have been tuned to deliver a better ride that is

LCV | 41


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 UTE SALES

Mitsubishi Triton has become a real contender since last revamp. Opposite page: Isuzu D-Max sales continue to grow, though rate slowed during 2017.

more acceptable to dual-purpose buyers, remains to be seen. Toyota says it’s now selling more Hiluxes than ever it has; and that the truck – rather than the Corolla small saloon car – is its best-selling model. In 2017, Toyota sold 8130 Hiluxes and in some months gave the Ranger a real run for its money. But by year’s end it was more than 1200 sales behind the Ford. Last year, Toyota sold 1938 more Hiluxes than it did in 2016; Ford’s sales lift was 873 but the damage had been done and though in relative terms it was closer to the Ranger than it had been the previous year, the Hilux was still emphatically in second place. Holden’s Colorado ended 2017 in a solid – if lonely – third place on the ute sales ladder. Its 4513 sales put it roughly 500 clear of fourth place, but were less than half the total achieved by the market-leading Ranger. It was also 3617 adrift of the second-placed Hilux; the gains on the Toyota that some observers had expected the Holden to make after its major revamp in 2016 hadn’t materialised. It was securely on the podium but it didn’t look likely to challenge for

the second spot. However, in December it had come close to catching the Hilux, racking up 440 sales to the Toyota’s 442. Whether it can maintain that pressure is moot given that the Toyota got a line-up revamp and some major mechanical and refinement improvements the same month. The effects of the Toyota revamp won’t be felt until this year. Which leaves the Holden likely to remain in third place. Not that long ago, Mitsubishi’s Triton was an also-ran in the ute battle, but in 2017 it put in some strong sales performances on the back of special pricing and equipment deals to end the year fourth. At times, it was higher up the ladder than that. The ute that once battled tooth-and-nail with the Mazda BT-50 for the minor money – one month one leading, the next month the other – sprinted away from the Mazda and came into 2017 as a contender for a podium placing. A refresh a year or two ago softened the polarising Cinderella’s Coach lines of the cab – especially at the rear –

Stylish Nissan Navara was fifth biggest-seller in 2017.

42 | LCV


and, increasingly, the Triton hit its straps. It logged a solid 4083 sales last year – more than 1800 ahead of old sparring partner the BT-50 – and close to 1000 ahead of its 2016 showing of 3197. Nissan’s Navara was once a fixture in second or third place on the sales ladder, but in 2017 it was fifth. Anecdotal evidence says that the current truck – previously called the NP300 but now just the Navara – disappoints prospective buyers with a cab that is too narrow across. Sales have been hit, too, by the withdrawal of the entry-level DX whose petrol engine couldn’t meet the now-mandatory Euro 5 regulations. Nissan sold 3069 Navaras in 2017 – 189 of them petrol DXs until existing stocks ran out. That compared with 3109 (332 petrol) in 2016 which means Nissan has increased diesel sales on the back of some very sharp pricing asnd finance rate deals. Isuzu’s D-Max is unashamedly a truck and locally it’s marketed as one. Where other brands rattle on about how car-like their utes are, Isuzu emphasises its truck DNA.

It doesn’t talk about it publicly, but the engine – shared with the N-series light- to medium-duty truck – is engineered to go at least 600,000km, if properly serviced, before it needs more than minor work. The D-Max is a diamond in the rough, rugged-as but civilised enough to run around town comfortably. It’s good-looking, easy to drive, tenacious and robust. Isuzu NZ sold 2518 to put the D-Max into sixth place for the year. The previous year, 2390 were registered. The sales growth slowed slightly from the strong progress the model had made in the previous couple of years, but it was growth nonetheless. Mazda’s BT-50, the enigma of the NZ ute market, slotted into seventh place in 2017. A ute – or any commercial vehicle – doesn’t seem to quite fit Mazda’s image. Mazda has been described as Japan’s BMW, and the brand has long since dropped a van from its line-up. The last Mazda van offered locally was the E-series, possibly the worst Japanese cab-over-engine van with its vague and awful gearshift controlled by a lever that poked out from under a console just to the

Mazda BT-50 sales increased during 2017 – deservedly, it’s a good ute.

LCV | 43


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 UTE SALES

Foton Tunland is sure to see sales increase with arrival of automatic version.

driver’s left. There’s nothing wrong with the BT-50 – after all it shares chassis and basic engine with the Ford Ranger – aside from the polarising styling. Its lines were seen as not macho enough in some quarters, though roading company Fulton Hogan runs a large fleet of BT-50s. There was speculation that Mazda would undertake a radical re-style at the BT-50’s mid-life freshen up but the predicted “toughening-up” failed to materialise. Instead the more radical elements were toned down. Mazda’s designers had stood their ground. As, indeed, it appears they will do when the next-generation Mazda ute appears around 2020. It’s being developed with Isuzu rather than Ford as the current BT-50 was, and some pundits were predicting it would get a strong injection of Isuzu truck DNA. But Mazda’s design department has said that it’s happy with the way its current ute looks and that the next one will fit in with Mazda’s acrossthe-range styling philosophy. BT-50 sales have struggled since the new model appeared at the end of the noughties, perplexing both industry observers and Mazda NZ staff alike. But, riding the crest of the ute popularity wave, Mazda retailed 2229 last year, a tad over 400 more than the 1825 it did in 2016. Volkswagen Amarok sales have stepped up a notch since the revised four-cylinder range was announced and the top-of-the-line V6 came on stream early in 2017. The Amarok V6 has taken mid-sized utes into new pricing territory – the top model sells for close to $84,000. High-end models from traditional ute makers have hovered around $70,000 but the VW went a step further. Styling-wise the Amarok is due for a freshen, especially around the cab exterior, but it’s still an impressive, if relatively-expensive, truck. VW is regarded as a prestige brand – true for some of its offerings – but we see it more as an outfit that covers the spectrum, from basic transport to luxury offerings like the Amarok V6. Volkswagen NZ sold 903 Amarok utes in 2017, a big step forward from the 676 it moved the year before. We figure it will continue to

