• Expected low price, standard kit, range
  • No ESC, Design already a few years old

OUR RATING
6 / 10



Maxus V80 Review
Maxus V80 Review
Maxus V80 Review

The Chinese-made Maxus V80 commercial MPV is headed to Australia in the third quarter of this year with big ambitions. CarAdvice paid a visit to the local factory for a quick test drive.

The Chinese acquired Maxus, which has a deep history in the form of British Leyland DAF Vans, in 2010. The van was originally launched in 2004 as an LVD Maxus and built in Poland, it was once moved to Birmingham, and now, following  a takeover by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC Motor), to Wuxi in China’s Jiangsu province.

Over an 18-month period the Chinese packed up almost the entire Birmingham factory and reassembled it in China. Following the 2012 Beijing motor show we headed south to visit Maxus’ Wuxi plant and drove a right-hand-drive Maxus V80 van, one very similar to what we will see in Australian dealerships later this year.

SAIC Motor, which last year produced more than four million vehicles (or just under, depending on who you ask), is one of China’s biggest vehicle manufacturers. It has its hands in everything from joint partnerships with international brands such as Buick, Chevrolet, Iveco, Skoda and Volkswagen to ownership of MG and Maxus. For the most part the company is simply doing all it can to meet the enormous demand of the local market, but there’s great ambition for expansion into international markets.

Maxus V80 Review
Maxus V80 Review
Maxus V80 Review
Maxus V80 Review

The initial Australian launch of the Maxus V80 will see seven variants in dealerships comprising of four passenger models and three cargo variants. Although the Chinese manufacture the V80 to pretty much any need (including prisoner transport, school bus and even super-luxury VIP models), Australian delivered V80s will initially include two 11-seaters – a short wheelbase version (4950mm total vehicle length) and a luxury-spec long-wheelbase (5700mm). In addition, two 15-seaters – standard roof (2345mm tall) and high roof (2552mm) versions, both on the long-wheelbase will also be available.

Prices are yet to be confirmed but CarAdvice believes they will start well below similarly specified competitors with the entry-level cargo van and passenger variants coming in around $30,000 to $35,000.

Technicalities and price aside, the point of our visit was to see just how these Maxus V80 vans are made. After all, despite the relative success of Great Wall (and Chery to a lesser extent) in the Australia market, Chinese cars are still a new concept to many buyers. Although it will launch here as a brand new vehicle, the V80’s research and development was done a while ago, which means the production process has been fine tuned over the years both in Europe and now in China.

The Maxus plant in Wuxi has so far produced around 5,000 V80s with more than 60 percent exported to other parts of Asia and even South Africa. Australian distribution will be handled by WMC group in Sydney, which also brings in Higer buses (and may even end up with new MG vehicles in a few years time).

Maxus V80 Review
Maxus V80 Review
Maxus V80 Review
Maxus V80 Review

Given its European roots, the manufacturing of right-hand models is a non-issue with both right and left hand drive V80s coming down the same production line. All are powered by a 2.5-litre diesel engine designed by Italy’s VM Motori but assembled locally by Shanghai diesel. With 100kW of power and 330Nm of torque, the V80s provide sufficient power to get going and are relatively peaceful inside (at least in the passenger model we tested). At the time of our visit only manual V80s were being produced but we are told that an automatic transmission will be available in the Australian market for launch.

Around the unusually clean Wuxi factory an army of Chinese workers currently work one shift per day to assemble the V80s. Maxus says it can produce up to 50,000 vans a year on two shifts and that number can be further tripled if there is high demand. In charge of the Wuxi plant operation is a man who’s spent more than a decade inside Volkswagen’s passenger car operations and a few years with General Motors. His aim is to produce commercial vehicles with passenger car standards, a noble goal for a company still in its infancy.

