All parents are familiar with the fact that the smallest person in the family has the most luggage in any out of town trip. And when a family grows to three or more children, even the tried and tested ladder-frame 7-seater SUV or MPV starts to show its limitations. The next step up is, of course, the family van. But surprisingly unlike the SUV or MPV segment, the selection of non-luxury (below PhP 2.2 million) family vans in the local automotive scene isn’t that large. You have the usual suspects – the Nissan Urvan Premium, Toyota Hiace Grandia and Hyundai Grand Starex – and outliers like the Foton View Traveller or the various options from JAC Motors. That makes the recent introduction of Maxus into the country by Ayala company AC Industrials all the more important.
First, a little history lesson. The Maxus brand carries a significant British legacy, tracing its roots back to 1896, with the creation of the Leyland Steam Van, followed by the start of Leyland Motors in 1907. Leyland DAF Vans (LDV), a successor company to Leyland Motors, launched the Maxus brand in 2004, and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) acquired the assets of the LDV Group in 2010. Maxus vehicles continue to be sold under the LDV brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
Maxus’ current flagship, the G10, presents itself as an affordable, practical family van that offers the kind of comfort found in much more premium models. Penned by the Torino Design Center in Italy, the Maxus G10 does its best to avoid the boxy shaped that all vans are cursed with and is sleek enough to make is stand out from the rest. That’s not an easy feat considering how large the G10 actually is. With its length, width, and height dimensions at 5168mm x 1980mm x 1928mm, and a wheelbase of 3210mm, it exceeds even the Toyota Alphard’s general size.
Thankfully, Maxus didn’t let the extra millimeters go to waste, as the larger dimensions result in massive interior room. The local iteration of the G10 features a 2-2-2-3 seating configuration for a total of nine passengers. The captain’s chair arrangement (in leather) for the first three rows allow for excellent comfort and generous amounts of leg room, with all rows except for the last capable of reclining and sliding adjustments. The 4th row splits 60:40, which should be able to accommodate your standard fare of overnight bags and light luggage. The entire 4th row bench is capable of tumbling forward if you need to carry heavier gear or baggage. Maxus hasn’t forgotten the driver when it comes to comfortable seating either. The G10 features 10-way driver and 4-way passenger power-adjustable seats, making it easy to find a comfortable driving position.
A 7-inch touchscreen controls the G10’s 6-speaker set up and lies within the driver or passenger’s easy reach. Adding to every passenger’s comfort and convenience are dedicated cooling vents on every row. Up front, the G10’s dash offers an upscale feel with faux-wood trimmings and a general use of materials that feel great to the touch. You can tell where Maxus had to cut a few corners by the use of hard plastics elsewhere up front, including the shift knob, which felt strangely out of place. Nevertheless, the G10 does a great job of making the driver and passengers feel like they’re riding in a quality vehicle.
Powering the Maxus G10 is a 1.9-liter CRDi turbo diesel engine that produces 148hp at 4000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 1800-2600 rpm. It’s a generally punchy engine with great response at low revs, though it might start to struggle at overtaking speed with a full complement of nine passengers. Admittedly, the engine could use a tad more refinement and quietness, as some vibrations are evident during high revs. Thankfully, the cabin does a great job of muting outside noises. Thanks to its long wheelbase and five-link coil springs at the rear, the G10’s best feature is just how comfortable it is to drive and ride in. It soaks up road irregularities and undulations with impressive ease, and is far less harsh than its competition at this price point, even with its recommended tire pressure at 40 psi.
The G10’s safety features include driver, passenger, and side airbags, ABS and EBD, front and rear parking sensors, and a reverse parking camera. Currently being offered at an introductory price of PhP 1,680,000, the Maxus G10 is an incredible value-for-money proposition, with some of its closest competitors with similar features and driving characteristics asking for over PhP 600,000 more. If you’re in the market for a family van and you value comfort, passenger space, and the “business class” experience above all else, the Maxus G10 offers it at a price that’s difficult to ignore, and should be greatly considered as an option.