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When a car owner gives his ride a name, that’s when you know the bond between human and machine has been forged.

For Singapore-based software developer Ferdinand Catacutan, christening his brand-new Maxus G50 Premium the name “Max” was a no-brainer, and he introduced his multipurpose vehicle to this writer during an online exchange like it was already a beloved member of the family.

Ferdinand bought his Roland Purple Maxus G50 Premium two months ago, and has since also been an active member in a budding car community called Maxus G50 Club Philippines.

To be clear, the G50 wasn’t in any way Ferdinand’s first MPV of choice. He was, in fact, contemplating heavily on buying the Suzuki XL7, which he surmised was “more affordable compared to other MPVs such as the Mitsubishi Xpander Cross and the Toyota Innova”. Being based in Singapore, Ferdinand couldn’t book a test drive in the Philippines, so he made do with watching video reviews on YouTube. The Geely Coolray also caught his attention, but it didn’t fit his needs.

But one particular YouTube find did.

“I needed a 7-seater for my family. Then I watched Maxus G50 reviews. Even if I didn’t understand anything the Chinese presenters discussed, I still learned from the videos themselves that the MPV is loaded with features. And I love its design. I compared it to the other MPVs. It stood out from all the rest, technology and safety-feature wise,” he recalled.

It was then that Ferdinand had an epiphany. “I realized that the established brands had been scrimping on its consumers. When I watched the review of a leading Japanese-brand MPV, I was disheartened because it was all cheap plastic inside. The aircon knobs looked like the knobs on an old black-and-white TV set.”

Waiting for the man of the house to take the wheel. Ferdinand’s sister Jeremy with father Jerry, mother Nida and niece Yani. Note the wide sunroof.
Itching to go home and drive. Ferdinand in Singapore, with wife Maricar, kids Marrick and Franco.

Spacious and responsive

For Ferdinand, the G50 was the polar opposite of all that. He emphasized his point by enumerating everything he has liked about it.

“First of all, it is so spacious inside. It has bigger space compared to other MPVs. My family members are comfortable. Second, it has a lot of features not found in its class, such as a sunroof, 360-degree camera, leather seats, power seat adjustment on the driver and front passenger seats, power tailgate, electronic parking brake and auto-hold, tire pressure monitoring system, and a 12.3-inch infotainment display. I also love the combination of digital and analog in the gauge display, keyless entry, engine immobilizer and cruise control.”

Performance wise, Ferdinand said his family in the Philippines were “very satisfied”.

“It has great torque, and the engine is responsive. My sister Jeremy said that during my family’s first drive, their heads would literally get stuck to the headrests every time they accelerated to overtake another vehicle.”

Ferdinand once posted on the Maxus G50 Club Philippines page that his G50 had no issues during uphill runs, even if it was fully loaded with eight passengers, and would still yield fuel mileages of 12 to 15 km/liter on the highways.

Unknown, yet Ayala-backed

The only gray spot in Ferdinand’s glowing assessment of the G50 had to do with Maxus being a newbie in local automotive circles.

“At first I had second thoughts about buying the G50 only because the brand is unknown in the Philippines. No one knew of its reliability as well as the aftersales service. I took a gamble.

“But I did my research. This brand is backed by an Ayala company, and it has been distributing other car brands in the Philippines like Volkswagen, Kia, Honda, and Isuzu. So far, I haven’t read any negative feedback from its customers.”

The only downside, so far, is that Ferdinand hasn’t seen his G50 in the flesh yet, as he is still in Singapore. He maintains that he made the right choice in buying the G50 based on his online research.

At the very least, Maxus’ entry into the local automotive scene should give the more established competition a run for their money. “I believe we should also support companies that innovate and provide game changers. It keeps all automotive players on their toes. In the end, the consumers are the winners,” Ferdinand explained.

Still room to improve

Ferdinand stresses, however, that the G50 isn’t perfect.

For one, he wishes Maxus would update the G50’s infotainment system.

“I hope they install a screen mirroring feature of the phone so Waze or other navigation systems can be displayed. Better yet, make android the OS (operating system) of the infotainment so we can install applications and display maps and GPS. I hope they can improve the cameras as well. I find the resolution low and can’t be used as a dash cam.”

The Maxus G50 is the newest 8-seater compact MPV introduced in the Philippines in August by Maxus Philippines. It comes in three variants: The 1.5 Turbo DCT Pro, the 1.5 Turbo DCT Elite, and the 1.5 Turbo DCT Premium. According to Maxus Philippines, an Ayala company, the brand is infused with Maxus’ 124 years of British-bred heritage, global expertise and experience in LCVs. AC Automotive—the automobile business division of Ayala Corporation—represents the Maxus brand based in China.

MAIN photo: The Roland Purple Maxus G50 Premium is a cool sight for eyes sore from seeing all the urban grays.

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