We all know the Toyota Hiace. We all know the Hyundai Starex. Are you aware that there’s another option in the form of the Maxus G10? I’m not surprised if you didn’t know or if you only found out recently after Maxus Philippines launched the G50. I don’t blame you if you’re not familiar with the G10. I myself, other than this test drive unit we’re talking about have only seen just one other unit of this MPV.
The Maxus G10 is actually one of, if not the newest large MPV offering in the Philippine market, introduced just over a year ago. Given that this MPV, and even the Maxus brand has not yet made its name in the Philippine market, especially with brand loyalists sticking to the more popular Toyota and Hyundai models, can this family hauler that provides more affordable pricing take some buyers away from more mainstream models?
Family vehicles, more specifically these large MPVs or small vans if you could, are not always the best looking vehicles. Maxus proves this wrong with the G10 as it is actually a good looking vehicle. While it does carry that usual family van or MPV silhouette, the G10 features a more rounded body. The front fascia itself is rather aggressive and sleek-looking. It does kinda give-off a Korean sort of aura but it surely does not look like any other van. Looking a bit lower, you’ll notice the sporty bumper which definitely gives this van a more family-oriented look. The headlights are halogen projectors which have an interesting looking blue ring around it. Quite unique if you ask me.
On the side, it again is typical but with a more rounded appearance making it look a bit less box-like. Sliding doors can be found on both sides, not powered but this isn’t a feature found on its main rival, the Hyundai Starex either. The 16-inch alloy wheels are not the best looking rims you can get but hey, it does look really good for this type of vehicle.
The rear of the Maxus G10 is not exactly the most stylish or even the best looking. Well it’s a van so there’s really not much you can do when it comes to design. The taillights are LEDs which is a nice touch plus the creases, rear spoiler, and chrome bar all on the tailgate make what should essentially be a boring face more appealing.
I would also like to add that since its introduction, I always thought the G10 was a smaller vehicle. Well surprise, when it arrived at my condominium driveway I was surprised to see how big it actually was. That isn’t a bad thing of course as this should translate to more interior space which we’ll be talking about next.
Getting inside, let’s start with the backseats as this is the best place to be when in the Maxus G10. The sliding doors aren’t power-operated but they’re light enough to easily open and close. Once opened, you’ll be welcomed by a spacious cabin that features 4 captain’s chairs. Yes, both the 2nd and 3rd row seats are captain’s chairs and both provide great comfort especially the 2nd row. Legroom and headroom are excellent as expected. The first two rows of rear seats can be slid forward and back which allows for more space flexibility. Maximizing the 2nd row does mean zero legroom for the 3rd or 4th row, or even for both at the same time. The 4th row is just a standard bench with decent legroom for three passengers. Comfort is still decent and manageable as well. Total passenger capacity is 9 including the driver with a configuration of 2-2-2-3.
Rear passengers in the Maxus G10 are treated to of course the excellent legroom, rear climate vents with its own controls for fan speed and temperature, and abundant storage cubbies. Unfortunately there aren’t USB ports for the rear passengers but there is a single 12-volt power outlet and a 230V three-pronged power outlet where you can charge your laptops during long drives. Thanks to that, we were able to join the Kia Stonic’s media preview via Zoom between shooting Iverson’s video review of this van.
Now moving to the front, the G10 features a dashboard typical from vans. It does look good and the materials are pretty good too. Build quality feels solid despite being mostly hard touch plastics. A nice faux wood panel breaks up the black plastics and looks very classy. It would be a bit better though if it had some kind of textures for a more authentic feel. The front seats by the way are surprisingly very comfortable as well.
The gearshift for the 6-speed automatic transmission is nicely placed. Its size is also right but it does feel a bit on the cheaper side. Sometimes when going through the gears, you’ll also end up going from drive to manual mode instead of to neutral, reverse or park. The steering wheel on the other hand feels nice and is leather-wrapped. The seats are all covered in a combination of what feels like faux leather and fabric. The two front seats are also power adjustable, 6-way for the driver and 4-way for the passenger.
