When I got a call from pro travel photographer George Tapan to go along with him in different trips. I did not hesitate to say yes, knowing I will be learning a lot from him about photography.
Knowing that it was a land travel, I was expecting an SUV or big van. Lo and behold, when I met him, he was driving a silver, compact van that I had only seen for the first time, the Baic MZ40.
I have to admit that I am brand conscious on certain things like vehicles, gadgets and other expensive items. That’s why seeing the Baic for the first time made me a bit apprehensive since due to the long hours of drive with a little bit of a known brand.
I can’t blame myself as I have been bombarded by more aggressive brands with ads, agents and all sorts of marketing stuff.
Traveling with George Tapan meant longer trips on the road. Stopping at important and scenic spots, while driving to and around Bicol, Laguna and Cordillera. It was only him and me alternately driving. So for days, I got used to driving the Baic mini van.
At first glance, the Baic MZ40 look kinda awkward to me. As I am used to sedans and vans. But as I take a closer look at it, and the longer I look at it, the more it looks kinda neat. 🙂
With the basic set-up it has, it may not be fancy, but is pretty decent given the price tag.
It has 5 doors – 2 on each side and 1 at the back. The design, I believe is targeted either for small families wanting a mini van or for entrepreneurs who want their goods on mobile.
The interior of the Baic MZ40 is very basic and what is expected of given its price range. It is not as luxurious compared to more expensive vehicles, but I am pretty sure, it has what most might be needing.
Most of the interior is made of plastic. The gauges are mostly analog.
Even it is to be a very basic unit, yet it has centralized locks installed and power windows in the front.
I was surprised on how spacious it can be for an 8-seater compact van. The leg room at the back is adequate for the usual Filipino height.
The Baic MZ45 is a little bit bigger than the MZ40. It is an extended version of the MZ40, with additional space at the back.
A little downside is that it does not have an ABS technology system installed.
I am no expert on cars, especially on the technical part, but for a casual and everyday driver like me, who owns a car, I have to say that the Baic MZ40 exceeded my expectations. With hours of driving from Manila to Albay and back, plus, I drove it going to and around Cordillera region and back to Baguio.
My apprehensions slowly disappeared when I drove it myself the first time. When we traveled from Manila to Albay. Though I was a bit slow at start, considering I drive an automatic sedan for daily use, this manual mini van was a smooth drive in most part. I just find the third gear a bit noisy at times.
The Baic MZ45 is a bit longer and a bit heavier, I suppose than the MZ40. I drove an MZ45 when we went to Cordillera. I find the MZ40 to have better pull. I just don’t know if it goes across all MZ45 or just the one lent to us.
This 8-seater mini van from Baic is surprisingly powerful enough to run a city driving and even not-so ordinary terrains.
I drove a Baic MZ45 in rough roads going to the mountains of cordillera, and even very inclined uphill roads going to the farms and sites in Cordillera. This compact van also tried going through knee-deep water in Cagsawa.
So, overall, for the amount of nearly Php 500,000, it can be an option for those wanting to use this for business or for new vehicle purchase for family.
Parts and services are supported by Universal Motors Corporation in the Philippines.
QUICK SPECS: BAIC MZ40 1.2 MT
Engine: 1.2-liter variable-valve gasoline
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Power: 86hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 108Nm @ 4,400rpm
Drive layout: RWD
*Photos without LifestyleBucket watermark are properties of Mr. George Tapan.