44 | LCV

increase in popularity but how the V6 fares when it goes toe-to-toe with the Mercedes X-class later in the year will be fascinating to watch. Moving on to number nine, we find the Foton Tunland, the vehicle that until the arrival of the LDV T60, proved that a Chinese manufacturer could produce a credible ute. The Tunland is powered by a 2.8-litre Cummins turbodiesel speciallydeveloped for the Chinese brand’s ute, van and light-duty trucks. It’s a willing unit and the Cummins name hasn’t hurt Tunland sales. What has, however, is the lack of an automatic gearbox, and Foton NZ has just started advertising the arrival of self-shifting Tunlands. The Tunland drives well, handles well and has plenty of get up and go. The auto will bring a new dimension to a likeable truck. Foton NZ sold 612 Tunlands in 2017, a good increase on the 477 retailed in the previous year. SsangYong’s Actyon slotted into 10th place in 2017 with 562 sales. The Korean ute range is now all-diesel after the petrol-powered model, which didn’t have Electronic Stability Control (ESC), was withdrawn once existing stocks ran out. SsangYong has stimulated sales with special deals that include being able to buy a four-wheel drive at the two-wheel drive price. Despite that, Actyon sales were down from 906 in 2016 – 201 of that year’s total were petrol-powered. The Actyon is nearing the end of its life and is due for replacement this year with a new model based on the accomplished new Generation 4 Rexton body-on-frame SUV. If the new model is as good as the Rexton G4, SsangYong will have a vehicle that can meet the best utes from mainstream manufacturers on equal terms. Its arrival will also create an interesting in-house battle between the Actyon and the Chinese-developed and built LDV T60 which is also marketed by Great Lake Motor Distributors. The Actyon has always been seen as a value proposition but given the quality evidenced by the new Rexton, maybe the new ute will move slightly upmarket while still retailing at attractive prices.


SsangYong Actyon remains a value proposition; replacement due this year may be a real mainstream challenger.

The T60, of course, will sell largely on value for money and competence at a budget price, so the two products might complement each other in the Great Lake stable. Holden’s now out-of-production car-based Commodore Ute range was in 11th place with 235 sales – 205 Commodores and 30 highperformance HSV Maloo utes. The Holden’s departure after the General Motors division stopped building cars in Australia last October, means that the car-based ute genre is over. The only other survivor, the Ford Falcon, became defunct when Ford stopped building cars in Australia in 2016. The 2017 sales total was slightly ahead of 2016’s 201 Commodores and 21 Maloos and reflected Holden’s special editions and deals in the model line’s final years. In 12th place was the new kid on the ute block, the LDV T60. It’s the Chinese van manufacturer’s first pick-up truck and will be followed later this year by a body-on-frame SUV based on the same chassis and running gear. The first few shipments were sold out before they even arrived, and LDV is selling the ute in two grades, the workhorse-oriented T60, and the more upmarket T60 Luxury. The latter gets better equipment and a softer suspension tune intended to provide a smoother ride than the heavy-duty springing used in the workhorse. Both are offered with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. LDV sold 186 T60s in the few weeks before the year ended, and the potential is there to move a lot more. In just a few weeks, LDV sold more T60s than rival Chinese brand Great Wall managed over almost a full year. Great Wall’s Steed arrived on the market in very early 2017, but took some time to get out of the blocks. It replaced the old V-series – the diesel V200 and petrol V240 – which became ineligible to be sold here because they lacked the mandatory-by-law electronic stability control. The Steed retained the cabin section of the V-series but added a larger cargo tray and more front end sheetmetal. It took a hit when ANCAP rated its crash safety at a low two stars which embarrassed the Australasian distributors who had been emphasising safety in their marketing material. Great Wall sold 170 Steeds during 2017; of them 102 were petrol-

Mahindra Pik-Up – rugged but not rough, a tough workhorse at a low price.

powered, an outcome that mirrors V-series sales where gasoline-powered V240s outdistanced the V200 at the cash register. The utes sell on highly competitive pricing, but the poor safety rating will hurt them in a market environment where consumers are becoming much more safety-conscious. In 14th place was a vehicle that is not strictly a ute, Suzuki’s cutely retro-styled Jimny compact SUV. The SUV is categorised as a ute by the NZTA, so its sales figures are included in the ute chart. The little wagon has undergone a surge in popularity this year that saw

LCV | 45


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 UTE SALES

LDV T60 is first ute from the Chinese van manufacturer. Dimensions are close to Ford Ranger’s.

it go from zero sales in some months of previous years to an average of a bit over four a month last year. In fact, sales were so good early in the year that stocks ran out. The Jimny racked up 51 sales last year, compared to 19 in 2016. Fans of the highly-off-road-capable little wagon need to get in quick. It’s due to be replaced by a much more angular – and to my eyes – less attractive vehicle. In 15th was a ute of a very different kind and of a very different size, Ram’s heavy duty 2500/3500. The cheaper of the two Fiat Chrysler heavy-duty pick-ups – if you can call $164,000 cheaper – is the 2500; the $4000 more expensive 3500 gives you extra towing capacity. Sceptics figured Fiat Chrysler would be able to move very few of the big utes which are converted to right-hand drive in Australia and sold as official models with full factory warranty. But Kiwis demonstrated their love of big American trucks by buying 48 Ram 2500s and one 3500 in 2017. That was up from 30 – one of which was a 3500 – in 2016. Sixteenth on the ladder at the end of 2017 was the more utilitarian of Indian brand Mahindra’s utes, the Pik-Up. It’s as tough as they come but not as rough as guts – ride quality is on a par with older Japanese workhorse utes. You feel the bumps but aren’t necessarily bone-jangled. The styling? Well a mother might love it but… However, it’s extremely off-road capable – just the ticket for hitting forest tracks – and will descend a steep, loose-surfaced hill in complete control without needing hill descent technology. Simply engage the ultra-low first gear, keep your feet off the brake, accelerator or clutch and let the little ute do the rest. It will bring itself down the hill without increasing speed and completely under its own control. It’s impressive. The Pik-Up has a competitive price and if you can live with the looks – after all when you’re driving it you can’t see what it looks like – the truck has the potential to be a faithful and near-indestructible servant. Mahindra shifted 33 in 2017, down from 94 the previous year which reflects the fact that existing stocks were running out – it lacks ESC, so once on-hand stock has been run through it will be “bye-bye.” Mahindra has announced a revamped Pik-Up with ESC in Australia but whether it comes here remains unclear. Its sibling, the slightly more conventional-looking Genio didn’t fare quite as well in the marketplace.

