A few years back, China bought over an ailing van maker from the United Kingdom, and then shipped the entire operation back to Shanghai in 2,700 containers.
LDV Group Ltd was taken over by Chinese automotive giant SAIC Motor Corporation Ltd. Fast forward eight years, and the company has rebranded LDV into Maxus.
In 2011, Maxus started to manufacture their V80 vans in Wuxi, China. Since then, it has been slowly edging into the passenger vehicles market, having introduced the G10, their first multi-purpose vehicle (MPV).
The G10 made its entrance into the Malaysian market in 2016 via local distributor Weststar Maxus Malaysia
At 5,168mm long, 1,980mm wide and 1,928mm tall, and with a 3,210 mm-long wheelbase, it is a large vehicle. Classified as a 10-seater, it sits near the top end of the MPV segment in terms of size.
Hyundai’s Starex, (which can accommodate a dozen passengers) is one of the few MPVs that can boast more seating capacity.
Powering this capacious vehicle is a turborcharged 2.0 litre gasoline direct injection engine churning out 225hp at 5500rpm and 345Nm at 4500rpm.
Power is channeled via a six-speed ZF automatic gearbox with manual mode.
From the outside, the G10 is a handsome vehicle. Styling is strongly European, with very little indication of its Chinese heritage. Despite its gargantuan size, its balanced proportion does not make it look ungainly.
The G10 is equipped with High-intensity discharge Xenon headlamps, LED tail lamps, front/rear fog lamps and 16-inch alloy wheels or optional 18 inch ones.
The interior trim is leather, with either a beige or black interior, and rear air conditioning with individual vents and electric sunroof. The G10 has keyless entry with push-start, a reverse camera and cruise control.
It comes standard with a complete list of driving aids as well, including anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), ESP and EBA. The G10 also comes with a tire pressure monitoring system.
Despite its size, the G10 is no slouch. First off, the forced induction engine packs a surprising punch. Claimed time to 100kph is less than 10 seconds. We didn’t time the century dash, but it certainly felt quick.
In urban settings, and on trunk routes, the G10 feels safe and planted through the corners. It is easy to guide it through the curves. The steering is precise, provides good feedback and is just rightly weighted. There isn’t too much body roll. In fact, the driving experience almost verges on feeling “sporty”.
We were taken by surprise by the G10’s road manners. There are some modern sedans that don’t drive this well.
It has a tight turning circle of just 11.8m, which is better than the sedan that I drive on a daily basis.
With good all round vision and rear view mirrors, for the most time, it is easy to forget how big the G10 really is. The only reminder is that you are seated way higher than the average sedan driver. You also have to be extra careful in parking lots as this a wide vehicle with a very long-wheel base.
We drove the G10 from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Selangor via the Latar Highway, for a quick run to buy fresh seafood at Pasar Penambang.
The MPV has more than enough grunt to quickly pull its more than 2-tonne weight to highway speeds, even when loaded with passengers.
It handles expressway speeds well, the interplay between the turbocharged mill and the ZF gearbox allowing for easy overtaking and relaxed, long legged cruising.
Bumps and undulations are handled reasonably well, although the suspension crashes over hard bumps and doesn’t have that oil slick smoothness of more premium MPVs.
With its abundance of interior space, the G10 is extremely comfortable to travel in. The leather seats are well designed and comfortable. There is more than enough shoulder, knee and legroom for passengers in all rows in the MPV.
Priced starting from RM139,888, the G10 has very few competitors when it comes to delivering bang for buck.
It is a well-packaged offering from Weststar-Maxus that fills up a niche that is glaringly obvious in the Malaysian market - that of a large MPV with an affordable price.
The G10 feels robust, is well-designed, well built and is nice to drive. It is let down by an abundance of hard plastics in the interior, and an instrument cluster that looks like it is from the 1990s. However, despite this, the G10 is a pleasing vehicle to be behind the wheel of and to look at as well.