The local MPV segment is gaining some popularity in recent years, most especially after the launch of 7-seaters like the Mitsubishi Xpander and Suzuki Ertiga, and their higher-riding SUV-like counterparts: Xpander Cross and XL-7, respectively. There is one MPV that’s a bit different and that’s the Toyota Innova. Why so? It has eight seats on 3 of 4 of its variants. It’s also larger in length, width, and height compared to all other MPVs available in the market plus it’s powered by a diesel engine. Besides that, the Toyota Innova is one of the top-selling vehicles in the Philippines, number one in the segment.
Well it looks like it’s no longer the only 8-seater MPV in the market as Maxus Philippines has just recently launched the all-new 2021 Maxus G50 at prices that undercut the Innova’s by a large margin. Will it be able to sway loyalists and buyers of the Japanese brand known for reliability and resale value to reconsider, and will it be able to pull buyers of smaller and more affordable MPVs to upgrade for a small additional price?
We’re lucky to be able to test out the all-new G50 just a few weeks after its launch in the country. The unit Maxus Philippines lent is also the top-spec 1.5 DCT Premium which retails for just below Php 1.3M. Should the Maxus G50 be considered?
Looking at the Maxus G50 from the outside, it definitely sets itself apart from all its competition by a huge margin. Calling it good looking is an understatement because it looks awesome and extremely eye-catching. Let’s start with the exterior color which is known as Roland Purple. It’s a very cute color that actually suits this MPV’s aggressively styled exterior really well, surprisingly. The front fascia is super aggressive with its large front grille with the Maxus name spelled out. Add the full LED lighting composed of the LED headlights, and the super cool-looking LED daytime running lights and even the turn signals. The side profile is a bit more plain but it gets a very nice set of 17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels.
Looking at the G50 from the rear and rear-quarter shows off its van-like styling. This may not be to everyone’s tastes but to me it still looks good as they did a pretty good job on the overall styling of the rear end. Lighting is mostly LED from the taillights, indicators, and rear fog light. Only the reverse light is still not LED which feels a bit like an omission by Maxus. You may or may not also notice but the rear end actually reminds us a bit of the Toyota Alphard.
The overall look of the vehicle is certainly eye-catching. I could no longer remember how many pedestrians and cyclists stopped or stared at the vehicle as I drove by. Maybe this isn’t the car for those who want to grab lot’s of attention.
The interior of the G50 looks as great as the exterior. The dashboard looks very sleek and modern especially if you compare it to other Maxus models available in the country. Everything looks and feels premium, it’s called the Premium variant after all. The dashboard is covered in soft-touch materials. The upper portion is soft-touch plastics while the lower portion gets perforated leather with contrasting red stitching exclusive to this variant.
The seats are wrapped in a combination of black and red leather which looks very sporty, this is exclusive to the Premium variant as well. The seats are very comfortable to sit on and have a good amount of support. The steering wheel on the other hand is nice to hold and features audio and cruise controls. I do have to say that the cruise control was a bit confusing at first as the buttons are split into two. Some controls are above the buttons for the driver’s information display while the others were below it despite them doing the same function.
Moving to the second row, the G50 has enough space for up to three adults. Legroom is good as expected and the seats are mounted slightly lower to the floor thanks to the vehicle’s unibody design. This makes the rear seats a very nice place to be in. Add the large panoramic sunroof which makes the whole experience a lot better. 2nd row passengers will also like the trays behind the front seats which will make it easier to eat snacks or meals during road trips.
On the 3rd row, space is still decent and can fit anyone of my height which is 5’ 7”. It’s still best reserved for children but it’s manageable. 3rd row passengers get two cupholders on each side and a single USB port. By the way, both the 2nd and 3rd rows have air vents on the ceiling. Air vents on the 2nd row could be improved though as they blow air really lightly even at the highest fan speed setting.
Even with passenger capacity the main selling point of MPVs, cargo capacity is also important. The G50 is decent in this regard. With the 3rd row seats up, you still get a good amount of space that can hold around three pieces of small luggage. Folding the 3rd row down doubles or even triples the space. In addition, there is under-floor storage behind the 3rd row adding even more space. There you can also find the tools for the vehicle.
