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LDV D90 spied testing in Australia

Surf’s up: SAIC engineering calibration work on the D90 was designed to ensure electronic driver-assist systems, such as road sign recognition and driver fatigue alert technology, operated correctly in Australia.

Local engineering calibration work on all-new LDV D90 SUV as unveiling nears


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11 Apr 2017

SAIC Motor brought two camouflaged pre-production prototypes of its LDV D90 – and one of China’s biggest celebrities, Zhang Meng – to Sydney last week to conduct engineering calibration work on the vehicles and shoot video footage for its home market ahead of the all-new large SUV’s world premiere at the Shanghai auto show next week.

A spokesman for Australian distributor Ateco Automotive has confirmed to GoAuto that the D90 should be in showrooms here by the end of the year, following the October launch of the T60 one-tonne utility on which the SUV is based.

He said engineers conducted Australian road calibration to ensure electronic driver-assist systems developed for the D90, such as road sign recognition and driver fatigue alert technology, operated correctly.

Ms Meng, who is well known in China as a former Miss Universe China and for her role as the Fire Princess in the TV drama ‘Ice Fantasy’, fronted a launch video of the testing program produced by a five-person crew as part of a promotional campaign building up to the D90’s unveiling in Shanghai.

Part of the video was shot at Macarthur LDV in Campbelltown, south-west of Sydney, where Ms Meng officially launched the testing program.

Photos obtained by GoAuto show that at least 20 people were directly involved in the entire operation, not including staff from Ateco or the dealership.

Although cloaked in camouflage, the pre-production prototypes – which were pictured at the dealership alongside a poster of the D90 concept presented at the Beijing motor show last year – indicate that the D90 retains the same proportions, basic silhouette and various styling cues from the concept.

However, certain elements have been toned down.

The rear ‘suicide’ door configuration has been replaced by a conventional arrangement in readiness for production, while a new three-bar grille and front fascia treatment evident under the camouflage similarly mark a retreat to a more conservative position.

The D90 will join the growing legion of hardcore wagons on the Australian market that share underpinnings and mechanical components with a utility, such as the Toyota Fortuner (based on HiLux), Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (Triton), Isuzu MU-X (D-Max), Holden Trailblazer (Colorado) and the Australian-developed Ford Everest (Ranger).

Like the forthcoming T60 ute, the D90 will sit on an all-new platform with a high-tensile steel ladder-frame chassis. Power is expected to come from a 2.8-litre VGT turbo-diesel engine that combines with either a manual or automatic gearbox and 4x2 or 4x4 driveline.

As evidenced by the local engineering calibration, Ateco Automotive is working with SAIC Motor to ensure a high level of safety engineering and equipment goes into both the T60 and D90 in a bid to secure a maximum five-star crash test rating under the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

Advanced safety technology developed for the ute should be available on the D90, such as the aforementioned driver fatigue monitoring system. Parking sensors, 360-degree cameras and a separate reversing camera also feature on the T60, along with up to six airbags.

The D90 concept, shown under SAIC Motor’s Maxus brand used in other markets overseas, had a 5100mm overall length, 2000mm width and 1900mm height, slightly larger dimensions than the top-selling model in this genre, the Pajero Sport.

The Pajero Sport is priced from $45,000 plus on-road costs. Mitsubishi has sold 2158 units to the end of March, well ahead of its nearest rival, the MU-X, on 1537.

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