What Car? says...
You may never have heard of Maxus before, but if you’re in the market for a new electric van, then the new Maxus e Deliver 9 is well worth paying attention to.
Maxus is no stranger to the electric large van market, and the e Deliver 9’s underpinnings were designed with electric power in mind. Sold alongside the diesel Deliver 9, this electric version has already secured a strong following, including securing several household names in the courier and home delivery segments.
Its success lies in the fact it was among the first large vans to market with a usable real-world range in excess of 200 miles. This gives it a big advantage over such rivals as the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter and the Renault Master ZE – an advantage that’s extended when you factor in the Deliver 9’s much broader choice of battery sizes and bodies. Indeed, the versatile Ford E-Transit is its closest rival in this regard.
That said, you might also consider the e Deliver 9’s smaller sibling, the Maxus e Deliver 3, which promises a similar blend of a decent range, high levels of equipment and a reasonable price.
Read on to find out more about the Maxus e Deliver 9, and don't forget to visit the free What Car? New Car Buying service for a great deal on your next vehicle. Or, if you're interested in leasing a new van – regardless of make and model – don't forget that What Car? Leasing could help you find the cheapest deals available.
Finally, if you don't think the Maxus 9 is for you, take a look at our rundown of the best electric vans on sale today.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Earlier large electric vans, such as the Renault Master ZE and Mercedes-Benz eSprinter were underpowered and had heavy batteries yet failed to deliver much usable range. The e Deliver 9, though, is proof that Maxus has cracked it.
The e Deliver 9’s electric motor develops 201bhp and 229lb ft of peak torque. That’s considerably more power than the 161bhp diesel model, and more than the 114bhp eSprinter and the updated 76bhp Renault Master E-Tech. It doesn’t, however, quite match the Ford E-Transit’s 266bhp output.
The e Deliver 9 not only matches but beats the competition with its range of three batteries, with 52kWh, 72kWh and 89kWh packs. That’s compared with the 68kWh found in the Ford E-Transit, and the 52kWh and 55kWh from the Master and eSprinter, respectively. On paper, then, the e Deliver 9 is a real contender, and you can’t fault its performance.
It handles well for a large van, too; the fact that those heavy batteries are mounted low down makes the van feel more planted than the diesel version when unladen. The steering is a bit numb, but the e Deliver 9 is generally enjoyable to drive. However, its electric motor is a bit noisy and rather a lot of road noise is piped to the interior, and you’ll feel some vibrations through the wheel. The ride isn’t as comfy as that of the eSprinter, either.
Dynamically, then, the e Deliver 9 trails in comparison with the E-Transit, but it’s more than a match for the electric Master and leagues ahead of the Maxus EV80 it replaces.
The interior layout, fit and finish
In the same way that the e Deliver 9 has, shall we say, a strong external resemblance with one of its key rivals, it has a lot in common with the competition when it comes to interior design, too. And that’s really no bad thing.
Like in most modern vans, a large infotainment touchscreen (10.0in in this case) dominates the dash, and there’s plenty of piano black plastic and chrome-effect trim on display. As with the diesel Deliver 9, material quality isn’t brilliant and you’ll hear a fair few squeaks, but it’s not intrusive.
While the touchscreen is a bit sluggish in use, it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and both systems work flawlessly. Plus, most functions can be controlled via the steering wheel mounted controls.
The lane departure warning system button can be found on the bank of controls for the heating, which consist of standard rotary-type dials.
The seat is firm but very comfortable; there’s a built-in armrest and plenty of adjustment so it’s easy to fine tune a good seating position.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The e Deliver 9’s gross vehicle weight is 3.5 tonnes, unlike the rival Ford E-Transit, which can be had in 4.25 tonne form. However, the e Deliver 9 still manages an impressive 1200kg maximum payload when the smallest 52kWh battery is fitted. Upgrading to the 72kWh battery reduces that payload by 160kg, though, and vans fitted with the 89kWh battery can carry just 860kg.
There are two wheelbase lengths, 3366mm and 3760mm, and the largest battery is only available on the longer version. Total vehicle length is 5546mm or 5940mm, providing a total usable loadspace length of 3019mm or 3413mm. There is just one roof height (2525mm), providing a loadspace height of 1792mm.
Total load volumes range from 9.7m3 to 11m3. All vans get a single sliding side door and have bright LED lighting, 8 tie down points and a non-slip protective floor covering.
There’s plenty of room for the driver and passenger, with enough seat travel adjustment to accommodate those with long legs. Stowage space for personal or work items isn’t quite as generous, though; there’s a small compartment to the right of the steering wheel, cupholders at the ends of the dash and door pockets that can just about take a large bottle, despite being narrow. There is a handy overhead shelf, though.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
While the diesel Deliver 9 is cheaper than the competition, the same sadly can’t be said for the e Deliver 9. Maxus does offer incentives, but the list price puts its electric van on a par with the Mercedes eSprinter while the Ford E-Transit undercuts it by a significant margin. Of course, electric vans aren’t just about upfront costs, though, and there are huge savings to be made on the operational side compared with diesel models, but that will depend how you use and charge the van.
Charge times are good; the e Deliver 9 can take a rapid DC charge in just 35 minutes for the small battery and 45 minutes for the largest. Battery range for the 52kWh, 72kWh and 89kWh are 147 miles, 179 miles and 219 miles respectively according to the official WLTP tests.
That high price does bring equipment by the bucket load, though; you get electric heated mirrors, cruise control, air conditioning, an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, automatic headlights, tyre pressure monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and a reversing camera, all as standard.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), passenger airbag, driver seat airbag and curtain airbags help in the event of an accident, but Maxus has added additional safety systems including Lane Change Assist, Lane Departure Warning and blindspot monitoring. There’s also keyless start and entry, automatic ignition off unlocking and an alarm.
Maxus backs up the van with a five-year, 60,000 mile warranty for the van and electric components, while the batteries are covered by an eight-year, 100,000 mile warranty.
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About the author
George Barrow is one of the leading van and truck reviewers, and is the UK’s only representative on the prestigious International Van of the Year jury. He has written about vans and commercial vehicles for the past 15 years, and can be found in titles including The Sun and What Van?, alongside What Car?.
Barrow is well regarded in the commercial vehicle industry, securing access to the latest models – and the people who made them – long before other titles.