Remember the time where people tell you that goods made from China isn’t as good as the products churned by its closest neighbour Japan. Well, when Japan first started to figure things out with mass-produce products, the people who came before would sing the same tune, just that they were not as good as the things that came from America or Europe.
And for those who still think China is lacking behind, then you’ll be sorry to know that they have been churning out things that can rival globally. Electronic consumer goods like smartphones alone are a testament to how much the country has grown industrially.
Besides that, China is also home to many domestic automotive manufacturers which includes BAIC Group, Cherry, GAC, Geely, and SAIC among many. Well, Geely doesn’t need any more introduction as it bought half of Proton and mostly Lotus, while GreatWall’s Haval brand has been slowly gaining quite a following locally.
This brings us to the Maxus brand, a wholly owned subsidiary of SAIC Motor, which the company took over intellectual property of the now defunct LDV Group in 2010. In Malaysia, the official distributor of Maxus vehicles, Weststar Maxus Sdn Bhd carries the G10 passenger and V80 commercial vans locally.
Pictures just don’t do justice of how big the Maxus G10 SE really is. Its 5,168mm long, 1,980mm wide, and 1,928 mm in height, it’s much bigger than a Toyota Vellfire. This means that there should be enough room to fit 10 people comfortably without anyone winging about space.
When it comes to aesthetics, there’s nothing much to be said with most vans generally, but the G10 doesn’t look awkward and out of place; take the stickers away and you’ll see that it looks inoffensive and hides its large dimensions pretty well.
Flanking the chrome grille sits a pair of HID headlamp clusters with LED daytime running lamps with their own washers. With closer inspection, you’ll notice that the panel gaps are consistent all around, nothing jarring and definitely there’s high QC standards enforced at the factory where it is assembled.
You’ll find dual automatic sliding doors, where by simply tugging the door handle towards you and letting go, the door slides open at a predictable pace with a warning beep to let you know to keep out of the way before jumping in.
Moving to the rear, you’ll find LED rear lamps and rear fog lamps located below. The rear tailgate opening is wide enough to allow loading of large bulky items from golf bags, to mountain bikes and loading heavy payloads at IKEA.
The exterior pretty much sets the tone on what to expect inside; again the build quality is on par to many Japanese made vehicles with sound build quality. The choice of materials used may come from a cost point of view, but they feel like the same plastics as to what many pick-up trucks from the land of the rising sun would use in their interiors.
That said, Maxus has gone the extra mile to apply soft touch areas inside, to be exact across the dashboard and the door inserts. Looks can be subjective, but these little things made the interior feel warm and comfortable.
Sitting in front, the manually adjustable front seats offer comfort with a commanding view ahead. The driver can adjust fore, aft, height and seat back, while the steering wheel is only rake adjustable. The visibility ahead is clear ahead without any blind spots at the bottom corners of the windscreen and side door windows.
Many of the controls and buttons are within reach at the top half of the dashboard, however it would take some effort to adjust the automatic climate control interface located on beside the automatic gear selector. Here, the front occupants are able to access many of the G10’s cubbies located at the door inserts, and centre console.
The only issue to take note of is the location of the hazard signal switch, which is oddly located together with the climate control interface instead at the top half of the centre stack like in many vehicles would. This can take additional time for drivers who are completely new to the G10 to find in case of an emergency.
At the second row, owners will find a bench seat, which can sit three in a row, a pair of captain seats at the third row, and another bench row seats that also sits three at the fourth row. With that many seats, the G10 SE is perfect for large families on long distance trips.
Each row comes with their own cubbies and cup holders for the occupants to stow lose items away when not in use. The second row seat passengers are able to operate the cabin air-conditioner control interface located above with the retractable celling mounted screen.
All of the seats behind the cockpit can slide backwards and forwards with adjustability of the backrest, enabling passengers to bask in the G10’s vast occupant space.
The G10 also comes with a front electric sunroof, where only the front opens automatically via a switch above the centre stack. The passengers at the rear can slide the shrouds open to allow more light into the cabin, but unable to open to allow air in.
