Review: Maxus T90 EV

From £49,950

In a nutshell, the Maxus T90EV is a curiosity. It has a USP (it’s the UK’s only electric pick-up), but it also has limitations which would exclude it from many of its core buyers’ wish lists. We’ll come to its pros and cons later. For now, let’s give the Maxus T90EV some context.

Maxus is owned by Chinese automotive giant SAIC Motor, whose other brands include MG. SAIC began manufacturing commercial vehicles under the Maxus name in 2010, after buying LDV (Leyland DAF Vans).

Indeed, the Maxus eDeliver 3 and the Maxus eDeliver 9 vans are already a fairly familiar sight on our roads.

> Buy Maxus t90 EV

Maxus T90 side view

Maxus also makes passenger vehicles, including the Mifa 9, which is “the world’s first full-size pure electric MPV” with a claimed range of up to 323 miles on a single charge.

The Maxus T90 EV competes in the competitive pick-up truck segment, which is dominated by the Ford Ranger in the UK. Other rivals include the Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max, Volkswagen Amarok and KGM (formerly SsangYong) Musso.

The Maxus T90 EV offers space for five people, plus a decent payload of up to one tonne and a braked towing capacity of just 1,000kg.

It comes with a 5-year warranty and an 8-year battery warranty, and Maxus has kept things simple because it’s only offered as a double cab and in one trim level.

On the face of it, the T90 EV is pretty well equipped too, with a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen as standard, plus a reversing camera, rear parking sensor, driver and front passenger airbags, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and air-conditioning, plus 6-way adjustable electric and heated front seats.

We drove the Maxus T90 EV with a variety of loads on roads in the South West, to find out whether the likes of Ford should be concerned about this zero-emissions commercial curiosity.

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Maxus T90 EV – Exterior

The first thing you notice about the Maxus T90 EV is its bulk and that massive grille. Measuring in at 5365 x 1900 x 1809, it’s on the large side for a UK pick-up and has serious road presence.

From a styling point of view, it’s no Tesla Cybertruck. The T90 EV’s essential shape is traditional, in a brutalist sort of way.

Maxus T90 EV flatbed truck

Thankfully, there is some scope for personalisation with some pick-up essentials. The accessories list includes a stainless steel sports bar, tow bar, all-terrain tyres, front bumper winch pack and mountain top/roller top, plus hard top box with rear tailgate washwipe.

Finally, the Maxus T90 EV is available in six colours – Black, Lava Grey and White, plus three optional metallic options – Blue, Orange and Silver. And for what it’s worth, we reckon it looks best in Orange.

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Maxus T90 EV – Interior

Inside, the Maxus T90 EV has a contemporary look, thanks to the central touchscreen, but all is not what it seems.

For instance, it has a key fob with a pop-out key that you have to insert into the ignition on the steering wheel column and twist to start. Very old-school.

Of course, the engine doesn’t start, but the electrics come to life. In our case, this wasn’t an entirely satisfactory experience because there was a continual high-pitched noise coming from the dashboard area.

Maxus T90 EV interior cockpit

Then there are some basic steering wheel controls, but weirdly, the windscreen wiper and indicator stalks are the opposite way round to almost every other car for sale in the UK. And finally, there’s a massive manual handbrake.

The touchscreen might be 10.25 inches, but a graphic of the T90 EV takes up two-thirds of the screen space for most of the time, and the little other available info has a font that is a tad too small, while the graphics and usability are disappointing. Frustratingly, there’s also very little EV efficiency info and no built-in sat nav.

On the plus side, it’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, compatible, but the screen could do with being angled towards the driver and the lack of DAB (only FM/AM) is very 1990s.

Maxus T90 EV interior cabin

Finally, the driver’s instrument binnacle features two dials for speed and charge, while the centre section has limited extra info such as trip details, but no speed sign recognition – an essential these days.

There’s plenty of room up front, and behind for passengers. However, there’s hardly any space for the driver’s left foot to rest, so you end up pulling your left leg up. There’s also no reach adjustment for the steering wheel.

But if it’s load space you’re after, you won’t be disappointed. The cargo area measures 1485 x 1510 x 530.

The materials used in the cabin have a durable feel and the finish is fine (except for the aforementioned high-pitched noise from the dash on our test vehicle).

