Remember the pickup wars from about half a decade ago? Those sure were fun times. Back then, the market was suddenly flooded with all-new iterations of well-known models, each with its own loyal customer base. Now, we may be in the midst of another pickup battle, but this time, it might be between models that are hitting our market for the first time.
A prime example of this is the recently launched Maxus T60. Priced between P998,000 and P1,328,00, the Chinese newcomer is poised to compete in a hotly contested segment.
During the launch event for the pickup, we got the chance to take the base T60 Pro 4x2 MT variant on a short drive through a small dirt course. Upon entering, we noticed right away that the interior is surprisingly well-laid-out despite the variant’s sub-P1-million price tag. It gets things like a seven-inch infotainment display and well-bolstered fabric seats, and the various controls look impressive. We didn’t get the chance to try them out, though, so we can’t attest to the build quality for now.
The instructor warned of a high clutch bite point, and while that is true, the pedal is fairly pliant, giving you good control over your gear changes. The six-speed gear stick, meanwhile, stands tall to accommodate for the pickup’s high hip point, and has a shorter throw than you’d first expect.
Upon take off, the first gear is generously long, and offers decent torque on rough and flat terrain at low revs. For reference, the T6o packs a 2.8-liter turbodiesel capable of 148hp and 350Nm. The steering, meanwhile, feels light compared with other pickups. This made maneuvering the course’s zigzag portion a breeze, despite the noticeably big tiller, but it did highlight the T60’s considerable length as we adjusted our turns to not hit the cones from the rear on our way out.
Plowing through the acceleration test over the bumpy course gave us a taste of the T60’s ride comfort, and considering we had an empty bed and only two passengers, it proved to be quite plush under the circumstances. The pickup stayed fairly level throughout. The stopping power on dirt is decent, too.
Of course, all of these are just first impressions from a very brief drive. We’ll need a longer shakedown to fully test the pickup’s capabilities.