The one thing many would take notice immediately is the large 15-inch touchscreen which takes centre stage of an audience of five. Driver and passenger can access the radio and many other multimedia related functions, includes Aux, Bluetooth and Car-Link HMI system. However, it would do much better without the additional digital clock, which is redundant considering the main touchscreen displays the time even when in resting mode.
With that much screen, the visual is clear and crisp and navigating through the options and menus were easy and painless. Pairing up your phone to the system would require the phone to find the infotainment first, rather than the system finding your phone first. It’s not much of an issue once the connection is authorised.
Sound reproduction comes from six loud speakers located around the G10’s vast interior. Sound reproduction comes from six loud speakers, which offers above average quality. There’s no distortions to be heard at higher frequencies and clipping at lower frequencies.
Engine & Transmission
Providing motive force to the G10 is a longitudinal 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine making 225hp and 345Nm of torque. Mated to the stout mill is a ZF supplied six-speed automatic transmission. This is another area which the G10 excels; the engine has a stable idle, and provides instantaneous torque at the low end while progressive as the revs climbs to the red line.
The ZF six-speed gearbox is another feature in the G10 worth mentioning. The shifts are smooth without much hesitation when the need to drop a gear arises. The gear ratios complements the diesel engine output every so nicely as well and almost imperceptible. And being only rear-driven, the G10 has plenty of steering travel which makes it agile when navigating through tight and narrow streets.
Fuel economy isn’t too shabby; as tested, the G10 is able to achieve 9.8 L/100km combined as tested, while averaging between 10.0 to 12.0 L/100km depending on personal driving styles and road conditions.
Being such a large vehicle, the G10 doesn’t intimidate the driver too easily, but best to be mindful when entering tight spaces such as in podium parking lots. Driving on the roads however, the near unobstructed view outside allows the driver to look father ahead than in most cars and SUVs. It’s hard to fault the ergonomics as almost everything is within reach and the switchgear requires little effort in memorising of where they are placed on the dashboard.
Ride is pretty good as well, as the suspension isolates the bumps and vibrations away from the occupants inside, while without sacrificing too much on handling, while the response from the drivetrain allows fine control of how the vehicle goes and stops. Speaking about brakes, the pedal feel is good with adequate amount of resistance and progressiveness according to how much weight you place your feet on the brake pedal.
Let’s keep in mind that this isn’t a sports car, true, but this van does the handling bits decently well. On the handling spectrum, the G10 is more biased towards understeer, which makes it a lot more predictable when driving near its limit, when in doubt, the Electronic Stability Control is on standby constantly to keeps things in check.
The G10’s rigid chassis keeps the suspension working optimally with minimal body flex, which is helpful during cornering. That said the suspension remains compliant over uneven road surfaces and off cambered roads.
The Maxus G10 SE is pretty impressive considering that Maxus is relatively a new comer to the automotive industry. Its very practical with a vast interior space which not only able to carry more than five people at a time, and even with the room to carry heavy payloads when needed, thanks to its repositionable and removable seats.
The engine is smooth, while the transmission offers seamless shifts. The ride is pretty good which isolates the occupants far away from the blemishes of the road below. The G10’s build quality is up to par with many established Japanese manufacturers and with strict QC in place. As mentioned, there are areas of improvements, but mostly are non-essentials.
Not to forget, the standard equipment is on par as well, including large touchscreen infotainment system, keyless entry and start, multi information display, and tyre pressure monitoring system are among the many standard features included, which you can find in vehicles twice its price.
The G10 is pretty impressive from a Chinese company, considering that they are starting to get the hang of it, and with a D-Segment saloon price tag, the Maxus G10 SE provides a lot more for that money.
Maxus G10 SE
Price Msia: RM RM153,412 (OTR without insurance)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged in-line four cylinder petrol
Torque: 345 Nm
Fuel Economy: 9.8 L/100km (Tested)
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic