What's the first set of words that pop up in your head when somebody says van? If it's 'Toyota' and 'Hiace', we don't blame you. After all, it's one of the most popular vans around and a big seller as well. But now comes a new challenger, and it's from MG.
Yes, MG wants a slice of the big van market. Dubbed the V80, it was launched at the 2019 Bangkok International Motor Show with two variants to choose from. Aside from the Hiace, the V80 is also set to compete against the Hyundai Starex and Nissan NV350. That being said, it's not a full MG product. It is, in fact, a badge-engineered version of the Maxus V80.
Measuring in at 4,950 mm long, 1,998 mm wide, and 2,132 mm tall, the MG V80 sits right about in the middle of its contemporaries. Also, it has its engine at the front and, curiously, it is front-wheel drive. For its design, it is as conventional as it comes, following the one-box design to maximize interior space. The flanks are tall and flat, and the rear is as upright as its flanks. However, the V80 ditches the traditional lift-up tailgate for swing out doors. Speaking of doors, the V80 has dual-side sliders.
Inside, there is seating for 11 occupants. No bench seats here, the front row has individual perches which leaves it with a wide opening in the middle. It is also worth pointing out that the instrument cluster is placed on the center of the dashboard. Climb on board at the back (via the power step board) and there are two individual seats in the second row, three seats in the third, and four in the fourth. Seats in the first two rows have three-point seat belts while the rest get lap belts. There are also air-conditioning vents that run all the way to the back.
Powering the V80 is a 2.5-liter turbodiesel mill. It's good for 136 PS and 330 Nm of torque and is actually a detuned version of the one found in the entry-level Chevrolet Colorado manual. There are two transmission choices for the van, namely a six-speed manual, or a six-speed automated manual, a system similar to the Suzuki Dzire.
Is there a chance of the V80 making it to the Philippines? Given that MG is present in the Philippines, run by Chevrolet distributor The Covenant Car Company Inc., there is a possibility. At the same time, it could also arrive as a Maxus, which will be distributed by Ayala Corporation. If it will be brought in, it will be interesting to see who will sell it.