RV Review: Maxus Life Home V90 Villa Edition Class C

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By Tony Barthel
I have long said that the way the domestic RV market behaves is much, much like the domestic auto manufacturers of the 1970s. With the sheer dominance of this market, Thor, Forest River and Winnebago are not unlike GM, Ford and Chrysler in the ‘70s. While they all talk a good game, they should also be very, very, very wary of foreign competition. 

Particularly from China. 

And, case in point, Maxus unveiled a showcase that has made international news and shows that our industry in the U.S. needs to be paying close attention. 

The Maxus Life Home V90 Villa Edition is available now in China for about $420,000. It shows that a large-scale manufacturer is eyeing the RV market very closely and has ideas that don’t come from spending time with the brochures of the competition. 

The Maxus Life Home V90 Villa Edition

What the heck is this thing? Essentially it’s a Class C motorhome based on a Maxus cutaway platform that looks suspiciously familiar. While RV companies here do slides, this thing does more than that with a roof that glides up and provides a glass-enclosed penthouse complete with seating and a table. 

The true news in this thing is the fact that you get to that second floor in an elevator. Seriously! Once you’re up there, there’s a transparent OLED TV at the back that serves as a window when it’s off but as a TV when it’s on. There’s also a front balcony. This is where I think there are lots of lost opportunities here in the U.S. 

We have these giant roofs – we should be able to party up there. To my knowledge, there is but one company taking advantage of this real estate and that’s the RKS Purpose. 

The first thing anyone who lives in a sunny area is going to wonder about is all that glass on the second floor, which is facilitated by employing split panes that sort of fold into one another when driving. But there are no curtains. Instead, the panels employ LCD technology that allow you to darken the windows at the touch of a button. 

There are also opposing slide rooms on the main floor. There is a sleeping space above the cab, as you would expect in most Class Cs.

Downstairs in the Maxus Life Home V90 Villa Edition are the bathroom and full kitchen. 

The grand tour of the Maxus Life Home V90 Villa Edition

Understand that my Chinese is a little rusty but, from what I can tell, as you walk into the fully opened unit the elevator is the first thing on your left. After that is the bathroom with a full shower and toilet. The company doesn’t provide a traditional layout plan as you might expect in U.S. RVs. 

Across from the entrance is the kitchen with an oven, sink and cooking space. It seems that the cooktop is an induction model and the oven is similar to something like a large-scale toaster oven. 

A large wrap-around couch covers most of the rest of the road-side wall and the wall against the cab. On the camp side is storage. 

Finally, we get to a refrigerator-freezer. It seems that the whole RV is completely electric – based on the Chinese-language videos I was able to decipher. That’s going to make my browsing history on YouTube go completely bonkers. 

Projectors abound in the Maxus Life Home V90 Villa Edition

Another interesting thing: There’s a huge screen on either side of the lower floor and projectors in the ceiling. Either wall can become a giant screen so you can enjoy some pretty impressively large video content. There’s even a third projector built in to project along the “bathroom” wall. Hey, U.S. manufacturers. One word: projectors!

Once you’ve taken the elevator upstairs, the space is pretty large. It has a large “mat” type of thing surrounding a table with a recessed area for your feet and legs. 

To get to the open patio at the front there are large panes that open kind of like a modern garage door. This opens the whole front of the upstairs to fresh air. You can walk out and enjoy the patio. 

About Maxus

SAIC Maxus Automotive Co., Ltd. is a Chinese company and owns a variety of brands including the English brand MG. Yep, the one that made the sports cars. 

While they’re a relatively new brand to the Chinese market, Maxus has already established a few beachheads in vehicle production including a van, an MPV and a pickup.

The company seems to predominantly make vans and trucks. Clearly, these are popular here in the U.S., and I don’t doubt that they are in China as well. 

This is also not their first RV as they make a pop-top van-style camper much like the VWs of the 1960s as well as Class Bs and even other Class Cs.

In summary

I can’t make any guess as to how popular these will be but it never hurts to have a halo product. This is especially true if that product is so newsworthy that it makes headlines in places where the product will never be available. In some ways, this is like the Winnebago Heli-Homes of the 1970s. They may not have sold well but, 50 years later, they’re still making headlines. 

With our RV industry currently awash in capital, it might be time for a few of our own to make something so newsworthy that the world takes notice. 

I do not have a specifications chart nor a floor plan for this vehicle. My apologies. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

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Abe Loughin
30 days ago

In the early 2000s Thor, I believe. And Airstream had a roof top patio called the “SkyDeck” . Thor had both a 5th wheel and travel trailer and Airstream had it on the Landyacht motor home. While it got a lot of attention at RV shows the concept never really sold. It’s quite possible that it was ahead of the times but it seems we Americans are slow to embrace something that is different from the norm. Just look how long it took toyhaulers to catch on in popularity outside the Pacific southwest and desert areas.

Carson Axtell
1 month ago

Meh…can’t compete with a double-decker bus converted into a luxury condo with a hot tub, wet bar, disco floor, fire pole, and other “good life” necessities to keep you entertained once you’re bored with gawking at nature… Of course, either would be just a delight to see parked at a campground near you or out boondocking somewhere in the bland expanses of the West. I say less “back to nature” and more “back to human nature”…

Last edited 1 month ago by Carson Axtell
Kenneth Fuller
1 month ago

Chinese made – I don’t want anything to do with it even if it was free! The top floor should work like a great greenhouse – fry you to death. Next.

Bob
1 month ago

Sorry but why waste time showing something that will never be available to the masses in the states. Sure mention it but why give it your whole column.

Sink Jaxon
1 month ago

😶

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

Interesting prototype. I hope you can lower the second floor in a hurry if the wind picks up.

Sc00ter
1 month ago

That was my thought as well. Seen many normal TTs and 5ers roll under a heavy wind.

Bob P
1 month ago

Just as several have commented, I have wondered with all that expensive glass how much would this weigh, and if you were in a resort with an adjacent golf course and a golfer hits a slice and you’re sitting their in your glass house and suddenly you have you’re house smashed by a misguided golf ball, what would your insurance company say. This may be one reason you have never seen such a fiasco in the USA, we may have more common sense than the Chinese. This is an engineering conceptual idea that will never fly, not like we see it anyway.

Warren G
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob P

I agree on some of your points, but really question the level of common sense that you attribute people here in the US.

Roger V
1 month ago

Nice to see innovation wherever it comes from. At the last Tampa RV show I attended, it was depressing wading through hundreds of same, same to find one or two rigs that stood out from the crowd.

Firefly
1 month ago

No photos, just CAD images. Makes me wonder if it is just hype and will never go into production. Anyone seen photos of an actual unit?

Craig
1 month ago
Reply to  Firefly

I would like to see photos as well, I went to the website and the images there are also CAD. No photos and no indication or verification that one has ever been produced.

DENNIS N LETOILE
1 month ago
Reply to  Firefly
Crowman
1 month ago

I wouldn’t take take one from China even if they were giving them away.

DennisD
1 month ago
Reply to  Crowman

I 2nd that motion.

Really
1 month ago

Only $420,000?? I’ll take 2!

Leslie Berg
1 month ago
Reply to  Really

😏😂🤣😃

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago
Reply to  Really

While you probably couldn’t get a Prevost for that money, you could certainly get an impressive Allegro Bus.

It seems like some Chinese “think-Tank” sat around and came up with something they could do with computer graphics and send over here to impress Americans. But, never actually produce anything. Kinda like our government . . . Just sayin’.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tommy Molnar