Maxus to Make Its Mark in Namibia

While the Maxus brand may be fairly new to Namibia, its roots can be traced back to the Leyland Steam Van which debuted in 1898.

The company was part of the British LeylandAustin Rover Group empire and was the commercial vehicle used by the UK’s Royal Banks and Royal Mails for many years.

It later became known as the L Group before being taken over by SAIC, China’s largest automaker, in 2009.

What makes this move significant is that SAIC’s huge economy of scale allowed the brand to go global, while keeping it affordable and retaining its British heritage of superior craftsmanship.

Locally Maxus is distributed by Africa Commercial Vehicles, which forms part of the Combined Motor Holdings (CMH) group.

The flagship of the Maxus range is the V80 2.5TD Deluxe, a nine-seater people-carrier that comes standard with air conditioner, alloy wheels, audio system, remote central locking, cruise control, LED daytime lights, electric mirrors and front windows, leather upholstery, park-distance control and power steering.

It also sports the latest safety equipment including ABS brakes, two airbags and a tyre-pressure monitor.

The Maxus V80 is also available as a 16-seater taxi, a panelvan and a dropside commercial vehicle.

Top Revs had the chance to get behind the wheel of the 2.5TD 16-seater. We took it to the hills surrounding the capital to see whether this Sino-Brit could make it in Africa.

The first thing one notices is its size. At about 5700 mm, it has got the size to move what or whomever you can imagine, and at 2 383mm tall, there’s plenty of head room too.

Coming in at 3500kg means one can drive it fully loaded with just a Code 8 licence. We set off along the Western Bypass and I’m surprised at how willing the V80’s 2.5 TD is. The Maxus engineers seemed to have coaxed a fair 136 hp out of it and this shows (although at the time of the test the vehicle was unladen).

We then headed into the hills near Brakwater. Now usually this would not be the kind of place where you’d see a Maxus, but due to it’s spec level, competitive pricing and overall attractive package, one can be assured that the taxi industry, fleet owners and courier agencies will welcome this new addition with open arms. Passing what has become the ultimate test for vehicles in this segment.

What makes it all the more important is that we gained a better understanding of how it handled on the twisty gravel roads and changing surfaces that make travelling in Africa such an experience.

Travelling through the koppies, the V80 felt composed with no hairy moments involving the bulk. Not too much rattle from the body as we skipped over the bumpy road surface either, this showed that even with an increase in the scale of production, Maxus haven’t loss that attention to detail and the moral conviction to provide a quality product.

Then came the hills. Now we seemed to have stumbled into some serious 4×4 territory, because suddenly, gentle rolling hills turned into seriously steep inclines. My editor aised me that 45 degrees would be a fair estimation, but in my mind that hill stretched into eternity and although I’m known to exaggerate for effect, I’m pretty sure we clocked 50 to 60 degrees on that one. Then again, effect.

The V80 however did not flinch and we made it up and over without much bother by going down through its smooth five forward gears. There isn’t a huge amount of power available, but with some forethought and a little clutch control, you should manage most obstacles.

Having dusted the offroad section we headed into town for the all important ‘head turner’ test, which the Maxus passed with flying colors as everywhere we went, people were curious to inspect this newcomer and compare it to their own mini buses.

“This is a lot more seat space than my Quantum in the back, are you sure about the price?” said a taxi operator at the Monte Christo taxi rank.

Judging from all the interest the Maxus received and the tidy manner in which it handled all we put it through, Top Revs can safely say that at its price point the Maxus enters the local market as a serious contender, even in this highly contested segment.

The Maxus V80 2.5 Turbo diesel comes with a 3 Year 100 000 kilometre warranty as well as service plan, with 15 000kms service intervals. Claimed consumption figures around 7.5 litres per 100 kms. ABS, BAS, EBD, aircon and mp3 radio come as standard.

Pricing starts from N$335 000 including VAT.

For more information or to book a test drive, contact Africa Commercial Vehicles at 061 266 126 or visit them at 19 Eider Street, Lafrenz Industrial Township, Windhoek.

Source : The Namibian