WE went to Graceland. But Elvis left the building, he was not even there. In the same way that this article is not a test drive. It is a test ride.
It started quaintly, with a suggestion from my hubby that for that particular weekend, I take the Maxus G10 van for a drive with my friends. My high school friends and I had planned that weekend trip originally with the family SUV—8 of us to be sardine-packed in a Fortuner.
But since the hubby had a sudden business trip to out of town (which in our Southern world meant going to Manila) and didn’t like to bring a car because it was then the height of the Skyway-induced Biñan-to-Alabang traffic, he told me to take it, with a driver supplied, to a place known only as Graceland (yes, inspired by the Elvis estate) in Tayabas, Quezon.
After hearing of this new travel arrangement, my high school classmates were giggling on the group chat. It would be our last adventure before the lockdown. We didn’t know then that some virus that was imported from China would keep us at home, so the moment with the Maxus was more cherished.
Collectively we call ourselves “Diners” because “Lunchers” was grammatically awkward. We actually didn’t lunch or dined. We are just at that point in our lives where the kids are grown up or growing up, needing little or no adult supervision, that time for friends and getting together when able was our reconnection to ourselves. We spent many hours on end swapping stories, counseling others and laughing until it dried our throats.
Maxus Philippines lent the PWD-friendly G10 Assist.
The only difference it has with a normal G10 is a fancy seat with a robot arm that brings the lucky passenger on that seat up and down, in and out of the van with ease. Though everyone was amazed by the electro-mechanical contraption, no one dared to try it out.
A superstitious feeling got the best of them.
“I don’t want to practice sitting there when I am a senior. No, no, no” said Norie, the most boisterous of my friends exclaimed!
At first glance, the G10 is unique. It is handsome, in a soft kind of way. Let’s say it’s a Piolo amongst Dereks. It does not have that large, dominating body usually associated with vans. Quite sleek and reserved, not boxy with sharp corners, more a trapezoid than just a rectangle, the van looks polished and well crafted. Inside it is spacious enough and has my favorite kind of seats—captain’s chairs.
This kind of seat slides and reclines with sufficient legroom infront and around. The seat material is a soft kind of leather, but the additional PWD seat on the Assist had a different color and a different feel. It was firmer, and the seat material stretched, not as fluffy as the other 3 seats. (The configuration is four captain’s chairs and a bench for 3 in the back. Including front passengers that counts as nine people in all.)
My hubby explained to me that PWDs may have a different requirement when in a car. Softer seats may transfer stress to the spine or hips and thus a different density of foam is needed, which in turn affects the way it is upholstered. Interesting. Besides, all the fancy mechanicals of that special seat (my son called a jet fighter’s seat) requiring motors, levers and wires to run it is hidden under too.
As we were on our way Graceland, which is a sprawling resort-style country club in Quezon we get a whiff of how pliant and forgiving the ride of the G10 is. The closest comparison I can think of when it comes to the ride is the Starex Limousine. It is really that good.
I guess Graceland’s got all the amenities, but think it is a bit pricey for a place so far away from the metropolis, but since my classmate Maricon footed the bill, I didn’t complain. No one did. We just basked in the comfort of the G10 as we swapped stories, latest intrigues and controversies, tear jerkers and funny tales. We only finished 10 percent of our chats when we arrived in Tayabas, a mere 38 kilometers from where we came from in Laguna.
The ride was supple and smooth with the engine quieter than most diesels I know. Since one of our cars is a diesel, I know that this one is really quiet, inside there was no trace of the vibrations that usually come from a diesel engine.
With the rear bench up the G10 could fit 9 people comfortably, but there comes the issue of space for our knapsacks and bags. We just lined them up nicely in the middle row. This is not to say it is not spacious, it seems to be bit bigger than your average medium sized van, and it does not look Japanese of Korean. The design elements remind me more of the European cars I have tried riding in.
Another point—grab handles. Norie said that it would be nice if there were more grab handles since the door opened on both sides—which to them was already a big plus! I counted more than 6 handles inside already
When I say the ride was smooth, I mean it did not have the usual jerkiness of a diesel engine and an automatic transmission. Since I married a man whose mistresses are things on wheels, I have had my fair share riding in test vehicles and know things like shift shock or slow shifting—none of these traits were exhibited by the G10.
This particular van’s price tag is P2,079,800—because that super-duper PWD chair is the price of a brand-new small car—P399,800! The regular G10 is P1.68 million. But for those who can afford the Programmable Swivel lifting seat (which can, by the way, be activated via mobile app or the wired control unit) the accessory is welcome add on.
Our verdict for the Maxus G10? The test ride was not at all a technical one. We are reporting based on our intuition and feel—unsubstantiated and possibly irrational, but a powerful determinant what is good or bad.
What we want—some place for the bags and luggage, small cubbyholes and maybe bag hangers or larger seat pockets perhaps? As for the luggage, I can only say that I saw the Maxus V10 with overhead luggage rack and loved it. It won’t work on the G10, the roof being shorter than that of the V10.
What we like—everything. The quiet smooth ride, the fact that we can pack ourselves in and have a driver in tow (no driving duties for Maricon this time). The comfortable captain’s chairs were great for good conversation—and good sleeping too. (The drive back was longer due to traffic). The aircon went all the way to the back, and had separate settings from the front and the rear. The double doors slid like they were powered.
What we didn’t like—the fact that the day was only 24 hours long, and the Maxus was to be with us for only 3 days. The G10 is the perfect traveler for the likes of us—almost empty nesters with years of life to catch up to. — with Raymond B. Tribdino