It’s official: Maxus is launching on the French market. What, you don’t know? This is good, since we are currently witnessing the launch of the brand and its range of electric utility vehicles. The opportunity to discover your ambitions, but also to get behind the wheel of the Maxus eDeliver9, eDeliver3, and the T90 EV pick-up.
“The new utility trend”. Head to the immense Rungis International Market. It is in this area the size of Monaco that Maxus welcomes us for its launch presentation. Launched in 2011 in Shanghai, Maxus Motors is a brand of the Chinese giant SAIC Motor. A group that you may have heard of without necessarily paying attention to it, since it is the parent company… of MG! Specializing in utility vehicles as well as vehicles dedicated to the transport of people, Maxus therefore arrives with a good range of electric utilities. And what better way to blend into the utilitarian landscape than the largest fresh market in the world?
Big ambitions and “ready to go”
6th world manufacturer, SAIC claims no less than 5.6 million vehicles sold in 2022. If it arrives a little “late” on the electric utility vehicle (UV) market in France, it is because it was expecting develop a complete strategy. Namely a “360” vision going from production to delivery, including stocks and after-sales service. The brand is however present through 400 resellers around the world, in 73 countries including 10 in Europe. On this national launch day, Maxus intends to mark its presence in the minds of customers and dealers. To do this, its biggest asset lies in its stock. At the time of writing, there are exactly 802 vehicles in stock between Le Havre and Le Meux. The “ready to go” strategy is in motion, allowing almost immediate delivery after placing an order.
A major argument when we know that some SUVs can take several months to be delivered. Very enthusiastic, the general director Antoine Maria remains modest. “We will never necessarily be best in class, nor in first position, but we will always be on the podium. Our strength is a competitive price, the best autonomy/price ratio.” And to do this, Maxus is counting on an already very interesting range. On the program, three models that we discover on site: the Maxus eDeliver9, the eDeliver3, and the T90 EV. That is, two utility vehicles and a pick-up, 100% electric and particularly well equipped as standard. The objectives after 15 site openings in 2023? 50 dealerships at the end of 2024, and 100 in 2025. Maxus is already targeting 2,000 vehicles sold next year. And while waiting for complete tests of each model, we were able to take a tour of Rungis with all three.
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Maxus eDeliver9: the fully equipped standard bearer
We start with the Maxus eDeliver9. A model that perfectly combines the manufacturer’s promises: safety, quality, and accessibility. Versatile, the van is available in 2 lengths and 2 heights. Or a medium wheelbase L2H2, a large wheelbase L3H2, and a high roof in L3H3. The useful volume thus reaches 9.7, 11, or 12.33 m³, and allows up to 1,500 kg of towing. The loading space benefits from a beautiful presentation, with non-slip flooring and mid-height wall cladding as standard. Side access is via a large sliding door. The rear doors open from 180 to 270° depending on configuration. The only option in the Maxus catalog? A second sliding door. Versatile, the eDeliver9 still boasts a modern design that is a little more attractive than a “classic” utility vehicle. LED lighting, chrome grille, charging port behind the logo: aesthetically, it works quite well.
But it is inside that we appreciate the care taken throughout. Enhancing dashboard, 10-inch Android Auto and CarPlay touch screen, heated seats… And very comfortable, at least for the few kilometers traveled. The Maxus eDeliver9 also stands out for its standard equipment, with full ADAS. Adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping, blind spot detection, everything is there. On board, the first turns of the wheel are promising, highlighting the smoothness and silence of operation. Thanks to the 150 kW / 204 hp and 310 Nm. Accustomed to diesel trucks, yours truly appreciates the ease of starting and the lightness of the steering. With 3 batteries available (52, 72, 88 kWh), autonomy is given up to 340 km in the mixed cycle and 415 in the urban cycle. Fast charging? 20-80% in half an hour. All at a competitive price from €53,670 excluding tax.
Maxus eDeliver3: the compact and urban utility vehicle
Oh, and let’s not forget the existence of a cabin chassis, with a 65 kWh battery. Configuration also available on the Maxus eDeliver3, the compact van in the range, ideal for urban and peri-urban deliveries. Two formats L1H1 and L2H1 are available, for 4.8 and 6.3 m³ of useful volume. The loading length changes from 2.18 to 2.77 m long. More concretely, the space is perfectly suited to standard size Euro pallets. Finally, the small SUV excels in its category, with up to 935 kg of payload. Here too, non-slip flooring and protective panels are on the program. The rear doors of different widths open up to 180°, and are lined with a sliding side door. Simpler and more accessible than its big brother, the eDeliver3 remains no less neat. Only the half-LED, half-halogen front lights break the contemporary look of the compact utility vehicle.
Same observation of simplification on board this eDeliver3. No contactless key like the eDeliver9, and an overall more “plastic” environment. The compact utility has nothing to be ashamed of, however, with screen, reversing camera, cruise control and Eco/Normal modes. At the wheel, it’s more abrupt and nervous, but agile. Like a good little Peugeot Expert, to name just one. The 118 kW / 160 hp and 225 Nm engine is silent and very responsive. Dynamic enough to make us forget about a load likely to move in all directions at the rear. A little gentleness at the wheel will therefore be required. Its 50 kWh battery would allow up to 315 km of autonomy, and we will benefit from energy recovery adjustable on 3 levels. His price ? From €36,100 excluding tax excluding bonus or €299/month in LOA with €6,000 deposit. It will hurt.
Maxus T90 EV: the first 100% electric pick-up
We therefore end with a first privileged handling of the one which combines business with pleasure: the Maxus T90-EV. Less utilitarian in its form, the first 100% electric pick-up in Europe still has some advantages up its sleeve. At the rear, there is actually enough space to transport equipment up to 1.48 m long / 1.51 m wide. All up to 925 kg payload. Otherwise “automobile”, the pick-up evokes the visual codes of the Toyota Hilux. Large grille, sharp LED look, dump arch, double cabin. We will still give it a more attractive rear end, with its lighting signature perfectly up to date. Note also the standard running boards, thus reinforcing the adventurer aspect of the vehicle. The electric pick-up in any case inspires a certain robustness, both for professionals and for individuals.
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On board, the Maxus T90 EV takes a bit of eDeliver9 (large screen, handset) and eDeliver3 (box control, steering wheel, key). For the rest, it has all the makings of a beautiful vehicle for individuals. Foamed dashboard, inserts and stitching, imitation leather seats. Don’t be afraid to get it dirty with your work outfit. The T90 EV surprises us with its habitability, both front and rear. At the wheel, we appreciate the 130 kW / 177 hp and 310 Nm transmitted to the rear wheels. Quiet in Eco, very dynamic in Power, the pick-up seems to remain easy in all circumstances. The 89 kWh battery promises up to 330 km of combined range, and 471 km in the urban cycle. Allow 45 minutes for 20-80% fast charging. All we have to do is wait for our complete tests of the entire range, very soon. But in the meantime, your first impressions of Maxus?
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