46 | LCV

Where looks are concerned, there’s not much in it, mind, when it comes to the positively weirdly-styled double cab model. It’s high-roofed in typical Mahindra ute style and the cab’s C-pillars finish awkwardly, just ahead of the rear wheels giving it a distinctly odd look. Mahindra has been offering very good deals on the Genio, including custom-built load trays. On the single cab, the tray can be very long and with a payload of just over a tonne, the truck will fit the bill for someone wanting a tough little rooster of a workhorse at a minimal price. Mahindra sold 26 Genios in 2017 to give the ute 18th place on the sales chart. And that was it. What does the new year hold? The arrival of what is certainly the most-hyped newcomer. In terms of its basic structure, the Mercedes-Benz X-class is not a newbie. Its underpinnings – indeed its initial powerplants – come from the Nissan-Renault Alliance’s Navara. Mercedes has tweaked the styling with elements from its SUV and sedan ranges to give the X-class a very different look to the Navara. But elements like the door openings – the most expensive thing to change on a vehicle body, remain the same. What Mercedes has done is widen the body’s stance to give the truck better on-road manners – though the Navara is no slouch dynamically – and a more Mercedes-Benz feel. It has also widened the cab to address one of the criticisms of the Nissan, its too-narrow cab. It says it has also worked to refine the handling and ride and provide a more upmarket in-cabin feel. I’d like to say “I’ll tell you if I think it has succeeded.” But as this is the last LCV Magazine with me at the helm, I’m afraid I won’t be able to. Nor will I be able to tell you if I think about what is potentially the most exciting mainstream ute to debut in 2018. I’m talking about the new SsangYong ute due to debut later this year. It’s based on the same underpinnings as the body-on-frame G4 Rexton SUV which is one impressive vehicle with a ride quality that surpasses most utes. Sure the Rexton has more body heft but if SsangYong’s chassis engineers can achieve the same sort of aplomb with the new ute, it will be something to experience – and the first really new challenger for the established mainstream ute crew.


COMMERCIAL MARKET | VAN SALES

BY MIKE STOCK

First EV80s here in May LDV will deliver the first EV80 all-electric vans to New Zealand customers in May. Though LDV New Zealand hasn’t revealed details of customers, government departments and agencies and local bodies are expected to be among them. LDV’s Warren Willmot says the company has several orders for the $80,000 vans, and some will be converted into minibuses. Auckland-based vehicle fit-out specialist Jackson Enterprises has developed a stressed floor to allow minibus seats to be attached without compromising the battery which is under the van’s cargo area floor. Another EV80 van is being converted locally into a motorhome. LDV will also offer a cab/chassis version which sells for $75,000. Both the van and the cab/chassis ride on a 3850mm wheelbase. The EV80 is a standard long-wheelbase, mid-roofed V80 van with the 2.5-litre diesel inline four cylinder motor replaced by an electric one. It looks the same from the outside, it has the same cargo dimensions: the loadspace will hold around 10 cubic metres and the van can carry a 950kg payload. Aside from top speed which is 100km/h, it has ballpark performance with its oil-burning stablemate. In a brief drive of an EV80, we discovered that, dynamically, it’s a very different vehicle to the diesel van. Gone is the gearbox – manual or automated manual – of the oil-burning V80. In its place in the EV80 is a continuously-variable transmission (CVT). You simply select forward or reverse, prod the throttle

and the van starts to move. It’s all a little eerie and takes some getting used to. Above: First LDV EV80 deliveries will be made to local customers in May. Below: Charging point on EV80. Van can be re-charged on domestic power supply or fast-charging stations.

LCV | 47


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 VAN SALES

Hiace continues invincible sales run in 2017 BY MIKE STOCK

Toyota Hiace continued its absolute domination of NZ van market in 2017.

H

ISTORICALLY, DYNASTIES THAT RULE EMPIRES and countries don’t last forever; there’s always some wannabe potentate or upstart prince waiting to claim the

throne. It’s the same with fashion; what’s in one year will be out the next. Cars or types of car are the same. The five-door hatchback

replaced the four-door sedan; the station wagon gave way to the big Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV); the double cab ute is replacing the big SUV, the crossover SUV with its higher ride height is displacing the hatchback on which it’s based. The beat, as they say, goes on; the hottest item this year will be cold – or at best, lukewarm – next year. But in the New Zealand van market there is no sign of any challenge to the reigning monarch – there’s not a potential usurper in sight. The Toyota Hiace retains a lead that is apparently unassailable. No other vehicle comes close, despite the fact that the Japanese van uses an outmoded cab-over-engine layout that perches the driver above the front wheels making for a reasonably high climb into the cab and a drop down to the ground when getting out. The old warhorse isn’t the best-riding – the short wheelbase ZL comes down off speed humps with a jolt – nor is it the most mechanically refined. Its on-road handling and roadholding are good, however, and it will turn on a dime making it very manoeuvrable in the streets and alleyways of big cities. Its load space is also practical, and the bigger of the two, the long-wheelbase ZX, can carry more than 10 cubic metres of cargo. But though there are much more modern, more comfortable, better equipped and nicer to drive vans around, Kiwi van operators have stayed true to the Hiace and the Toyota reputation for reliability, robustness, durability and whole-of-life running costs. Even a high mileage Hiace will fetch a good price when it’s sold on. Cab-over-engine layout means Hiace isn’t the easiest van to get into and out of – but it’s a favourite with couriers nonetheless.

48 | LCV


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 VAN SALES

Toyota sold a phenomenal 2961 Hiaces during 2017, all but 17 of them diesels. That was an increase of almost 400 over the 2600 it retailed in 2016. The Hiace’s 2017 total was 2031 more than the third-placed Ford Transit racked up. The Hiace seems secure and sales show no signs of slowing; in fact in some months of 2017 they were around 300 – as against typical monthly Hiace sales of 200 give or take a few either side. Last year’s second biggest-selling van nameplate was Fiat Professional’s big Ducato; but the runner-up slot is thanks to the Italian truck’s popularity as the basis for motorhomes. In 2017 a total of 1091 Ducatos was registered in New Zealand, and 1038 were motorhomes, many of them imported fully built-up from Britain or Europe. Fiat Professional – the Italian carmaker’s commercial vehicle arm – has engineered the Ducato to be easy to convert into a mobile home, and it’s the most popular chassis with European motor caravan makers. Judging by the number you see on NZ roads, it holds a similar position with NZ motorhome users. The growth in the motorhome market was reflected by last year’s lift in Ducato registrations which were 277 ahead of the 761 logged in 2016. The front-drive Ducato is very easy to drive, and as a van provides excellent cargo capacity aligned with strong performance and good fuel economy. Fiat Chrysler NZ retailed 53 van variants in 2017, a drop of 11 from the 64 sold the previous year. Another European van range, the multi-model Ford Transit line, took third place in 2017, leapfrogging past the Hyundai iLoad. Ford sells the Transit in mid-sized Custom and full-sized Cargo variants, with the former the more popular. With its six cubic metre cargo capacity, the Custom is well suited to courier and tradesperson use, its compact dimensions and making it easy to manoeuvre on city streets and the low roof version will fit underground carparks. Transit sales got a boost during 2017 with the introduction of the first-ever automatic gearbox versions. They were launched at the National Fieldays in June but global demand for the selfshifters led to supply shortages. However, by the end of the year, Ford had sold 930 Transits,

L eft: Fiat Ducato is second-biggest van nameplate in NZ regos but most are motorhomes, not cargo vans. Right: Ford Transit sales have increased since first-ever automatic versions arrived. This is mid-sized Custom.