How the Maxus G10 performs in terms of storage can be subjective depending on how you would look at it. Opening the huge rear tailgate reveals almost zero cargo capacity. During our time with the G10, we were only able to fit a maximum of two tripods, though we actually did not use it most of the time. The 4th row bench is foldable and while it may look complicated on video, it’s actually quite easy. It’s not a one-step process but it does its job. You simply have to pull the straps on the sides of the seat to fold down the seatbacks, then you pull the bar under the seat to lift it up. This gives space for maybe around 4 to 6 pieces of large-sized luggage. This does however limit rear seat capacity to just 4 passengers instead of 7.
Other storage options if you need the 4th row of seats are the aisles inside the cabin. You can surely fit multiple pieces of luggage in between the seats. The only catch is you’ll have to move them whenever loading and unloading from the vehicle. As I also mentioned earlier, there are various storage cubbies around the cabin including a very deep one in the front center console between the driver and front passenger.
Technology and Safety
Tech features inside the Maxus G10 are typical of most vehicles in the market today. In the center of the dashboard is a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. I must say that it does look a bit too small thanks to the dashboard’s large design but it is quite responsive. There are some things about the interface that isn’t to my liking like how some icons are too small and placed near the edges of the screen, and how you play music via bluetooth. You’ll have to go to your bluetooth telephone first before being able to play music. There’s also no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto but I did expect those to be absent. I do really appreciate the presence of physical buttons and knobs below the infotainment system as these actually eliminate the issues with small icons in the screen and while they are plenty, they fit very well to the dashboard’s design.
In terms of airconditioning, the G10 is equipped with dual-zone automatic climate control. Separate zones for the front seats and the rear seats. The controls are easy to use once you get used to them. The number of buttons may seem a bit confusing at first.
Standard safety features on the Maxus G10 are dual front airbags, side airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, 3-point seatbelts for all passengers and ISOFIX childseat anchor points. Also standard are front and rear parking sensors, and a reverse camera which makes parking this large vehicle a lot easier than it should be.
Most vans in the Philippine market are powered by engines with displacements 2.5 L or larger. This is where the Maxus G10 is unique. 2.0 L maybe? No. The Maxus G10 is powered by a 1.9-liter TCI turbodiesel engine sourced from Peugeot. It produces 148 horsepower and a healthy 350 Nm of torque. This power and torque combo is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Driving and Comfort
The Maxus G10’s turbodiesel may sound a bit small for some people but it’s actually not the case. The 1.9L turbodiesel actually returns good performance even for a passenger van. In terms of acceleration, the engine provides you with all the torque and power you’ll need. Granted there were only three of us inside the vehicle, it does do very well. The 6-speed automatic transmission shifts really smoothly and quickly which actually surprised me. At times there’s a bit of lag but it’s rare, at least in my experience. Overall acceleration is of course not the fastest but it gets the job done really well for such a large vehicle.
In terms of refinement, the diesel engine as expected sends a lot of vibration into the cabin especially when idling. Those are mostly gone when moving and the engine sounds good enough. From the rear seats, you’ll hardly hear the engine during normal acceleration. There is this noticeably annoying sound coming from the engine when crawling in heavy traffic. This sound only appears when the aircon is running. In our week with the van, this was our constant complaint.
Steering feel is a bit on the heavier side but that’s expected. I drove a 2019 Toyota Hiace Super Grandia about a week or two before Maxus lent us the G10 and this van is definitely lighter. Ride quality is excellent wherever you sit in the vehicle. The suspension absorbs all road imperfections really well most of the time, only very large bumps are really felt. Road noise is almost non existent as well.
In our more than one week test drive of the Maxus G10, we saw different fuel economy figures. In light city traffic we saw 12 km/l. Average fuel economy on the other hand in a combination of light, heavy and standstill traffic was around 8 to 9 km/l which is actually quite good. A short highway run returned 15 km/l, at least according to the trip computer.
The Maxus G10 is priced at a more affordable price point than other vans in the market today. At Php 1,790,000, it undercuts most of its rivals by a significant margin. It may not have the largest powertrain or the best tech features but you get luxury space and comfort which is a very important aspect when looking for a van.
Overall, I must say that the Maxus G10 is a very underrated van. This test drive proved to me that we should see more of this on Philippine roads.
G10 9-seater A/T
1.9 L Inline-4 TCI Turbo Diesel
Maximum Power and Torque
148 hp @ 4,000 RPM
350 Nm of Torque @ 1,800-2,600 RPM
Estimated Fuel Economy
12 km/l City
15 km/l Highway