A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to test drive BAIC South Africa’s iconic SUV, the B40 PLUS. The B40 PLUS which has its roots in the military, has over 60 years of heritage to draw on. It’s been tested in almost every condition, altitude, terrain, and application leading to the claim that it was born in the battlefield and perfected in the real world.
BAIC CREATING EMPLOYMENT
The OEM, headquartered in Linbro Park, Johannesburg boasts a local assembly plant in Coega, Eastern Cape which is set to create much-needed employment opportunities for the Port Elizabeth community. In addition, the facility, with a footprint of 10,000 hectares aims to produce 40,000-50,000 vehicles for local sale and export by the end of 2022.
The design of the B40 PLUS is bold and imposing. The styling echoes the confidence of the driver, with aggressive bumpers and wheel arches. The vehicle commands presence whether it’s on city streets or showcasing its prowess off-road.
The front of the B40 PLUS is striking, with the iconic 5-slot grille design. The chrome and black accents on the exterior contrast the vehicle’s body colour, adding visual interest. The bold design features imposing headlights with Daytime Running Lights (DRL) as well as front and rear fog lamps. The vertical windshield design, large exterior mirrors and high seating position make for great all-round visibility. The red tow hooks are a confident design characteristic on the B40 PLUS, while making it easy to pull or tow other vehicles. NVH dampening is provided by the Liquid Application Sound Deadening (LASD) technology which increases the application area of the sound-dampening material in a vehicle by 50%, is environmentally friendly and allows for weight reduction in the vehicle while resulting in
increased noise reduction.
It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling city streets or exploring the hidden paths, you get to do it in comfort and style in the B40 PLUS. The considered cabin is modern, sleek and contains all the appointments you would need in an SUV from Dual Zone Air Conditioner, 6-speaker audio system, colour-coded interior trim, chrome accents and to top it all off, reclining rear seats. Additional features like the reverse camera, Park Distance Control (PDC), and customizable Multi-Information Display (MID), to keep the driver in complete control of his landscape.
The B40 PLUS is a capable off-roader. The testing of extreme environmental adaptability included high temperature, high altitude, high humidity, high cold, high salt content and of course, a drought. This testing process ensures adaptability to extreme conditions that is 10% higher than regular passenger vehicles. The front suspension is a double wishbone/coil spring independent suspension while the rear suspension is a 5-link/coil spring non-independent suspension. The overhangs are minimal and combined with a ground clearance of 210mm, it results in a generous approach angle of 37 degrees, departure angle of 31 degrees and rampover angle of 23 degrees. The selectable 4WD system with mechanical central transfer case and rear differential lock allows driver control over how the engine is powered, dependent on the terrain, conditions and requirements.
Safety and Security
The B40 PLUS comes standard with a host of active and passive safety features to ensure adventuring on your terms. Anti-lock Braking System and Electronic Brake force Distribution and Electronic Parking Brake are standard across all models. Some models feature Electronic Stability Programme, Emergency Brake Assist, Traction Control System, Hill Ascent Control and Hill Descent Control. A `built-in cage anti-roll body structure and anti-roll bar framework composed of a high strength steel plate and pipe beam. This doubles on protection and maintains integrity in a 50-metre hillside roll, ensuring the safety of driver and passengers alike.
The B40 PLUS is available in 2.0 litre Petrol Turbo or 2.0 litre Turbo Diesel. The choice is yours on how you power your adventure. The petrol engine kicks out 160kW @ 5500 r/min. The diesel pushes out 110kW @ 4000 r/min and 350Nm of torque at 1800-2800 r/min.
- The BAIC B40 PLUS is available in Diesel, Petrol, City Hunter Diesel, City Hunter Petrol and Champion Petrol
- Ice White
- Onyx Black
- Desert Red
- Military Green
- Forest Green
- Sky Blue
- Ocean Blue
BAIC B40 PLUS Pricing
The B40 PLUS is priced quite competitively, offering generous features in all models in the line-up. The range starts from R549,500 and goes up to R629,500 for the top-of-the-range offering.
BAIC B40 PLUS After sales Support
All models are sold with a 5-year/120,000km warranty. Competitive service plan options are available. Service intervals are 15,000km or 12 months for Petrol and Diesel models.
OUR FINAL VERDICT of the BAIC B40 PLUS
The B40 Plus didn’t come to play. Its unapologetic appearance and performance, matched with a highly competitive price tag makes it a great contender in its category. It provides a smooth ride with its comfy seats and interior. Converting the SUV to meet your needs is incredibly quick and easy. The dashboard is super sleek and sexy taking its inspiration from Mercedes. The front lights at night don’t have a broad beam making Th turning a tad difficult. The rubbers on both front windows were loose. This isn’t something I would expect from a new vehicle. The vehicle is a guzzler, but that is to be expected. Badass on the outside, sexy on the inside screams Fit Like Mummy. Perfectly suited for our wanderlust lifestyle.