In November 2020, our good friends at Maxus Philippines scheduled a weeklong test drive of their Maxus G10 passenger van during the week that coincided with my wife’s 50th birthday. The 4-row 9-passenger van allowed me to drive several family members, along with some balloons, party décor, cakes and flowers, to our favorite steakhouse for a heavy lunch and a simple celebration, considering that the COVID-19 pandemic was still at its peak at the time.
After the party, my passengers and I all filed back into the G10, along with several gifts that my wife received, including a large painting that was given by her artist-friend. Luckily, the van’s 3.2-meter wheelbase provided plenty of space between the front and rear axles, and I jokingly paraphrased a line from the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch that “nobody got left behind… or forgotten.” It was one of those days when I thankful for family, friends and for a fun job that allowed me to test drive different vehicles several times a month.
Driving Miss Daisy, Err… My Mama
Among my passengers then was my aging mother Norma Dizon, who, because of her titanium replacement hip and osteoporosis, scoliosis, and other bone problems, had some difficulty climbing up to into the right side second row seat of the van, especially with its tall floor height and 150-millimeter ground clearance. In 2021, she was hospitalized for an infection on her right ankle, which, coupled with her bone problems, low pain threshold, and lack of exercise, made it even more difficult for her to walk around or get into vehicles.
After spending more than a year cooped-up inside her house due to the scare of the Delta and Omicron variants, my 83-year-old mom was longing to travel, or at the very least, be driven to church, especially with the easing of the government health and safety restrictions. Because of her walking difficulty, she could only ride in my wife’s car – a 4-door 5-passenger compact sedan – where we have to compromise with the limited space, considering that my mom’s wheelchair (or her walker), her cane, and her helper were coming along for the ride.
Assisting People with Disabilities
I was fortunate enough to have been scheduled for a weeklong drive of the 2022 Maxus G10 Assist on the weekend that my mom wanted me to drive her to Canlubang, Laguna so she can inspect her rental homes and talk to her tenants, whom she hasn’t seen or visited in almost three years. Like the G10 that I drove in 2020, the G10 Assist has several captain’s chairs with armrests and a folding rear bench seat that could accommodate me, my wife, our two grown-up kids, my mom, her helper, and my mom’s walker with plenty of room to spare.
What differentiates the G10 Assist from the standard version is the special seat that replaces the right side captain’s chair in the second row. This motorized special seat articulates to assist persons with disabilities (PWD) into the van with much more ease. Using a handheld controller, the special seat first moves forward to align itself with the sliding door opening, rotates 90º to the right to face the opening, and then inches outward and lowers itself to a height that the PWD passenger can be seated easily and properly. A folding footrest, armrests and seatbelt ensures the occupant’s comfort and safety as the seat articulates up and rotates back to its original position in the second row.
Adding Convenience Without Compromise
Like the standard G10, the G10 Assist is accommodating and spacious. Passengers sitting in the 3rd and 4th rows can still climb in by passing behind the special seat when it’s back in position. And when the seat is being articulated to assist a PWD passenger into the van, other passengers can get in through the sliding door on the left side. The motorized special seat does not compromise any space, comfort or convenience that Maxus engineers designed into the G10.
The tall floor height and resulting high seat position, combined with the wide front windshield, large side windows and rear backlight, provided me and my passengers a great view of the roads and surroundings as we drove around the metropolis and on the tollways. With the front and rear air-conditioning system blowing cold air around the interior and my mom’s favorite classic tunes emanating from the USB connected to the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, we had a brisk and enjoyable drive to Laguna. My mom loved being on the move again, especially with her grandchildren.
Image is Everything
When the people around her Canlubang rental houses and passersby saw my mom alighting out of our vehicle using the motorized special chair, she looked like a rich, elderly matron that her tenants greeted her as Doña Norma. I cannot blame them for thinking that we came from wealth since our white G10 Assist looked rich and elegant with its large chrome grill, large headlamps, chrome-accented exterior, 16-inch alloy wheels, huge taillights, chrome-trimmed tailgate handle, high-mounted third brake light, roof-mounted rear spoiler, and sporty front and rear bumpers.
Children milling around the G10 Assist mistook the Maxus logo, which is a combination of three triangles that represent the brand pillars of technology, confidence and progress, as the symbol of the Marvel Avengers. But there is no mistake in thinking that this Maxus van is built for comfort and safety, especially with front McPherson struts and five-link rear axle suspension, meaty 215/70R16C tires, four-wheel disc brakes, and hydraulic power steering as standard equipment.
Great Timing, As Always
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine and limited OPEC oil production causing gas prices to spiral, fuel mileage is of paramount importance nowadays. I was elated to learn that the G10 Assist’s 148-horsepower turbocharged 1.9-liter common rail direct injection (CRDI) inline 4-cylinder diesel engine, not only churns out 350 Newton-meters of torque but is also a fuel miser. Mated to a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic transmission, we were able to squeeze around 7.8 kilometers per liter in city traffic and 15.5 km/L on the highways. That’s outstanding for a rear-wheel drive van that can transport 9 people in luxurious comfort.
At P2,189,800, the 2022 Maxus G10 Assist is not only a stylish van with a spacious and cool interior, but a comfortable and safe vehicle that is also fuel-efficient. Add the motorized special seat and the space to transport PWD equipment plus a slew of convenience features, and it represents a fantastic value-for-money proposition considering the joy it brings when it offers the ease of mobility to persons who have difficulty being mobile. It was really one of those days when I thank God for family, friends and for a fun job that allows me to drive vehicles such as this.
Classification: Front engine, rear wheel drive 5-door passenger van
Engine type: Liquid-cooled inline-4 turbocharged diesel common rail direct injection (CRDI)
Displacement: 1850 cc
Maximum power: 148hp (150 PS) @ 4000 rpm
Maximum torque: 350 Nm @ 1800-2600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Length: 5168 mm
Width: 1980 mm
Height: 1928 mm
Wheelbase: 3198 mm
Curb weight: 1660 kg (est)
Ground clearance: 150 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 75 liters
(Editor’s Note: JSK Custom Paint and Auto Works proprietor Johnson Tan tried the motorized special seat of the Maxus G10 Assist, which he is considering to purchase for his 89-year-old mother, who also has great difficulty walking.)