Maxus G50 Elite: A minivan disguised as an MPV

Maxus G50 Elite: A minivan disguised as an MPV

If you’re thinking about getting a Maxus G50 — whether it’s the Pro, Elite, or Premium — one look at it and you’ll know that this isn’t your ordinary MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), which is what it’s being marketed as locally.

It looks tall with what appears to be a high roof and it looks big, too. But upon careful inspection of its specs, its ceiling isn’t any higher than other MPVs and its not even wider as well. What it does have is extra millimeters in length, which gives it a larger real estate through the wheelbase.

The telltale sign is the odd body shape that isn’t your prototypical MPV. Even sans the sliding doors, its exterior, especially the rear door, is more minivan than anything else. Chinese automaker Maxus even classifies it as such.

Maxus G50

Its front is very robust and expressive, which makes it appear like it has an engine larger than the turbocharged 1.5L gasoline four-cylinder it has under the hood.

The large grille is bright and shiny thanks to all the chrome elements, including ones on the halogen headlamps and the pieces that highlight the lower air intakes on each side of the highly curvaceous front bumper.

Ridges found on the front fender and running along the doors add more shape and quality to the design, while the blacked-out B, Cm and D pillars and the straight and simple daylight openings deliver probably the best “floating roof” effect of any MPV in the country.

Maxus G50

It sits on 17s and also comes with a rear spoiler, roof rails, plus one of the largest rear doors you’ll find in an MPV.

What you’ll appreciate, whatever trim you choose to buy, is the keyless entry system, which allows you to keep the key fob in your pocket and just press a button on the handle to unlock the doors. It also comes with a push-to-start system to engage the engine.

A G50 is easy to get into, despite being a vehicle with a good enough ground clearance. The seats have a lower hip point so it’s not much of a hike getting up and inside the cabin. Because of that, the headroom is pretty high that a six-footer wouldn’t look too small in the driver’s seat.

It has manually adjustable leather seats with visible white stitching. They are easy to get into a good driving position and despite being lower, it doesn’t compromise the view of the road for the driver, which means I didn’t have to lean forward to look at what’s directly ahead.

Maxus G50

The cockpit’s layout is very modern. Just like its body, it has plenty of curves and lines, several brushed aluminum accents to brighten up its look, plus the soft-touch surface and perforated leather on the dashboard are a huge bonus. There’s also perforated leather on the door panels and some faux carbon fiber trim as well.

Even as a middle trim in G50 lineup, it already comes with the top-of-the-line 12.3-inch touchscreen system that easily pairs with Bluetooth devices for hands-free calling and audio streaming. It could do with bigger fonts but it does come with a very friendly graphic user interface. The cabin comes with six speakers.

Maxus G50

If you want to charge devices, it comes with two USB ports (which unfortunately are all located in front). One is for fast charging and the other is for data transfer like streaming music and such.

The leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel feels a bit oversized or maybe it’s just the extra-large horn button. On either side are switches, the left is for the multi-information display (in the instrument panel) and the right is for the audio system.

It doesn’t have paddle shifters but does have a Sport mode if the gear lever is shifted to the right. Upshifts and downshift can be done based on the + and – guide.

Another top-end feature is the automatic air-conditioning system that allows you to simply set the temperature and it does the rest so you don’t have to keep adjusting the thermostat and fan speed as you drive. Plus, it’s more fuel efficient.

Maxus G50

The second-row seats (60:40 split folding) are not as bolstered but they do manually recline and slide for better comfort and easy ingress of third row occupants.

Third-row seats also come with a 60:40 fold-flat feature but one great thing about it is that it accommodates three, which means the G50 is actually an eight-seater. Whoever is picked to sit in the middle of third row though ought to be pretty slim.

With the rear seats down, it offers a voluminous cargo area that should be good for hauling items of a small family business or bags for a week-long vacation.

Under the hood is a four-cylinder 1.5L turbocharged gasoline engine with 169hp and 250Nm of torque. Those numbers don’t necessarily jump out of the page, but it does make close to 1.6 tons unit feel light on its feet.

It takes off smoothly but tends to stay a little longer on 1st gear when I went a little hard on the throttle, but all the other shifts were smooth throughout the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Even if the output numbers are meager in relation to size and weight, it felt more than enough even during powerful overtaking maneuvers. Granted I was alone in the vehicle, it felt like it still had plenty of grunt to give even if I loaded it up with a thousand more pounds of body weight, or cargo.

The roar of the engine past 2,000rpm can be heard in the cabin when I pushed it hard so some insulation should be in order for the next update for sure. Overall noise, vibration, and harshness though are pretty good considering this is a first-generation model, so it can only get better from here.

Its balance is good, very good in fact for an MPV. It takes corners on pretty well and stayed even-keeled while I rushed along an empty rotunda for several rounds.

What needs a little softening is the suspension. It felt a little stiff along humps and didn’t deal with rough patches on the road pretty well. It could be because I was alone in the vehicle that was designed to either carry load or at least more than one person or we circle back to the start of the paragraph and just say that a softer one could maybe do the trick especially for someone who’s buying this as a family vehicle.

One great thing I liked about it were the safety features. All trims came with the stuff like driver and front passenger airbags, an electronic parking brake with Auto-Hold function (great for those times when you’re stuck in traffic on a flyover), Electronic Stabilization Program, Emergency Brake Assist, a tire pressure monitoring system, and an immobilizer.

This Elite trim also came with front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree panoramic view camera. If I can nitpick though, the video coming from the sideview cameras have a portrait orientation but uses a wide lens. This makes the video stand upright and slim on a wide monitor which makes it difficult to discern sometimes when I quickly glanced at it. You’ll have to look at it twice to actually see the video’s content. Reverse camera view is not a problem as it has a landscape orientation and uses the entire width of the screen to display what the vehicle is backing up to.

Fuel consumption was an awesome 10.5 kilometers per liter on a Monday 12nn drive along EDSA. There was traffic, plenty of stop and go, but it wasn’t total gridlock like EDSA usually is during rush hours.

The color on this baby seems to be Deep Golden but I would definitely suggest you go for the Roland Purple, which is the color you see it come in on ads. It’s more alluring and very easy on the eyes, literally and figuratively.

All of the above comes with a price tag of P1.168 million, which doesn’t make it surprising why a lot of Filipinos are picking up a G50. It is a minivan or an MPV? It doesn’t really matter. What’s important is there’s an option for you out there for an 8-seater, with a great exterior design, a lot of interior space, modern amenities and tech, a practical safety features — cameras and auto-hold — that will come in handy in everyday driving scenarios.

Photos by Eric Tipan

 

 

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Seating 6
2
7
7
7
Power Steering Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Air Conditioner Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Rear A/C Vents Yes
No
Yes
-
Yes
Adjustable Seats Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Foldable Rear Seat Yes
No
60:40 Tumble
Yes
Yes
Headlamp Type Halogen
Halogen
LED
Halogen
Halogen
Anti-Lock Braking System Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Driver Airbag Yes
-
Yes
Yes
Yes
Parking Sensors Yes
No
No
-
No

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