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LCV | 49


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 VAN SALES

Top: Volkswagen’s T6 Transporter mid-sized van continues a tradition that began in the late 1940s. Below: Hyundai’s iLoad delivers car-style driving manners and 4.4 cubic metre load space.

150 more than the 780 it did in 2016. With a full supply of auto versions, that total can expect to be exceeded in 2018. Another European van, Mercedes-Benz’s big Sprinter was in fourth place on last year’s sales ladder. Like the Ducato, it’s popular as the basis for motorhomes, and 585 of the 896 registered in 2017 were mobile homes. Sprinter motorhome registrations were 100 ahead of the 2016 total, but van sales dropped from 342 to 311. Hyundai’s mid-sized iLoad was NZ’s fifth biggest-selling van in 2017, though its 858 sales were more than 150 lower than the 1012 the model recorded the previous year. The iLoad has been fighting a sales battle with the Transit for the past few years and each has held the upper hand. The iLoad was ahead in 2016 when it was the second best-selling van, though the arrival of the automatic versions – and some supply constraints on the Hyundai – allowed the Blue Oval product to lead its Korean arrival last year. The iLoad is liked for its car-like driving characteristics and is popular with tradespeople. Though it’s big – overall length, 5150mm – the

All-electric EV80 is expected to join LDV’s NZ range later this year, both van and cab/chassis versions.

50 | LCV

Hyundai’s cargo capacity is at the lower end of the mid-sized van segment. Where most rivals can carry six cubic metres, the iLoad has a 4.4 cubic metre cargo volume. That makes it a good choice for operators who don’t want a vehicle with surplus space. In sixth place was a van which has seen sales rise steadily in the four-plus years it’s been on the NZ market. When it arrived, the LDV V80 was an unknown quantity from a non-traditional vehicle making nation, China. The original vehicle was developed jointly by British van maker. LDV, and Korean manufacturer Daewoo, the former bringing its van expertise to the party, the latter its knowledge of front-wheel drive technology. General Motors axed Daewoo’s involvement after it bought the ailing Korean outfit, but LDV persevered and brought the van to production as the Maxxus. But LDV hit financial problems and the rights to build the Maxxus passed into Russian hands before being bought by a Chinese company. In turn, current LDV brand owner, giant Chinese automotive company, SIAC, bought the rights to produce the Maxxus and put it into series production. It’s sold here as the V80 because the Maxxus name is registered by a tyre maker. Taupo-based Great Lake Motor Distributors markets the V80, and has a growing stable of dealerships that also retail Great Lake’s other brand, SsangYong. Great Lake markets three V80 van variants here, labelled Big, Bigger, and Biggest with cargo volumes that start at six cubic metres and rise to 11.6 in the biggest of the three. There are also cab/chassis and minibus variants and waiting in the wings are all-electric EV80 vans and cab/chassis. The V80 sells on a mix of ability and sharp pricing – buyers get a lot of sheetmetal and carrying capacity for their money. They can choose between six-speed automated manual (AMT) or six-speed manual gearboxes, the latter introduced with the mandatory for 2017 Euro 5 version of the VM Motori 2.5-litre inline four-cylinder turbodiesel. The six-speed manual which came on-stream early in 2017, transformed the V80. Its closer ratios enabled drivers to make the most of the Italian-designed motor’s 110kW of maximum power and 360Nm of peak torque.


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 VAN SALES

Renault Kangoo city van sales are expected to get boost when diesel version arrives this year.

The lower first gear ratio also overcame the original five-speed manual model’s Achilles heel – high clutch wear. The V80 handles well and is one of the flattest cornering of any van on the market, showing virtually no body roll. LDV V80s are now established with many courier fleets, and Great Lake retailed 677 during 2017, a total which included 62 motorhomes. The 2017 sales were 155 ahead of the 522 achieved the previous year, so the Chinese van showed very real growth. Its stablemate, the smaller G10, came home seventh in 2017 with 415 registrations. The G10 is an LDV in-house design, though its petrol engines – a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder and a 2.4-litre naturallyaspirated four – resemble Mitsubishis. LDV initially developed the G10 as a minibus and modified it to be a cargo van. The minibus/MPV heritage shows in the styling and the driving position. The latter is lower than those found most vans’ but still provides a commanding view. The rear-wheel drive van has a cargo capacity of just over five cubic metres, a similar size to the old short-wheelbase Mitsubishi L300 which used to be NZ’s second best-selling van. Great Lake markets two petrol versions of the van, the very potent turbo developing 165kW of maximum power and 330Nm of peak torque, and the naturally-aspirated 2.4 puts out 105kW and 200Nm of peak torque. Turbo van buyers can choose between automatic and manual six-speed gearboxes but the2.4 comes only with a five-speed manual.

There’s also a 1.9-litre turbodiesel which is available with a choice of manual or auto six-speeders; the engine delivers 106.5kW of maximum power and 350Nm of peak torque. Great Lake sold 415 G10s last year, 204 diesels and 211 petrol-engined. That was up from 387 the year before. The 2016 sales were mainly petrol (355), with the newly-launched diesel racking up 32 sales in the year’s closing weeks. Slotting into eighth place was Volkswagen’s accomplished T6 Transporter. The VW is the sixth generation of a line that began in the late 1940s when a Dutch VW dealer suggested building a commercial vehicle using the air-cooled flat-four engine from the Beetle saloon car. The resulting vehicle was the T1 Transporter, a forward-control van that set the pattern for many vans from the 1950s through to the last decades of the 20th century. Like the Transporter they were rear-wheel drive, but unlike the VW with its rear-mounted motor, they were cab over engine with the powerplant mounted at the front and the driver and passengers sitting above it. They included designs like the Ford Thames and the raft of Japanese vans from Nissan, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, and the Toyota Hiace which continues to this day. The Ford Thames morphed into the front-engined Transit, and VW moved to water-cooled, front-mounted engines, and frontwheel drive. The current T6 is among the best vans available locally and like all of VW’s commercial vehicle range, does reasonably well in the showroom.

LCV | 51


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 VAN SALES

L eft: Compact LDV G10 delivers spirited performance and can carry just over five cubic metres of cargo.. Right: Mercedes-Benz Vito had a good year in 2017. This is attractive five-seat double cab version.