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Maxus T90 EV charging socket

Maxus T90 EV – Performance and economy

The Maxus T90 EV’s powertrain combines a 201bhp electric motor and 88.5 kWh battery, giving a claimed range of up to 220 miles.

Drive is via the rear wheels (there’s currently no 4×4 option), while 0-62mph acceleration is about 10 seconds.

With a maximum DC rate of 80kW, charging speeds are modest for a brand-new vehicle. All the same, it can be charged from 20-80% in about 45 minutes using a rapid charger or overnight via a home wall box.

Official energy efficiency is 2.49 miles/kWh, which given the T90 EV’s bulk and 2.3-tonne kerbweight is hardly surprising. That said, it seemed to hold its charge well during mixed driving, so we’d have thought a real-world range of around 180 miles is possible. Conversely, that figure should rise if most of your journeys are urban-based.

Like most EVs, range suffers in colder weather, so even our estimate takes a hit as soon as you switch the heating on, for instance.

There are a few drive modes – Eco, Normal or Power. Eco reduces throttle response and is best left for cruising, while Power gives it full beans so is useful for overtaking, but Normal is just fine.

Performance isn’t a priority with the big T90 EV, but it can still shift and is capable of surprising other drivers if you put your foot down in Power mode.

Sadly, there are no steering wheel paddles to adjust brake regeneration, but there are subtle differences between drive modes. Overall, it’s not overbearing, but you’ll be disappointed if you’re looking for a one-pedal driving experience.

On the plus side, it must be the most refined pick-up truck on the market. Apart from a bit of road and wind noise, all that can be heard on the move is a low-pitched electric motor whine.

Maxus T90 EV – Handling

The Maxus T90 EV is a mighty slab of a EV, so its ride and handling characteristics will come as no surprise. On a smooth road, the ride quality is fairly smooth, but on poorer surfaces, it becomes uncomfortably stiff, while road humps should be taken at a crawl.

The power steering is very light, so while driving the T90 EV doesn’t feel like an upper body workout, it wanders and becomes a little wayward in more challenging bends, even if body control is surprisingly good.

Manoeuvring in urban areas is helped by the rear-view camera, but it still feels a bit of a handful, while finding a parking space for a 5.3-metre vehicle isn’t always straightforward. Considering it’s not four-wheel drive, grip is surprisingly good, but the T90 EV has its limitations off-road, which is likely to cut down on a big chunk of potential sales.

Apart from a hill-descent button and its rugged construction, we’re not sure it could be trusted anywhere too adventurous. The large battery hangs low underneath the T90 EV’s body, so ground clearance and wading depth take a hit compared to regular pick-up trucks.

In short, it’s the kind of vehicle that is at its best cruising along in relative refinement.

Maxus T90 EV – Verdict

The Maxus T90 EV is a real mixed bag. Yes, it’s the only electric pick-up track, so offers the possibility of low running costs, and it could well have a niche market in urban areas with low emission zones. However, it’s expensive, lacks the off-roading credentials of rivals and it delivers an unsophisticated ride.

Maxus T90 EV – Tech Specs

Price: £49,950 (exc VAT and £5,000 government grant)
On sale: Now
Engine: 88.5kWh battery
Power: 201bhp
Transmission: Single-speed
Performance: 0-62mph in 10, top speed 80mph
Weight: 2,300kg
Payload: 1,000kg
Dimensions: L/W/H 5,365/1,900/1,809

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The Maxus T90 EV is a real mixed bag. Yes, it’s the only electric pick-up track, so offers the possibility of low running costs, and it could well have a niche market in urban areas with low emission zones. However, it’s expensive, lacks the off-roading credentials of rivals and it delivers an unsophisticated ride.
Show More

Quality

3.00/5

Performance

3.00/5

Range

2.50/5

Comfort

2.50/5

Dynamics

2.00/5

Fast Facts

Price

£49,950

Battery Capacity

88.5 kWh

WLTP Range

220 miles

Maximum Power

201 bhp

Torque

277 lb-ft

0-60

10 secs

Top Speed

80 mph

Boot Capacity

litres

Pros and Cons

Zero-emissions
Easy to drive
Good warranty
Expensive
Unsophisticated ride
Modest range and charging speed
Quirky interior
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