South Africa will be the first RHD market to receive the LDV D90, starting Q4 of 2024.

Set to arrive in the last quarter of 2024, this new contender has the Fortuner, Everest and mu-X squarely in its sights. Going on first impressions, this newcomer should have all the attributes to take the fight to the segment leaders.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, there’s a new player in the South African bakkie market. LDV is a brand of the Chinese SAIC Motor conglomerate, and announced their local arrival in March this year. The first LDV products went on sale mere weeks later, in the form of the T60 double-cab bakkie range, with four trim levels and the option between two 2.0-litre turbodiesels delivering 120 kW and 160 kW, respectively.

The T60 double-cab bakkie is the first part of LDV's arrival plan, and will soon be joined by a family adventure SUV.LDV certainly doesn’t wait for things to happen, because, while their dealership network is still being established, the local distributors already revealed the next model in their product offensive. This newcomer takes aim at the upper end of the off-road-capable family SUV market, and could prove to be a high-value alternative to the established players in this very competitive segment.

The LDV website has complete details about their current bakkie range, along with interesting background on the company itself.

 With a big, brash grille and tall stance, the LDV D90 has an intimidating visage.

What is an LDV D90?

The LDV D90 is a large 7-seater adventure family SUV, based on a modified version of the company’s bakkie ladder-frame chassis, and equipped with the top-level bakkie’s engine and ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. That’s where the similarity between the two LDV models end, however, because the D90 receives its own suspension and AWD system, along with an all-new and pretty good-looking interior, and too many comfort features and driver aids to mention (although we will try, a few paragraphs later in this article).

The AWD and terrain response system offer up to 17 customisable profiles.

The AWD system itself deserves special mention. In addition to its automatically-controlled centre differential on all models, the range-topping variant adds mechanical lockers on all three differentials. You’d normally look at a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon or a Mercedes G-Wagen for this feature, but now LDV will bring it to the family SUV market.

In addition, there’s a terrain response system which allows the driver to personalise each driving mode, claimed to be capable of offering up to 17 different setting permutations to suit any surface condition. Combine all this with a generous ground clearance of 230 mm and approach- and departure angles of 28- and 26 degrees, respectively, and the LDV D90 should be as capable over the rough stuff as any other stock off-roader out there - and probably better than most.

There are some notable differences between a softer-focus crossover and a proper SUV, as this article explains.

With its gloss-black exterior detailing, the LDV D90 looks rather more upmarket than its likely pricetag would suggest.

It certainly looks the part

The range-topping D90 “Flagship” (yes, that’s what it will be called when it goes on sale) on display at the reveal event looked authentically butch in its white paintwork with gloss-black accents. In keeping with local preferences, all D90s coming to SA will feature this exterior black-out package, and it does suit the D90’s chunky styling and elevated stance very nicely indeed.

Down its flanks, squared-off lines are offset by black wheelarch extensions and side steps, while an LED light bar, black spoiler, and 20-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels add quite a bit of bling. This bling is echoed in the frontal treatment, where sliver-like high-mounted LED DRLs flank a huge gloss-black grille from atop all-LED headlamps. This will probably the most aggressive-looking SUV in its class when it arrives, and, in a market where over-the-top styling has become the norm, the D90 should fit right in.

In top-end Flagship trim, the LDV D90 SUV is lavishly appointed.

Luxury rules inside

The first two D90 units have already arrived in South Africa, of which the lower-trim “Elite” example is currently being homologated to local regulations. The other, higher-trim unit was on display during the recent product reveal event, and it was specified as befits its “Flagship” trim level.

Watch the MotorMatters/CHANGECARS video for an in-depth look at the new LDV D90, and explore some of its features with Alan.

Upholstery of seats and door cards are in supple leather with contrast stitching, and electrically-adjustable front seats with massage functions and heating combine with heated seats in the second row and three-zone climate control to cover all the comfort bases. But, while the middle row enjoys physical buttons for their air-con and seat heater controls, these functions are embedded in the big central screen for front occupants.

The Flagship LDV D90 has heated and adjustable middle-row seats, along with a separate climate control system and a plethora of USB ports.

It’s practical too, with 5 USB ports spread throughout the cabin, and a 220V AC outlet at the rear of the centre console. The cabin design is according to current Chinese SUV design trends, with a split-level console and heavy reliance on screens. The cabin itself is up to class standards on passenger space, and the rearmost seating row should have adequate room for average-sized adults over shorter distances.

Find out more about the LDV T60 series of double-cabs here, including the specifications of its 10-strong current model line-up.

A 12-speaker JBL audio system upgrade is part of the LDV D90 Flagship equipment list.

Loaded with standard features

In its top-end Flagship configuration, the LDV D90’s standard equipment includes the aforementioned leather upholstery, three-zone climate control, and heating for the adjustable middle seating row. The Flagship also upgrades the Elite trim’s 8-speaker audio system to a 12-speaker JBL setup, changes the normal sunroof to an opening panoramic panel, and swaps the standard 18-inch alloy wheels for 20-inch diamond-cut items.

Driver assistance systems also abound, with the Flagship receiving a 360-degree camera system (instead of a rear-view-only camera in the Elite), and the entire range features adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, and a built-in dashcam. Safety credentials are another LDV D90 strong suit, with a 5-star ANCAP crash safety rating (roughly comparable to the latest Euro NCAP standards), six airbags, full-LED lighting, and stability control in all variants.

Can’t wait for the well-equipped D90 to arrive in South Africa? A Ford Everest Wildtrak will include all the gadgets you want - at a price, of course!

Even with its third row of seats in use, the LDV D90 has decent cargo space. The rearmost seats fold away to create a flat load floor.

LDV D90 prices to be announced

This product reveal told us quite a lot about the SUV heading our way, but it didn’t include any indication of pricing when the D90 lands in South Africa. We only have some hints from the LDV representative to work with: “It won’t cost a Fortune, and its price won’t be an unscaleable Everest” were about the extent of the clues.

Given that a 4x4 Everest starts just shy of a million Rand and that a power-comparable 4x4 Fortuner breaches the R 900 000 barrier in its lower specification, it would thus not be unreasonable to expect the entry-level D90 to land in the high-R700k bracket, possibly extending closer to a million bucks for the high-trim version. This is all speculation, however, as official pricing will only be announced when this new model becomes available. Keep an eye open for pricing updates as soon more info becomes available!

Martin Pretorius


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