It’s easy to drive, handles much like a big car, and provides the driver with a pleasant work environment. New to the line-up for 2016 wan an entry-level, price-leading model, the Runner with slightly less powerful engine and a five-speed manual gearbox. Volkswagen NZ sold 345 T6s last year which was a useful increase over the 291 Transporters it sold the year before. That total included some of the previous model T5s. A non VW aficionado will find it hard to tell the T5 and T6 apart, but the later van has the brand’s current narrow but wide grille that runs from headlight to headlight in a sort of smile. Another VW was in ninth spot, the Caddy city van which found 146 buyers in 2017 (seven diesel-powered versions also showed up in the registrations). Volkswagen NZ sells only petrol-engined Caddys; there’s little difference in fuel economy between diesel and petrol-powered versions and going petrol means buyers avoid the hassle of having to pay Road User Charges (RUCs). The front-wheel drive Caddy is built on the same platform as the Golf hatchback car and handles just as well. VW sells two model variants here, the short-wheelbase van and the long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi. Two engines are offered – a 1.4 turbo and a 1.2-litre turbo that powers the new, manual gearbox entry-level Runner (VW’s name for its range-opening commercials).

Caddys are available with six-speed manuals or sweet-shifting, seven-speed DSG automatic gearboxes. The city van market is small in New Zealand; for some reason, people who’d be perfectly served by the nimble easy-to-drive runabouts opt for much bigger vans than they probably need. Caddy sales were a little down on 2016 when 151 were retailed. Another Euro van – but one at the opposite side of the size spectrum – completed the top 10 in 2017. Iveco launched its new Daily in Italy in 2014 and here at the end of 2015, and sales have been building steadily. Sales have been boosted by setting up a dealer network – Ivecos used to be sold out of the company’s headquarters in Wiri, south Auckland. Iveco is a truck maker and its vans have genuine truck DNA – unlike many rival Euro vans, the Daily is rear-wheel drive – and are available in a huge range of configurations including a dual rear wheel mammoth which can haul 20 cubic metres of cargo. But the Daily is plenty sophisticated. The available eight-speed automatic gearbox is shared with high-end luxury cars and shifts smoothly, quickly and almost imperceptibly. Iveco sold 149 Dailys in 2017, of which 65 were destined to be motorhomes. In 2016, it retailed 115. Big French van, the Renault Master, was 11th with 147 sales, 51 of them motorhomes. Like all Renault LCVs, the Master has highly individual styling but it has struck a chord with Kiwi buyers. Its 2017 showing was a big increase on the previous year: 88 were registered in 2016. Mercedes-Benz’s mid-sized Vito van sells in relatively small numbers – price is probably a factor in that – but it had a strong 2017 with 136 sold, more than double the 63 registered the year before. The Vito drives as well as you’d expect a Mercedes to, and Mercedes NZ sells it in two basic forms, van and crew cab van which seats five in a spacious cabin and has a useful, selfcontained load area. Thirteenth spot was occupied by VW’s third van, the big Crafter. Its 91 registrations reflected a mix of old models on runout, a period when stocks were exhausted and the later than

Big Master is the best-selling of Renault’s three-van offering in NZ.

52 | LCV


COMMERCIAL MARKET | 2017 VAN SALES

Iveco Daily is sold as both van and cab/ chassis. This is one of the latter fitted with an Action Manufacturing body and operated by laundry supply company Alsco.

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LCV24381

expected debut of the all-new model. The previous model shared its chassis and most of its body panels with the Mercedes Sprinter but the new model – which began to arrive in numbers towards the end of last year – is all-new. It’s much more cleanly-styled, has the family look VW grille and has been described as the Transporter’s big brother, sharing much of the same design DNA. The new model is front-wheel drive and like the two other VW vans there’s a Runner entry model with manual gearbox. It drives nicely and is stable at speed, though it gets unsettled by bumpy roads when running unladen. In fourteenth place was a van that is no longer available, the Foton View CS2. The Chinese-built Toyota Hiace ZX lookalike was on the market until existing stocks were sold – it lacked electronic stability control which became mandatory from July 2015. The CS2 provided buyers with a lot of cargo capacity at a very attractive price, and 66 were sold last year; that compared with 71 in 2016. Peugeot’s Partner city van occupied 15th place with 25 sales, six more than Renault’s highly-competent Trafic midsized van achieved. The year before, Peugeot sold 15 Partners and Renault shifted 12 Trafics, some of them the previous model. Renault’s other van, the Kangoo city van – which was offered in all-electric and petrol-engined versions – filled 17th spot with 18 sales. A new diesel variant is about to hit the market and is expected to boost market share. The final registrations were recorded by Peugeot’s good-torive Expert mid-sized van. Two were registered in 2017. French vans have a problematic history in New Zealand, scarcely making a ripple in the sales pond – aside from the Master, that is. It’s a mystery why such a superb van as the Trafic – LCV Magazine’s 2017 Van of the Year – should struggle for sales. It looks quirky, sure, but it drives very well, is easy to use and has good cargo space and access to that space.

It also abounds with clever design and ways to configure the load area. The success of vans like the T6 Transporter and the Vito during 2017 shows that Euro vans are starting to make inroads but Kiwi buyers continue to be mesmerized by the Toyota Hiace, the only traditional cab-over-engine still on the market. It will be beaten in the sales race only when Toyota takes it off the market and begins selling a new-design van. When will that be? Who knows? Toyota sticks steadfastly to its mantra: we don’t discuss future product. We’d hazard a guess that the new Toyota van isn’t that far in the future. And we’d expect it to have some European influence in its design; Toyota sells a Hiace ZL substitute, the Proace, in Europe, and that van is based on the Peugeot Expert.

www.lamson.co.nz

LCV | 53


STAT DATA

These tables are based on official registration data supplied by New Zealand Transit Authority Motor Registration Centre.