Given the factory is a near identical replica of the Birmingham operation, it looks pretty much like any other vehicle manufacturing plant we’ve been to, except we didn’t see much automisation. The company plans to expand the V80 range with a long-wheelbase chassis and dropside cab in the near future.

Behind the wheel the first thing we noticed was the lack of steering adjustment, but were pleasantly surprised by the smooth manual gearbox and relatively competent steering. Around the cabin the build quality is not exactly Ford Transit standard but it’s not far off. Maxus will throw in alloy wheels, reverse parking sensors, dual sliding side doors, rear barn doors on cargo models and electric entry step for passenger models, LED daytime running lights and dual-zone air-conditioning as standard equipment across the range. A reverse-view camera and tyre pressure monitoring system are available on the higher-spec models.

Maxus V80 Review
Maxus V80 Review

With slightly fewer restrictions on commercial vehicles, Maxus will not equip V80s with electronic stability control. Nonetheless, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, EBD and BA as well as dual front airbags will be available.

The success of the Maxus V80 series will depend on a number of things but most importantly on market perception of Chinese vehicles. With Higer buses having performed better than many would’ve expected, there’s a chance the V80’s unique selling point may not be just its price.


Maxus V80 Review
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  • Ima_Hogg

    No offence but this wasn’t really a review on a car. More like a review on a factory.

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      We had about three to four minutes behind the wheel and a two hour factory tour. Expect A more detailed review when the vehicle gets in australia later this year.

      • Ima_Hogg

        Okay that is fine I was just wondering.

  • Noddy

    I’ve got 35 grand to spend on my next car. This or the Veloster Turbo…

    • carbine

      …or a Ducati 1098… point being??

      • Noddy

        No thanks. Four wheels or no wheels. 

        • carbine

           Four doors or no doors.

          • Noddy

            Leave me in peace.

          • Tom

            wtf happened here…?

          • carbine

             i came, i saw, i stirred….

          • Noddy

            Stir this Carbine (coffee to the face).

    • Ford Territory

      China or Korean made,, hmmmmmmmmmmm big choice…

  • Doctor

    “automisation” That’s a new one!

    • Jerrycan

      Probably why they did not see much evidence of it :)

  • Shak

    The only thing that bothers me about the car is its badge. It looks way too similar to a Mitsubishi badge at first glance. Other than that judging by the (short) review and everything else it seems like another step in the right direction by the chinese.

  • O123

    Vans are a good idea, interior quality and drivability arent an issue as much. If its reliable they will sell.

  • 440 R/T Charger

    Well…Wayne Swan always look for budget cut doen’t he? just buy this to use as taxi for their member in parliament….i bet can save so much can put budget back in surplus within a year!

    • scatman

      A bad attempt at a budget joke

  • DAVIDZ

    “Around the cabin the build quality is not exactly Ford Transit standard but it’s not far off”

    Is this a joke??, u drive a Transit around the block, we buy and use them and suffer for years, the Transit are absolute rubbish, no honour in having similar LOW quality to it!

LDV V80 Specs

LWB HIGH : 2.5L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP MANUAL - 2D VAN
Car Details
Make
LDV
Model
V80
Variant
LWB HIGH
Year
2013
Body Type
2D VAN
Seats
3
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
2.5L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 4
Max. Torque
330Nm @  220rpm
Max. Power
100kW @  3800rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
46.6W/kg
Bore & Stroke
92x94mm
Compression Ratio
17.5
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
80
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2145
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
2552mm
Length
5700mm
Width
1998mm
Ground Clearance
234mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
POWER ASSISTED RECIRC BALL
Turning Circle
14.8
Front Rim Size
6x16
Rear Rim Size
6x16
Front Tyres
215/75 R16
Rear Tyres
215/75 R16
Wheel Base
3850
Front Track
1734
Rear Track
1728
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Driver
Cruise Control, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
Entertainment
Radio CD with 2 Speakers
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Other
Service Interval
0 months /  0,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
12-U-30
Country of Origin
CHINA