Maxus eDeliver 9 review

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

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Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Chinese brand Maxus wants customers in search of a large full-electric van to consider this eDeliver 9 model. Jonathan Crouch checks out what's on offer.

Ten Second Review

The Maxus eDeliver 9 doesn't quite have the impressive value proposition of its diesel range stablemate but business customers still get a lot for their money with this ambitious Chinese-made LCV. If profit matters more than polish on your fleet, this contender could be worth a try.

Background

Maxus might still be a brand unfamiliar to you. It's owned by Chinese manufacturing giant SAIC, who bought out LDV in 2009, then renamed it and have since set about revolutionising the LCV product range. Most recently with full-EV models, the mid-sized eDeliver 3 and this large eDeliver 9.

This won't be the first large van you think of when seeking an all-electric product in this segment, but it stacks up well on paper in terms of battery choice, equipment and warranty. Worth a closer look then.

Driving Experience

There's a choice of three battery sizes - 51.5kWh (with 112 miles of combined EV range), 72kWh (146 miles) and 88.55kWh (185 miles). Either way, you get a punchy 201hp motor which gives you an instant burst of speed. Three driving modes are provided, 'Eco', 'Normal' and 'Power' - and even 'Eco' feels relatively eager. There are three brake regeneration modes as well, operated by moving the gear lever. You move it to the right and go up and down through the braked regen settings. Power is supplied progressively, but top speed is limited to just 62mph, so you won't want to do too many long motorway trips - which would strain the battery range anyway. Wind noise is noticeable above 40mph and around the corners, the low-down positioning of the battery pack keeps body roll from getting too excessive. There's not much in terms of steering feedback. Refinement isn't quite as silent as you might expect: you can hear the electric motor and there's quite a lot of road noise transmitted to the cabin.

Like almost all vans, particularly large ones, the cornering demeanour of this one improves quite a bit when there's a bit of a load in the back. When you're running empty, it's rather prone to being unsettled over bumps. And whatever your eDeliver 9's load configuration, you'll certainly feel the larger potholes and tarmac tears you'll come across in typical urban motoring. When the time comes to slow down, you'll be thankful for the reassuring feel of the standard all-round disc brakes. Brake assist complements the usual ABS system for emergency stops and ESP stability control is standard too.

Design and Build

There's nothing much wrong with the way this electric Maxus model looks - you wouldn't immediately pigeonhole it as a dated design. There's a prominent front grille flanked by full-LED headlamps, plus LED daytime running lights also feature. Inside, you get a touchscreen-enabled infotainment system with 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring, but this monitor lacks a DAB digital radio tuner.

You won't be expecting tactile plastics around the cabin - and you don't get them, but it feels modern enough behind the wheel and the driver's seat is actually quite comfortable, with plenty of adjustment. Everything seems built to last - this feels like a cabin that could withstand the rigours of a hard working life. There's the usual three-person seat arrangement and only a small intrusion into the middle seat passenger's leg space to accommodate the gear lever. The floor is covered by a hard wearing linoleum-type material which should be simple to wipe clean. You get just one old-style USB port.

There's plenty of cab stowage space too. You get a small compartment to the right hand side of the steering wheel and cup holders at either end of the dashboard. The door pockets are a bit narrow but can fit a large bottle. And there's an overhead shelf.

Market and Model

Maxus wants a minimum of £63,000 for the eDeliver 9 - that's in entry-level 51.5kWh MH standard wheelbase form. Quite a jump up from the £34,000 price tag of the equivalent Deliver 9 diesel model, so you're going to need to really want the switch to EV. Quite a lot more also, than Ford wants for its E-Transit. Maxus offers two longer range batteries, of 72kWh and 88.55kWh in size. Maxus will also offer you a choice of standard 'MH' and long wheelbase 'LH' panel van body shapes. In addition, tipper, minibus and chassis cab body shape options are also available.

At least you get plenty of equipment for the money. The eDeliver 9 comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, central locking, keyless entry, all-round parking sensors, a single sliding side door, cruise control and a reversing camera. In addition, the headlamps have high beam recognition and the side mirrors are heated. Inside, you'll find a 10-inch central touchscreen, air conditioning, an 8-way adjustable driver seat with armrest and a multifunction steering wheel. Safety kit includes an automatic emergency braking system, a blind area monitoring set-up and an eCall system that will alert the emergency services with your exact GPS location if the driver's seat airbag goes off. There's also ESP stability control, electronic braking assistance and a Hill holder control.

Practicalities and Costs

The Maxus eDeliver 9 is being offered in three body lengths: 'MH' medium (5546mm long) and 'LH' long (5,940mm long). The cargo volume is 9.7m3 for the 'MH' models - and 11.0m3 for the 'LH' version. The payload is 1,200kgs for the MK 51.5kWh version, 1,040kg for the MH 72kWh variant and 1,160kg for the LH 51.5kWh derivative. The width of the sliding side door is 1,269mm. And there's 1366mm between the wheel arches, so a Euro pallet will easily fit. The cargo area features a heavy-duty bulkhead and rear doors that open to 260-degrees for easy loading. There's bright LED lighting in the load bay, 8 tie-down points and a non-slip protective floor covering.

We gave you the EV mileage range figures in our 'Driving' section. For the 51.5kWh versions, it's 112 miles combined (and 147 miles in the city). For the 72kWh, it's 146 miles combined (and 179 miles in the city). For the 88.55kWh variants, it's 185 miles (and 219 miles in the city). All Maxus vehicles come with a five years warranty or 125,000 miles of cover and include five years roadside assistance cover as standard. The battery gets its own 8 year, 100,000 mile warranty.

Summary

In its standard diesel form, the Deliver 9 has quite a price advantage over its competition. That's not the case with the eDeliver 9, but you do get plenty of equipment - and a wider range of battery choices than rivals can offer. Plus unlike some competitors, this model's not too compromised in terms of payload by its EV drivetrain. And you get a long, comprehensive warranty.

In the future, Maxus (like its rivals) will bring us more sophisticated large electric vans than this. But for the time being, the eDeliver 9 represents a decent start for this Chinese brand's EV aspirations.

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