First impressions are good.
The Maxus is a sleek looker with a snub nose not unlike the Toyota Hiace.
It’s hardly surprising that it has that Far Eastern appearance – the van was designed in Korea in conjunction with the now defunct Daewoo.
The silver metallic paint is extra at £300 but it’s a good investment as at selling time the van is almost sure to fetch at least £300 more than one with flat paint.
There are big plastic bumpers front and rear but no padding at all for the side panels or wheelarches.
The rear bumper doubles up as step (an extra at £40) and our test model was equipped with an optional towbar at £250.
In the front
Entry to the cab is by remote plip locking and once inside, the sitting area proves light and airy.
The driver’s seat – a special one at an extra £122 – is firm and supportive and has an adjustable lumbar bar, but our seat appeared to be slightly loose on its mountings, which was a tad disconcerting.
All the instruments are housed in a centre binnacle which takes a bit of getting used to but looks neat and stylish.
It will make it easier for LDV to produce left-hand drive models if necessary.
The downside is that the CD player is slung low down away from the driver, so you have to take your eyes off the road to make any adjustments.
It is, however, a good quality unit, which will please any music-loving drivers.
There are large cola bottle bins in each door (hooray!) but the pull-out tray on the dash which is home to two cup/can holders is so flimsy that it looks like it might blow away after a night on the curry.
Also of note is the extra-large cab light in the roof, which gives out plenty of light on gloomy nights.
Other add-on extras included a glazed bulkhead at £200, passenger airbag at £200 and air conditioning at £800.
In the back
The van’s side sliding door glides back and forth in a satisfactory manner and the rear doors snick shut nicely.
Our test van came with the optional plastic floor and six countersunk load-lashing eyes at £135 and full height ply lining at £302.
It may seem a lot to pay but once again is well worth the extra, especially if the van will be carrying loads that may damage the interior.
A damaged cargo area at selling time is almost impossible to repair.
Payload is 943kg and load volume measures 10.3 cubic metres.
On the road
LDV has made a wise choice in its engines.
The VM powerplants are smooth and sure and although our test van proved a lusty performer with its 120bhp on tap, most fleets will find the 95bhp version will do just as well.
The higher-powered model boasts a respectable 221lb-ft of torque at 1,800rpm while the lower-powered variant has 184lb-ft at the same revs.
Either will pull a full load without problems.
Meanwhile, the van’s power steering is nicely weighted to give just the right amount of feel. But I was less enamoured with the dash-mounted gearlever, which seemed imprecise and made a nasty, clunky, graunchy noise.
It’s a shame to see that ABS brakes are an optional extra at a hefty £485 but at least the Maxus comes with a standard driver’s airbag, unlike the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and several others I could mention.
LDV is going to have to keep a keen eye on its quality control systems to make sure that niggling little faults like the ones on our test van don’t get through.
The firm is asking a price not far off that of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit when standard spec levels are taken into
account and buyers will expect similar levels of quality.
But provided the vans arrive at fleet depots without faults, there is no reason to suspect they won’t give satisfactory service.