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Maxus D60 is priced like a sub-compact SUV, but comes with specs and features you’d expect in a more expensive compact SUV

This year is a product of a major shift, countless compromises and adjustments to be mild about it, but we can’t deny that there are a few good things that we’ve been able to carry over from the last one. 
It’s been rough for the automotive industry as it’s been with nearly all the other industries, but suffice to say it’s never been a better time to buy a brand new car due to all the measures that the car brands have conceptualized, devised, implemented and offered to get you to sign on the dotted line.
If you’re in the market for one, then you’re faced with choosing from a dizzyingly wide spread of new cars that are packed to the brim with features and amenities that would normally come at a premium, but now come as standard equipment even on their basic to mid-tier variants. This situation makes the consumer the clear winner. 
Great value over cost is the main strategy for most of the many vehicles launched in the past few months, and by now the average consumer’s expectations and “minimum requirement” has been calibrated in response to it.  
So with basically the same amount of money from just over a year back, one can now enjoy panoramic moon roofs, extensive digital connectivity, variable interior ambient lighting and of course a whole host of active safety and performance features as standard on most average new car choices out there. So you can say that the customer is now a bit spoiled, and with all the setbacks that infamous past year has put us all through, I can’t say that the customer doesn’t deserve it. But what of the customers who want more value from a car with no-compromise features, less frills, but comes with a dialed-down sticker price? 
This seems to be the niche that Maxus’ freshly launched nameplate is latched onto.
Enter the Maxus D60, equipped with the essentials that are set to today’s standards. That means, it comes with essential specs, features and amenities that by no means equate to a bare minimum. Far from it, actually- but strategically curated to be able to offer it on a more compelling price point. I see what they did there. 
The Maxus D60 comes in only two variants, the Pro and the Elite. As I’ve mentioned in my recent pre-launch video review of the Pro variant, the differences between its standard and higher variant aren’t many, but they’re quite significant. The most glaring would have to be the seating configuration: the Pro is a 5-seater, while the Elite is a 7-seater. The premium features of the D60 Elite over the Pro are the leather seats, LED headlamps over the Pro’s Halogens, 18-inch alloy rims over the 17’s, Keyless Entry and Push-Start, folding side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors over the Pro’s rear-only sensors, and a more eye-catching Cobweb-design grille. So, all these additional features of the Elite, you get for a difference of only P110,000.00 over the Pro variant… impressive, considering you can seat 2 more passengers in comfort as well.
Thankfully, both variants of the Maxus D60 share the most important features. An ample and fuel-efficient 1.5-liter inline-4 Turbocharged Gasoline engine (127hp, 250Nm) powers both D60’s, and it’s mated to a 7-speed Dual Clutch Automatic Transmission. In terms of safety, both the Pro and Elite variants are equipped with driver and passenger front and side airbags, Electronic Stabilization Program, Electronic Brake-Assist and Hill-Hold Control, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System and Cruise Control. For comfort and convenience, an Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Hold will come in handy, as with rear air conditioner vents. Its infotainment system comes with an 8-inch touch screen, and a 6-speaker audio setup. The absence of Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity is a minus for me, but connectivity via USB and Bluetooth is present. One more thing that both variants of the Maxus D60 will give you as standard, is a pleasurable driving experience. 
Driving around Metro Manila in the Maxus D60 Pro is a cinch due to its dimensions that fall somewhere between a compact and a medium-sized SUV (though Maxus categorizes it as a compact), and its smooth-shifting dual-clutch transmission. So unless you intentionally stomp on the gas to downshift, shifting is seamless and near-indiscernible. Its power is enough even for those who tend to drive more on the brisk side (I raise my hand), though assertive acceleration is not its strongest suit. Punching the accelerator for swift overtaking maneuvers would also give you a little more engine noise than you’re accustomed to, but not to the point that it’s jarring. The D60’s ride comfort is commendable, as the suspension dampens typical road imperfections quite well. Handling also feels reassuringly planted, as there is no excessive body roll, and its dynamics are quite tight and responsive- it’s the finer handling qualities of a car that you tend to notice when you’ve been driving for over three decades.  Overall, the Maxus D60 feels substantial, plus its aesthetics is crafted in good taste- meaning it’s not overly conspicuous, and its look will not be on the tacky list for the next few years.
So what is the clincher here? As the head honchos of Maxus mentioned, the D60 is priced like a sub-compact SUV, but comes with specs and features you’d expect in a more expensive compact SUV. The Maxus D60 Pro is priced at P1.148 million, with its D60 Elite variant at P1.258 million (even with the widely lamented Safeguard Duty slapped-in). And with original spare parts well-stocked-up to complement its 5-year Warranty and 5-year 24/7 free roadside assistance program, you’ll see where the value adds up. Oh wait, add to that a cost of maintenance that’s approximately 22% lower than the other brands on a 5-year span- now that’s sensible positioning that’s not coupled with compromise. In this time we’re in where “offer everything” seems to be the underlying trend in the auto industry, it’s good to know Maxus is well into the essentials. 

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