It’s not uncommon for some cars to have certain colors associated with them. For example, nothing can really beat a Ferrari in red or a Honda Civic SiR painted orange. But one thing that is common with both these vehicles is that they are cars geared toward the enthusiast. So just imagine the sort of attention you’re going to get if you’re in a people-carrier that’s covered in purple.
In the case of the slab-sided Maxus G50, that’s a lot of purple. But it isn’t obnoxious or anything. In fact, I really, really wanted the purple test unit to be assigned to me because I had absolutely fallen in love with the color during the vehicle’s launch a few months prior. And when I first saw the G50 under the sun, the Roland Purple paint job became even more pleasing to the eye. It’s actually quite a subtle shade of ube ice cream.
And then, there’s the attention. The G50 isn’t a common sight, and Maxus is a relatively unknown brand. Everywhere I went, onlookers gave me curious stares. I always hoped that the spotlight wasn’t directed to the bald, fat journalist behind the wheel that was grinning from ear to ear, because as far as MPVs go, the G50 looks really good. I like the fact that there wasn’t too much shiny bling on the car save for the massive radiator grille. And I really dig the 17-inch wheels that were painted gray—not something you see often on these transporters.
Step inside and the cabin is a totally far cry from the rather utilitarian G10. The cockpit is dominated by the large touchscreen display, so the switchgear doesn’t clutter the dashboard. The mostly black interior is contrasted by matte-silver plastic. At first, I thought the instrument cluster was a hot mess with its large screen and weirdly shaped dials, but I got used to it eventually. What I didn’t like were the red accents that seemed to “disturb” the black leather seats.
Ride comfort in the G50 is more than satisfactory. The car-like driving position allowed me to sit low. Space in both second- and third-row seats are very much acceptable, the latter being roomy enough for my tall and stout frame to sit comfortably. Although I wasn’t able to test the car at full passenger capacity because of social distancing, I felt that suspension damping was as comfortable heavily loaded as it was unladen, which is a good thing if you have to drive a G50 alone on a daily basis.
For the P1,288,000 starting price, the G50 in its Premium variant is pleasantly loaded with tech. Novice drivers will appreciate the panoramic camera, and I will forgive the electronic parking brake that I usually despise since this is an MPV after all. The large sunroof further brightens up the already airy cabin, and I especially like the fact that the tailgate is powered—something that competitors do not offer. Shame that there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to make good use of the 12.3-inch screen.
The choice to equip the G50 with a 1.5-liter gasoline engine is a particularly interesting one. The output of 167hp is nothing to scoff at, and the 250Nm of twist does come in quite early in the rev range. However, while it does have a turbo, there’s really nothing like the lazy pull of a diesel mill like the Toyota Innova’s. But the one sore part of this thing is the dual-clutch transmission. I found it quite lethargic and confused, with the shift points varying wildly across the tachometer. In addition, there was that jerky sensation most DCTs experience in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and I certainly believe that a regular automatic gearbox would’ve sufficed.
Transmission woes aside, I’d like to say that the Maxus G50 should be up on your list of MPVs. It’s well-equipped, nice to drive, very spacious, and affordable for what it is. But on a more personal note, I enjoyed the fact that the car’s weird hue had the unintended effect of getting people to crane their necks as I drove by. And for that strange and irrational reason alone, I love the G50.
MAXUS G50 PREMIUM
|Engine||1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo gasoline|
|Power||168hp @ 5,500rpm|
|Torque||250Nm @ 1,700-4,300rpm|
|Dimensions||4,825mm x 1,825mm x 1,778mm|
|Upside||Generously equipped for the purchase price. And the purple paint job.|
|Downside||Dual-clutch gearbox could use some refinement.|