DIESEL POWERED COMMERCIAL REGISTRATIONS 0 TO 10,000KG GVM CHEVROLET CITROEN CITROEN CITROEN

SILVERADO JUMPER JUMPER RELAY

HIGH COUNTRY OTHER TRUCK MCV MCV

FIAT FIAT FIAT FIAT

DUCATO DUCATO DUCATO DUCATO

OTHER TRUCK LIGHT VAN HEAVY VAN MCV

FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD

COURIER F250 RANGER RANGER RANGER RANGER RANGER TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT

XL CHASSIS CAB LARIAT 4WD CAB CHASSIS MCV STATION WAGON UTILITY CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY HEAVY VAN LIGHT VAN MINIBUS OTHER TRUCK MCV SERVICE COACH

FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON

AUMARK AUMARK AUMARK AUMARK AUMARK TUNLAND TUNLAND TUNLAND K1 VIEW CS2 K1

FLAT-DECK TRUCK OTHER TRUCK BJ1051 2.8 BJ1079 BJ099UTE3.8 LWB UTILITY 2WD 4WD VIEW CS2 MINIBUS MCV

FUSO FUSO MITSUBISHI FUSO

CANTER 918 FIGHTER ROSA

All models All models SERVICE COACH

GREAT WALL GREAT WALL

STEED STEED

2.0D/6MT 2.0D/4WD/6MT

HINO HINO HINO HINO

300 300 300 300

CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY FLAT-DECK TRUCK MOBILE MACHINE OTHER TRUCK

HOLDEN HOLDEN

COLORADO COLORADO

4WD UTILITY

HYUNDAI HYUNDAI HYUNDAI HYUNDAI HYUNDAI HYUNDAI

HD75 ILOAD ILOAD ILOAD MIGHTY MIGHTY

L 2.5 CRDI AUTO 2.5 CRDI MANUAL 2.5 CRDI A5 5S EX6 EX8

ISUZU ISUZU ISUZU ISUZU ISUZU ISUZU ISUZU ISUZU ISUZU ISUZU

D-MAX D-MAX N SERIES N SERIES N SERIES N SERIES N SERIES N SERIES N SERIES F SERIES

UTILITY 4WD CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY FLAT-DECK TRUCK HEAVY VAN OTHER TRUCK SPECIAL PURPOSE VEHICLE MCV SERVICE COACH SERVICE COACH

IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO

DAILY DAILY DAILY DAILY DAILY DAILY DAILY EUROCARGO EUROCARGO

CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY FLAT-DECK TRUCK HEAVY VAN LIGHT VAN OTHER TRUCK MCV SERVICE COACH ML120-E25/PL ML100

JAC LDV LDV LDV LDV LDV LDV

HFC1061K G10 G10 T60 V80 V80 V80

OTHER TRUCK CARGO DIESEL AUTO 1. CARGO DIESEL MANUAL 4WD MINIBUS LIGHT VAN CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY

MAHINDRA MAHINDRA MAHINDRA

GENIO GENIO PIKUP

4X2 4X4 4X4

MAN

TGL

OTHER TRUCK

MAZDA MAZDA MAZDA

BOUNTY BT-50 T3500

4X4 UTILITY MCV

MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ

SPRINTER SPRINTER SPRINTER

CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY HEAVY VAN LIGHT VAN

54 | LCV

1 2 1 1 4 1 42 4 962 1009 1 1 1740 202 15 1 6878 2 12 738 34 1 27 66 9718 2 1 3 1 1 177 3 396 48 5 11 648 509 7 32 548 20 38 58 7 17 1 188 213 2367 1706 4073 6 562 240 23 18 4 853 663 1702 112 17 2 291 4 9 6 1 2807 5 6 33 9 21 57 2 1 2 136 1 88 106 152 145 391 79 961 21 4 32 57 1 1009 1075 1 2085 2 73 101

1 1 3 1 126 130 190 13 2 670 1 59 2 2 6 945 2 20 29 8 59 35 2 37 2 1 3 2 16 18 161 162 323 24 11 2 1 1 39 57 150 4 2 33

NOVEMBER 2017

MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ

SPRINTER SPRINTER SPRINTER SPRINTER VITO VITO VITO

MINIBUS OTHER TRUCK MCV SERVICE COACH 111 114 119

MITSUBISHI MITSUBISHI

TRITON TRITON

4WD UTILITY

NISSAN NISSAN NISSAN NISSAN

NAVARA NAVARA NAVARA CABSTAR

4WD CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY UTILITY NT400 35.12

PEUGEOT PEUGEOT PEUGEOT

PARTNER EXPERT ELDDIS

LIGHT VAN LIGHT VAN MCV

RAM RAM

2500 3500

LARAMIE DJ LARAMIE D2

RENAULT RENAULT RENAULT

MASTER MASTER VAN MASTER VAN

HEAVY VAN LIGHT VAN MINIBUS

RENAULT RENAULT

MASTER TRAFIC

SELF PROPELLED CARAVAN LIGHT VAN

SSANGYONG SSANGYONG SSANGYONG SSANGYONG

ACTYON SPORT ACTYON SPORT ACTYON SPORT ACTYON SPORT

2WD 4WD SPORTS AUTO 2.2 2.2D SPORTS MANUAL

TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA

HIACE HIACE HIACE HILUX HILUX HILUX LANDCRUISER

MINIBUS ZL ZX 4WD CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY UTILITY ALL MODELS

UD TRUCKS VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN

MK11280 AMAROK AMAROK AMAROK CADDY CALIFORNIA CRAFTER 35 CRAFTER 35 CRAFTER 35 CRAFTER 50 CRAFTER 50 T6 T6

OTHER TRUCK 2WD 4WD UTILITY LIGHT VAN MCV CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY LIGHT VAN MINIBUS HEAVY VAN MCV LWB SWB

YUTONG

ZK6760DAA

TOTAL DIESEL COMMERCIALS 0 TO 10,00KG GVM

MAKE

MODEL

SUB MODEL or vehicle type

HEARSE XTS

HEARSE STATION WAGON

CHEVROLET FIAT FORD GREAT WALL GREAT WALL

SILVERADO DUCATO F150 STEED STEED

LT MCV UTILITY 2.4P/5MT 2.4P/4WD/5MT

1 7 2

HOLDEN HOLDEN

COMMODORE HSV

UTILITY ALL MODELS

2 14

LDV LLOYDS* MITSUBISHI MITSUBISHI

G10 PASXTER OUTLANDER TRITON

LIGHT VAN LIGHT VAN LS 2.4P/4WD/CVT GLX

NISSAN RAM RENAULT SUZUKI SUZUKI

NAVARA 2500 KANGOO JIMNY APV

DX 2.5P/6MT/UT/4DR/5 DJ SLT LIGHT VAN SIERRA 1.3P/4WD/5MT VAN 1.6 5DR

TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA

HIACE HIACE HILUX HILUX TUNDRA

ZL MINIBUS UTILITY 4WD 1794 EDITION

VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN

CADDY T6

LIGHT VAN LIGHT VAN

248 1 1

12 3 50 13 21 30 129

0 1 99 89 1 189 9 12

11 104 4 14 154 193 146 339 61 4 129 194 1 1 2 2 2 10

49 18 156 245 161 92 38 536 737 1417 509 3460 822 3399 300 10644 1 12 28 815 8 26 1 70 3 5 3 143 187 1301 2

