By Khulekani Dumisa
Chines Manufacturer, Baic, has taken covers of its Jeep Wrangler inspired B40 Plus SUV on local soil. In fact the South African market will be the first in the world to debut the new B40 Plus in right-hand drive configuration. This shows the strategic importance of the country to Baic.
Outside the SUV is styled with rugged details such as wide fender flares, a tailgate mounted spare wheel, red-painted tow hooks and 17-inch all-terrain tyres. The front windscreen can be folded forward and the rear roof section is removable to enable open-air driving for up to five passengers.
When you jump inside the SUV you are met with a floating 10-inch central touch screen infotainment display and a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster with three configurable theme options including Classic, Speed and Trek. The SUV draws quite a bit of inspiration from previous generation Mercedes-Benz in terms of look and feel of its interior. The quality is also decent.
Under the skin
Baic says engine options will include 2.0L turbo petrol and diesel variants, paired with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Chinese SUV features a body-on-frame design, selectable 4WD system with an electronically activated low-range transfer case, and rear diff-lock. At the front, the B40 Plus uses a double-wishbone coil spring suspension, while at the rear a five-link rigid axle set-up is adopted. To ensure maximum capability off-road, the SUV has 220mm ground clearance and a 23-degree break over angle. Front and rear approach and departure angles are set at 37 and 31 degrees respectively.
Local specifications and pricing will be made available closer to time of launch in the first quarter of 2020.
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