Technology and Safety
Being one of the newest products of Maxus, it should be expected that the G50 is fully-loaded. Well that is the case.
First, there’s a large 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It looks like those you’ll see on Mazdas or BMWs. The interface is overall easy to use and is very responsive but you will have trouble changing the volume when using the radio or listening to your favorite tunes. To adjust the volume, you need to swipe down from the top of the screen just like on a smartphone. The volume slider is also not very intuitive so nothing beats having a physical volume knob. You can adjust the volume using the steering wheel audio controls but the passenger can’t. Another missing feature are connectivity apps like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I personally think that this should be a standard feature for all infotainment systems these days as it also helps prevent the driver from using their mobile phones.
Standard are the usual smart keyless entry with push button start, and cruise control. The G50 also gets a nice analog driver instrument cluster with a digital information display in the center. It shows a photo of a Maxus G50 and the texts are very easy to read. It also shows all the important information you’ll need while driving. Wireless charging is also available on the Premium variant which eliminates the need to plug your phone into the USB ports as long as it’s compatible. A power tailgate is also standard on this Premium variant which is very convenient.
For safety, the Maxus G50 is also pretty good. This also qualifies as tech at least on the Premium variant which gets a 360-degree around-view monitor, the only one in the segment to have one. Image quality is good and is clear enough for when you need it but could still be improved. It would also be nice if it were not limited to use below 15 kph. Also, accessing it could be more convenient if there was a dedicated button or toggle switch somewhere in the center stack instead of looking for it in the touchscreen.
Other safety features are pretty standard ones like Dual Front Airbags, Front Side Airbags, Electronic Stabilisation Program, Brake Assist, Hill Hold Control, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, tire pressure monitoring system, and ISOFIX childseat anchor points.
Being larger than a Toyota Innova, the Maxus G50 is likely to be criticized for its powertrain. It is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine. Again, it’s turbocharged. It produces a healthy 167 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque.
Before you complain of it not being a diesel, remember that this engine is lighter than maybe the 2.8 L turbodiesel on the Innova. Also remember that most car companies are downsizing their engines but with more power and torque, plus turbocharging.
By the way, the G50 gets a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and is front-wheel drive.
Driving and Comfort
With such good looks inside and out, you probably expect the Maxus G50 to perform very well and it does. Initial feedback is excellent. Acceleration is actually pretty good thanks to the combination of the engine’s torque which comes in as early as 1,700 RPM, together with the 7-speed DCT. Once you step on the accelerator a bit harder you can feel the pull from the torque which is surprising on a family MPV. If ever you do want to do some acceleration runs, the G50 won’t disappoint as it feels as if it just keeps on getting faster and faster. Steering is very light but is not devoid of any feel and is actually very precise.
Ride quality and NVH insulation are both almost excellent. The ride quality is pretty good but can feel a bit firm when on bumpy roads. It did feel better when I had 3 other people with me. The NVH insulation meanwhile was excellent as you could hardly hear any noise from outside the vehicle. Road noise does come in at higher speeds but is still manageable.
Out on the highway, the G50 remains a comfortable cruiser. It remains very stable at speed and there are times you won’t notice that you are already overspeeding.
Being a family MPV, fuel economy is probably very important. In the city, we were able to get around 12 km/l in light city traffic. With moderate to standstill traffic jams, it went down to around 8 km/l which is still good. Highway runs are a bit better at 14 km/l but it could still be improved but was already outside my reach. I’ve driven a Toyota Innova with the 2.8L turbodiesel and I achieved similar but lower numbers.
Honestly, there really isn’t much more to say about the Maxus G50. It’s almost perfectly excellent in every aspect minus a few minor details that could be improved. With pricing topping out at Php 1,288,000 for the Premium variant, it’s safe to say that the Maxus G50 is the best in the segment in terms of specs, features, and value for money. Given its affordability, Maxus Philippines definitely has a winner in their hands.
G50 1.5 DCT Premium
1.5L Inline-4 Turbo
Maximum Power and Torque
167 hp @ 5,500 RPM
250 Nm of Torque @ 1,700-4,300 RPM
Estimated Fuel Economy
12 km/l City
14 km/l Highway