42 1 53 15 14

43353

3902

2 31 53 117 28 360 118 144 42 862 1 58 4 1 11

26 27 128 1

PETROL POWERED COMMERCIAL REGISTRATIONS 0 TO 10,000KG GVM *INCLUDES ELECTRIC

CADILLAC CADILLAC

2

66 5 551 41 1 126 3 969 1912 1887 3799 1043 104 1541 2 2690 23 2 14 39 42 1 43 5 82 2

TOTAL PETROL AND ELECTRIC COMMERCIALS 0 TO 10,00KG GVM

YTD

November

2017 1 2 3 1 3 2

2017

85 17 102 175 27 202

6

197 117 1 1 2 189 3 18 45 1 46 161 6 10 3 1 181 138 13 151

15

1217

78

6 12 5 17

10 10 9 1

10 13 7 20


DECEMBER 2017

These tables are based on official registration data supplied by New Zealand Transit Authority Motor Registration Centre. MERCEDES-BENZ

SPRINTER

SERVICE COACH

MITSUBISHI MITSUBISHI

TRITON TRITON

4WD UTILITY

NISSAN NISSAN NISSAN NISSAN

NAVARA NAVARA NAVARA CABSTAR

4WD CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY UTILITY NT400 35.12

PEUGEOT PEUGEOT PEUGEOT PEUGEOT

PARTNER EXPERT ELDDIS BOXER

LIGHT VAN LIGHT VAN MCV MCV

185 20

RAM RAM

2500 3500

LARAMIE DJ LARAMIE D2

393 25

RENAULT RENAULT RENAULT RENAULT RENAULT RENAULT

TRAFIC MASTER MASTER MASTER VAN MASTER VAN MASTER

LIGHT VAN CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY HEAVY VAN LIGHT VAN MINIBUS MCV

SSANGYONG SSANGYONG SSANGYONG SSANGYONG

ACTYON SPORT ACTYON SPORT ACTYON SPORT ACTYON SPORT

2WD 4WD SPORTS AUTO 2.2 2.2D SPORTS MANUAL 2.2 2.

TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA

HIACE HIACE HIACE HIACE HILUX HILUX HILUX HILUX LANDCRUISER

ZL ZX MINIBUS SERVICE COACH 4WD CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY FLAT-DECK TRUCK UTILITY ALL MODELS

UD TRUCKS VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN

MK11280 AMAROK AMAROK AMAROK CADDY CALIFORNIA CRAFTER 30 CRAFTER 35 CRAFTER 35 CRAFTER 35 CRAFTER 50 CRAFTER 50 T6 T6

2WD 4WD UTILITY LIGHT VAN MCV LIGHT VAN CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY LIGHT VAN MINIBUS HEAVY VAN MCV SWB LWB

YUTONG

ZK6760DAA

DIESEL POWERED COMMERCIAL REGISTRATIONS 0 TO 10,000KG GVM CHEVROLET CITROEN CITROEN CITROEN

SILVERADO JUMPER JUMPER RELAY

HIGH COUNTRY MCV OTHER TRUCK MCV

1 1 2 1 4

FIAT FIAT FIAT FIAT

DUCATO DUCATO DUCATO DUCATO

OTHER TRUCK LIGHT VAN HEAVY VAN MCV

2 46 5 1038 1091

FORD

COURIER

XL CHASSIS CAB

1

FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD FORD

F250 RANGER RANGER RANGER RANGER RANGER TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT

LARIAT 4WD CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY MCV STATION WAGON UTILITY SWB CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY HEAVY VAN LIGHT VAN MINIBUS OTHER TRUCK MCV SERVICE COACH

FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON FOTON

TUNLAND TUNLAND TUNLAND TUNLAND VIEW CS2 VIEW CS2 VIEW CS2 AUMARK AUMARK AUMARK

UTILITY 2WD CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY 4WD LIGHT VAN MINIBUS MCV BJ1051 BJ1079 BJ1099.3.8

FUSO FUSO MITSUBISHI FUSO

CANTER FIGHTER ROSA

All models All models All models

GREAT WALL GREAT WALL

STEED STEED

2.0D/6MT 2.0D/4WD/6MT

HIGER HINO HOLDEN HOLDEN

KLQ 300 COLORADO COLORADO

KLQ7995AR All models 4WD UTILITY

HYUNDAI HYUNDAI HYUNDAI HYUNDAI HYUNDAI HYUNDAI

HD75 ILOAD ILOAD ILOAD MIGHTY MIGHTY

L 2.5 CRDI AUTO 2.5 CRDI MANUAL 2.5 CRDI A5 5S EX6 EX8

ISUZU ISUZU ISUZU ISUZU

D-MAX D-MAX N SERIES F SERIES

4WD UTILITY ALL MODELS FSS550P

IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO IVECO

DAILY DAILY DAILY DAILY DAILY DAILY EUROCARGO EUROCARGO

CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY FLAT-DECK TRUCK HEAVY VAN OTHER TRUCK MCV SERVICE COACH ML120-E25/PL ML100

JAC LDV LDV LDV LDV LDV LDV

HFC1061K G10 T60 V80 V80 V80 V80

LIGHT VAN 4WD CAB CHASSIS MANUAL 2 LIGHT VAN MINIBUS MCV

MAHINDRA MAHINDRA MAHINDRA

GENIO GENIO PIKUP

4X2 4X4 4X4

MAN MAZDA MAZDA MAZDA

TGL BT-50 BT-50 T3500

4X4 UTILITY MCV

MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ MERCEDES-BENZ

VITO VITO VITO SPRINTER SPRINTER SPRINTER SPRINTER SPRINTER SPRINTER

111 114 119 CAB AND CHASSIS ONLY HEAVY VAN LIGHT VAN MINIBUS OTHER TRUCK MCV

1 1910 162 15 1 7346 368 2 14 418 36 1 33 58 10366 188 3 1 420 50 5 11 9 2 2 691 565 7 42 614 25 43 68 1 238 558 3955 4513 6 583 252 23 20 5 889 984 1534 516 1 3035 6 6 42 25 65 5 1 3 153 1 204 186 52 408 155 62 1067 22 4 33 59 1 1082 1147 1 2230 1 132 3 3 76 114 69 4 585

STAT DATA

4 1 77 82

2 23 2 6 2 658 11

25 2

3 1 1 43 56 10 66 5 5 10 1 25 61 379 440 31 12 2 1 46 67 86 75 228 1 4 8 3 1 17 10 34 5 17 10 30 106 1 1 2 73 72 145 6 1 3 13 3 33

