March 20, 2020 By Chris Van Hoven Photos by Nicolas Calanoc C! March 2020 Cover Story

2020 Maxus T60

The pickup truck segment has always been an interesting one for manufacturers to tackle because everyone has a different idea of what a pickup truck should be in the first place. By its nature alone, you’d think that a pickup would be the standard workhorse, capable of lugging a ton of cargo around rough terrain in rural scenarios; but tell that to manufacturers like Nissan and Ssangyong, whose Navara and Musso pickups feature coil spring rear suspension systems, because apparently people want their pickups to be soft-riding urban vehicles that just happen to have the capacity for a lot of cargo. When you think about it, pickup trucks are set with the highest expectations. Not only are they required to have at least a ton of payload capacity, but they should also be comfortable, oh and torquey to pull that load. Oh, and they need to be able to cross jungle rivers too. You know, just in case. As such, manufacturers continue to strive to find the perfect “Goldilocks” pickup truck, and no one has completely succeeded just yet.

 

Coming in to an already hotly contested segment is Maxus Philippines with the Maxus T60. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, Maxus is the sixth automotive brand partner under AC Industrials’ wing – a roster that already includes Honda, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Kia and KTM motorcycles. The brand itself has an interesting British heritage behind it, originating from the LDV Maxus model of British commercial vehicle manufacturer LDV Group (formerly Leyland DAF Vans). Since being acquired by Chinese manufacturer SAIC (Shanghai Automotive and Industrial Corporation) in 2010, the Maxus brand has made some impressive strides in the commercial vehicle segment, selling successfully in the markets they’ve been introduced to.

Locally, Maxus entered the market spearheaded by an assortment of passenger vans, namely, the luxury-oriented V10, and the hard-working utilitarian V80. Already establishing a foothold with purpose-driven automobiles, it seemed logical for the T60 to make its debut, with Maxus confident that their pickup offering has what it takes to take on a thoroughly established segment. And just as fate would have it, that’s what we’re here to find out.

From the onset, the Maxus T60 immediately makes its presence known with a wide and imposing grille up front. Its scalloped sides and an almost sporty stretched out hood gives it some SUV styling chops, without sacrificing the ruggedness it promises to provide. Maxus is bringing in three variants of the T60, in 4×4 automatic, 4×2 automatic, and 4×2 manual transmission guises, and not much separates the variants from the outside save for LED headlights on the top-of-the-line 4×4, together with daytime running lights. All variants are equipped with 245/65 R17 alloy wheels and disc brakes at the front and rear. 

Inside, the 4×4 variant enjoys leather upholstery on supportive seats that can be power adjusted six ways on the driver side. The central dash is dominated by an impressively large 10-inch touchscreen powering six speakers with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Apple fans can rejoice as Apple CarPlay is included as a feature, though Android fans will have to be content with MirrorLink instead of Android Auto. The steering wheel comes loaded with audio and communications buttons, and a rear climate control vent ensures that the passengers at the back are comfortable on long drives. The cabin itself is roomy for a pickup, with adequate leg space at the rear for even larger passengers to enjoy. Forget what notions you may have about Chinese-made cars – the Maxus T60’s interior fit and finish is extremely comparable to the rest of the field – and that’s saying a lot. Nearly the entire cabin is comprised of plastic panels, and that’s a good thing. If the Maxus T60 does what it’s designed to do – get down and dirty – it’ll be a much simpler affair to clean up plastic than any other material. 

The engine of choice for the Maxus T60 is a 2.8-liter four cylinder turbo diesel, with 148 bhp and 266 lb-ft of torque. On paper, the T60’s output is a bit lower when analyzed side by side with the competition, but it doesn’t translate to how it feels to actually drive it. The Maxus T60 provides more than enough torque to get itself up steep inclines, overcome large obstacles, or even climb sidewalks. Three drive modes are available to choose from as well. ECO Mode is recommended for use on paved roads without load for maximum fuel economy returns. Normal Mode is recommended for light gravel roads or slight load. Power mode offers a 5% increase in power, with a reciprocating fuel consumption increase of 2%. This is the mode you’ll want to choose when tackling complex road conditions or carrying heavy loads. For the automatic transmission variants, the engine is paired to a 6-speed automatic built under license from the Belgian company Punch Powertrain, while the 6-speed manual transmission is built by Hyundai Transys. When taking corners, the Maxus T60 doesn’t get unsettled as easily as some of the other pickup offerings in the segment, and while the steering is a bit on the light side, it’s decidedly direct and responsive.

Road comfort is impressive as well despite the leaf spring suspension at the rear, and although it’s not as comfortable as the more lifestyle-oriented trucks in the market, it’s not going to rattle the teeth out of your head either. It’s meant to be a workhorse, after all. And work it can, with a maximum load capacity of 1,020 kg for the 4×4 AT, 1,010 kg for the 4×2 AT, and 1,040 kg for the 4×2 MT. Towing capacities are equal across all variants at 2,500 kg, and all variants are rated to tread water up to an impressive 800mm, which is a water wading depth enjoyed by larger pickups and PPVs. 

The entire range of the Maxus T60 is well-equipped for safety. All models come with driver and front passenger airbags, 3-point seatbelts for front and rear seats, ISOFIX latches, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, a reverse sensor and camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, and an anti-theft immobilizer. The 4×4 AT variant includes electronic stability control. In terms of convenience, all variants come with cruise control and keyless entry, with the top-of-the-line 4×4 AT receiving extra features such as a push start button, and automatic climate control. Considering that there is very little difference in terms of equipment between variants, the value you get even at the base model 4×2 manual transmission level is quite impressive.

 

Maxus couldn’t have picked a better time to enter the segment. With competitor prices going nowhere but up as they continue to improve, the Maxus T60 demonstrates that you can bundle capability with a highly satisfying equipment list at extremely affordable prices, opening the segment up to new options that customers wouldn’t normally consider. Exciting times ahead, indeed.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4
Location Front, Transversal
Displacement 2,776 cc
Cylinder Block Aluminum Alloy
Cylinder Head Aluminum, dohc, 4 valves per cylinder, Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) and Intercooler
Fuel Injector Common Rail Direct Injection
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 148 bhp @ 3,400 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 266 lb-ft @ 1,600 – 2,800 rpm
Drag Coefficient (cd) 0.42 cd
Transmission 6-Speed Automatic Transmission

Engine

Suspension System Front: Double Wishbone with Coil Springs and Stabilizer Bar, Rear: Leaf Springs
Brakes Front: Front: 12.2” (310 mm) Ventilated Discs with Single-Piston Aluminum Fixed Calipers, Rear: 11.6” (294 mm) Solid Discs with Single-Piston Aluminum Fixed Calipers, with ABS and EBD
Wheels 17" x 7.5 J Alloy
Tires 245 / 65 R17

Weight and dimensions

Length 5,365 mm
Width 1,900 mm
Height 1,809 mm
Wheelbase (mm) 3,155 mm
Curb Weight 2,030 kg (4475 lbs.)

Performance

Top Speed 180 km/h (112 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 12.5 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Capacity 75 liters (19.8 gallons)
Fuel Milage (km/l) 11.11 km/L Overall

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 1,328,000.00
What's Great Torquey engine, roomy rear, excellent safety and convenience features
What's Not So Ride is a bit stiff, wish it had more power
C! Editors Rating 8/10
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