It was in 2014 when J.D Power Asia Pacific - a subsidiary of the J.D Power market research company - made their 2014 APEAL StudySM public. In this study, they found out that customers are usually after design, innovative features, and new tech when it comes to buying vehicles.
At the same time, BAIC’s Weiwang 306 or internationally marketed BAIC MZ40 won as the highest-ranked minivan and even won the APEAL’s segment for the said vehicle category. In the same year, BAIC decided to import their vehicles into the Philippines through Bayan Automotive Industries Corporation or Bayan Auto, a local distributor. The MZ40 was officially introduced to the public at the Philippine International Motor Show that took place in September last 2014.
Because of its nature and price, it was made to look like a commerce van. This way, the manufacturers prioritized functionality over aesthetics. Still, they had to make it with a decent exterior design to still appeal buyers. You can get the BAIC MZ40 in four different colors namely silver, gold, grey, and white. If we’re talking about exact numbers, the dimensions are 4030 mm long, 1636 mm wide and 1907 mm high.
The Luxury 7-seater variant is built with chrome door handles. As for the Cargo and Comfort variants, body-colored door handles look just as fine. The MZ40 also has lights with the same color as the body and big halogen headlights. At the rear, fog lights are installed in between the bumper and grille. Also, there are turn signals installed in the rear-view mirrors.
When it comes to the interior, it’s easy to notice that there isn’t anything lavish or extravagant that makes the MZ40 stand out from the competition. But the manufacturers do guarantee that the materials and seats are durable. They made use of sturdy fabric and hard plastics to ensure that the customers get a durable interior.
By giving the vehicle a higher ceiling, they give both drivers and passengers a comfortable ride. There is also enough legroom for taller people even if you’re 6 feet tall. The seats at the back are also made to be removable if extra space is needed for some bulky luggage. If compared, the length of MZ40 is actually shorter than an average subcompact sedan. Though it does have enough cargo space and three-row seats which allows up to eight people to sit.
Technology & Safety Features
As for the BAIC MZ40’s safety features, expect that all variants come with standard front and rear seat belts as well as an audible seat belt warning. There are also front and side-impact beams, as well as a door ajar and engine check warnings. The doors are installed with power locks to keep children safe in the car.
As for technological features, the MZ40 has speakers both at the front and at the rear end of the van. There is also a CD player and an FM/AM radio. Wireless multimedia connections are available in USB and auxiliary input. For the affordable pricing, the only downside is that it doesn’t have a navigation system or a touchscreen infotainment system.
Platform & Chassis
The BAIC MZ40 is a single body sub-compact van constructed with a unibody and integral welded subframe. It has five doors in total and has a curb weight of 1850. It comes with a trusty MacPherson strut for its front suspension and a Multi-link for the rear suspension. It comes ready to drive with R14-sized wheels and radial wheels. Coil spring shock absorbers also do a good job of keeping spring motion in check.
The front brakes and the rear are both the usual disc brakes for optimal stops and slows. And for its steering, a rack and pinion combined with a hydraulic assist was deemed best by the manufacturer.
Engine & Drivetrain
For the engine, BAIC integrated a DOHC VVT inline-4 gasoline type 1.2-liter A12 engine. This seemed the best choice for the MZ40 since it is already considered a Euro4 engine. The engine displacement sits at 1249 cc and can produce up to 86 horsepower. As for torque, you can expect up to 108 Nm of pulling power. They combined the variable valve and high compression technology to produce a good amount of power and torque usually required by cargo haulers.
This setup s complemented by a 5-speed manual transmission. This helps to ensure that the low gears have enough torque even when the MZ40 is carrying a full cargo.