TOTAL DIESEL COMMERCIALS 0 TO 10,00KG GVM

45 1032 2042 2041 4083

4 63 130 154 284

1071 46 1763 2 2882 25 2 5 10 42 48 1 49 19 1 6 87 2 51 166 256 173 95 38 562 1486 531 776 1 3696 890 1 3536 316 11233 1 12 29 862 8 27 21 1 58 3 5 3 199 146 1374 2

78

46468

114 192 2 1 3 6 6 1 1 1 5 2 10 11 12 3 26 69 22 39 1 237 68 137 16 589 1 47 1 3 6

12 3 73

3115

PETROL POWERED COMMERCIAL REGISTRATIONS 0 TO 10,000KG GVM *INCLUDES ELECTRIC MAKE

MODEL

SUB MODEL or vehicle type

CADILLAC CADILLAC

HEARSE XTS

CHEVROLET FIAT FORD GREAT WALL GREAT WALL

SILVERADO DUCATO F150 STEED STEED

LT MCV SUPER CREW 2.4P/5MT 2.4P/4WD/5MT

HOLDEN HOLDEN

COMMODORE HSV

UTILITY UTILITY

LDV LLOYDS* MITSUBISHI MITSUBISHI

G10 LLOYDS OUTLANDER TRITON

T CARGO 2.0P/6AT/LV PASXTER LS 2.4P/4WD/CVT GLX

NISSAN RAM RENAULT SUZUKI SUZUKI

NAVARA 2500 KANGOO JIMNY APV

UTILITY DJ SLT LIGHT VAN UTILITY LIGHT VAN

TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA TOYOTA

HIACE HIACE HILUX TUNDRA

ZL MINIBUS UTILITY UTILITY

VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN

CADDY T6

LIGHT VAN LIGHT VAN

TOTAL PETROL AND ELECTRIC COMMERCIALS 0 TO 10,00KG GVM

YTD

December

2017 1 2 3 1 3 2 85 17

2017

102 205 31 236 211 137 1 1 2 189 3 18

30 4 34 14 20

51 1 52 167 6 11 1 185 146 13 159 1305

6

1305

88

6 6

6 8 8 88

LCV | 55


THE BACK PAGE | NEWS EXTRA

Land Rover builds an upmarket van

F

OR OPERATORS WHO WANT to haul freight in luxury, Land Rover is offering British buyers a twoseat commercial version of the Land Rover Discovery. The second and third row seats have been removed to create 1856 litres of flexible load space. Available with Land Rover’s Ingenium 2.0-litre SD4 and 3.0-litre TD6 diesel engines, the Discovery Commercial shares the Discovery SUV’s fundamental underpinnings. They include wide-spaced double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear layout. Land Rover says the Commercial’s suspension delivers more responsive handling without compromising all-terrain capability. The van comes exclusively with four-wheel drive, automatic transmission, twin-speed transfer box, air suspension and a full-size spare wheel. Operators access the load space by a powered tailgate. The cargo area is 1635mm long, 939mm high and 1411mm wide. The

boot opening is big enough to accept loads measuring up to 1000mm by 735mm. The Discovery Commercial has Land Rover’s unique Terrain Response systems which optimise the vehicle’s engine, gearbox, centre differential and chassis systems to match the demands of the terrain. Optional Terrain Response 2 system takes that even further by monitoring driving conditions and automatically selecting the driving modes ensuring loads are delivered whatever the terrain, whatever the weather. Retaining the Discovery SUV’s exterior design, rear window concealment panels are

masked by privacy glass so the Discovery Commercial can be undistinguishable as a commercial vehicle. To launch the Discovery Commercial, Land Rover teamed up with Bloom & Wild, experts in packaging and delivering fresh flowers across Britain. Before Christmas, Bloom & Wild used the van to haul 300 mini Christmas trees to Britain from their farm in the Netherlands. “Discovery Commercial has always been a key part of the Discovery line-up since the

British floral delivery experts Bloom & Wild used Discovery Commercial to deliver 300 mini Christmas Trees from Holland to England.

ARB is Australasia’s largest 4x4 Equipment Manufacturer. People rely on us because we’ve earned our stripes – ARB has been in business for more than 30 years, and our products have been tested and proven in the toughest conditions on earth. To cater for the diverse needs of 4WDers everywhere we offer a massive range of equipment that will improve your vehicles capabilities in any environment. Business or Pleasure, on road or off, if you want more from your 4WD we will make it happen – ARB is your one stop 4x4 Accessory Shop.

Our Range Includes; • Recovery Equipment • Old Man Emu Suspension • Drawer Systems • Roofracks • Snorkels • Plus much more

The full range of ARB 4x4 Accessories is available throughout New Zealand from the ARB Network.

For Advice, Supply, Fitment and Backup contact your nearest Agent Ph 0800 ARB 4WD ( 272 493) or go to www.arb4x4.co.nz

56 | LCV

CG20576

• Bullbars • Winches • Side Protection Bars and Steps • Rear Protection Bars • Underbody Protection • Air Locker Locking differentials & Air Compressors


LOUIE AND HIS HARD CASE BUGGERS Well known forester and hunter Lance Duncan retired from the forestry industry then sat down and wrote a book. It’s the tale of his life and is full of yarns from many years of working in forestry and hunting and those people he met along the way. Its full of humour, our proof reader was in stitches when she worked on this manuscript. It hasn’t been sterilised it’s written as Lance tells it and anybody who knows him will know you will get it straight. If you are easily offended then it’s probably not for you. Get your copy now, for a great read and some real entertaining yarns.

First n editio

Post PO Box 112062 Penrose, Auckland 1642

Ph 09 571 3544 Fax 09 571 3549

Email accounts@trucker.co.nz

ORDER FORM: LOUIE AND HIS HARD CASE BUGGERS $50 INCL GST & POSTAGE (NZ PRICE) *OVERSEAS PURCHASES-POSTAGE PRICING WILL DIFFER, PLEASE CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION

MY DETAILS NAME: ADDRESS:

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R. E D R O O ET L B A L I A NOW AV

Electrifying the future of vans in New Zealand. The LDV EV80 Pure Electric Van is here. Key features include a maximum payload of 1,000kg, safe and high-efficiency large-capacity lithium iron phosphate battery technology that can be fully charged in 2 hours PLUS zero emissions. The EV80 Pure Electric Van is a ground-breaking addition to the already formidable V80 range. Three EV80 models to choose from - cab/chassis, 10.4m3 panel van and 10 seater mini bus.

Please phone Warren Willmot, National Van Geek on 021 949 218 or email warren@ldv.co.nz

WORKING HARDER EVERY DAY 0800 LDV VANS | ldv.co.nz

LCV Feb/Mar 2018  
LCV Feb/Mar 2018