It was just one of those days. We were going to celebrate my wife’s 50th birthday with a weekend family lunch at our favorite steak house. She was going to fetch her mom, her brother and a family friend while our two grown kids and I were going to fetch my mom, my sister and their helper. and bring the flowers and balloons as well. But there was only one small problem: our seven-seat sport utility vehicle (SUV) was still in the shop.
Luckily, Maxus Philippines scheduled us for a test drive of the 2020 Maxus G10 passenger van that very same weekend. With seats for nine occupants spread comfortably across four rows, the G10 made it possible for me to take everyone plus my mother-in-law’s best friend and still have room to spare for the party tricks and the flowers. This is one of those days I am thankful that my job gives me the opportunity to drive different vehicles several times a month.
Ohana Means Family
With six captain’s chairs that feature folding armrests and a rear bench seat for three, the G10 is accommodating and spacious. My 81-year-old mom, who has a titanium replacement hip and suffers from osteoporosis, scoliosis, and other bone-related maladies, had to be helped up into the right side second row seat, but once seated, she found it very comfortable. Passengers sitting in the 3rd and 4th rows could still climb in by passing behind my mom’s seat. Of course, this was before we had lunch…
After the heavy lunch and simple celebration, my passengers and I all filed back into the G10, only to feel a bit cramped – not because we had too much to eat – but because we had more stuff with us, including several gifts and a large painting that one of my wife’s friend gave her as a birthday gift. Fortunately for everyone, the G10’s 3.2-meter wheelbase meant that there is a lot of space between the front and rear axles, and to paraphrase the famous line in the movie Lilo and Stitch, nobody got left behind… or forgotten.
Great View, Great Ride
Even though the G10 is not a cab-over-engine (COE) design, the driver and front passenger are perched quite high. The high seat position gives the driver a great view of the road ahead afforded by the wide front windshield and the unobtrusive cockpit. The controls are similar to American and European vehicles with the headlight switch mounted on the left side of the dash instead of the stalk. The touchscreen infotainment system, with AM/FM radio, AUX, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, doubles as the reverse camera monitor but its 7-inch size dates the G10’s design backward by a few years.
Perhaps, as an ode to its Leyland DAF Vans (LDV) British origins, the G10 has a decidedly luxurious feel to its ride. The suspension is not too stiff as one would expect in a 9-passenger van, but not too soft and loose, as one would expect in a luxury barge. The suspension, with McPherson struts in front and a five-link axle with coil springs at the back, is tuned just right and complemented by the soft double-stitched leather seats. With cool air-conditioning vented all around the cabin, driving and riding this Maxus is really a treat!
You’ve Got The Look
Let’s get one thing straight: Passenger vans are usually two-box designs, meaning one small box houses the engine and the other big box houses the passengers. Thus, most vans tend to have a rather common and mediocre boxy design. However, the sweeping front end, large chrome grill, large sweeping headlights, spoiler-like lower bumper and fog light housing separates the G10 from other passenger vans designed for the masses.
Maxus attached a few pieces of chrome on the G10 to add a touch of luxury and sophistication while creases on the doors and side panels add some strength to the metal as well as some character to the design. The rear of the van, with its huge taillights, chrome-trimmed tailgate handle, high-mounted third brake light, roof-mounted rear spoiler and sporty rear bumper gives the impression of high quality and sportiness. The Maxus emblem, which is a combination of three triangles that represent technology, confidence and progress that are the pillars of the brand, is often mistaken by kids as a stylized version of the Avengers’ logo.
What’s Under The Hood?
148 horses are more than enough to move nine people in this vehicle as well as keep up with today’s traffic, but it won’t win any road races. After all, the G10 is a passenger van, not a sports car. However, the 1.9-liter turbocharged inline-4 common rail direct injection (CRDI) diesel engine also churns out a whopping 350 Newton-meters of torque, which is more than enough to catapult this van into the legal speed limit faster than you might think. There’s a bit of hesitation and a hint of turbo lag at first, but the power delivery is linear and controllable.
A 6-speed automatic transmission multiplies all that power and torque then sends it to the rear wheels. Twelve-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels shod in 215/70R16C tires provide adequate grip in both wet and dry road conditions while the tall sidewalls add some extra cushioning effect that contributes to the van’s soft, comfortable ride. Front ventilated disc brakes and solid rear discs provide consistent and stable stopping power while a hydraulic power steering system makes this nimble van relatively easy to drive.
Thrifty Turbo Diesel
Our G10 media test drive unit was delivered to us on a Thursday with a full tank of gas, which is about 75 liters. It was supposed to stay with us for only a week but Typhoon Ulysses added another four days to our custody. As of this writing, the fuel gauge has moved by just a third, and the computer showed that we’re averaging around 13.3 liters per 100 kilometers, which translates to around 7.5 kilometers per liter, while we’re driving along at an average of 17.3 kilometers per hour.
On the highway, though, the computer displayed an instant fuel economy of around 6.6 liters per 100 kilometers (around 15.2 km/L), which is good enough for a turbo diesel 9-passenger van travelling at 100 km/h. We could do better but there was this pesky white UV Express van trying to race and pace us. Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves. We just enjoyed showing the G10’s taillights to the discourteous UV Express driver.
With a retail price of P1,790,000, the G10 cannot be considered as “immediately affordable”, especially with most banks being cautious on car loans during the pandemic. However, with a host of safety, comfort and convenience features, including a 220V inverter and 12V power socket for powering laptop computers and recharging gadgets, and the uncanny ability to take your whole family and the pets with you in one trip, the 2020 Maxus G10 passenger van offers a lot of value for the money. And that’s the New Normal nowadays.
Classification: 5-door passenger van
Engine type: Liquid-cooled inline-4 turbocharged diesel common rail direct injection (CRDI)
Displacement: 1850 cc
Maximum power: 148hp (150 PS) @ 4000 rpm
Maximum torque: 350 Nm @ 1800-2600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Length: 5168 mm
Width: 1980 mm
Height: 1928 mm
Wheelbase: 3198 mm
Curb weight: 1660 kg (est)
Ground clearance: 150 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 75 liters
Bonifacio One Technology Tower, 3030 Rizal Drive,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, 1502 Metro Manila
Phone: (+632) 8459 4555