It seems like we’ve been spoiled in the subcompact crossover segment. Key players like Geely, Kia, and MG have capitalized on Filipinos’ wants when looking for a vehicle. Now, there is one more notable brand that’s launched something of note in the country, and that brand is Changan.
So here we have the Changan CS35 Plus. We’ll go a bit off tangent here and say that it will possibly be the next big hit in the country, properly equipped to take on rivals in its segment. The variant that Changan gave us is the mid-level Hype trim, but even if it wasn’t the top-spec model, we were thoroughly impressed regardless.
Engine Output (HP), Acceleration, Transmission, Handling 4.0/5
Exterior & Interior Design, Quality, Fit and Finish, Ergonomics 4.0/5
Cabin Comfort, Suspension, NVH Insulation 4.5/5
Convenience Technologies, Active and Passive Safety Features 4.0/5
Amount of the vehicle you get for the price, Fuel Efficiency 5.0/5
- Sharp handling and acceleration
- Novel front and rear LED lights
- Amazing value for money
- Infotainment system needs polish and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- Eager accelerator pedal may not appeal to all drivers
- Red interior upholstery might not be to everyone's liking
When you’re shopping in the subcompact crossover segment, you will find that there are two types of designs, the ones that are simpler in execution, and others that are rather opulent. On this scale, the Changan is one of the more adorned models we’ve seen so far. It’s up there with other sales leaders in the segment in terms of design as it does have an appealing look that capitalizes on some very modern design cues such as daytime running lights that span the width of the front grille, LED lighting, as well as a mesh grille. The red trim on the side is also in a satin finish which is almost unheard of at this price point. You also get
Overall, it’s best to draw your own conclusions about the CS35, but at least to us, it’s a step above the rest of the competition in terms of how well-equipped it is for the price (more on that later, it’s very competitive). Changan employed a modern design that takes a few pieces from other manufacturers but does it in such a way that is unique to the model. The prior iteration may have looked a little boxy, but this generation’s the one to get if you are shopping around for a crossover from a brand that is looking for a chance.
On the more technical side, the CS35 Plus has 18-inch wheels and gets ample ground clearance to tackle the terrain of the city and beyond. The lights are similar to what you can find on way more expensive vehicles, which is to say that the cut-off is great and the strength of the high or low beams is enough for a modern vehicle. It’s a good thing that Chagnan didn’t fit it with halogens.
Stepping inside, we were greeted with an interior that matched the exterior’s attention to detail and design. Finished in red-and-black leather upholstery, we felt that the execution was neither tacky nor overdone, though it might not be for everyone. Caco stated in his review that he would have preferred the red upholstery to be more of an accent. However, the leather was soft yet supportive enough for long or short drives. The dashboard is reminiscent of higher-end European cars especially with the digital displays being situated close together nearly giving the impression that it is one continuous display.
You may even say that it looks a little Benz-like or BMW-like. Perhaps Changan did take a page out of Germany’s design powerhouses, but it was neither too apparent nor too similar for us to be so distressed by it. Other than that, space in the rear was plenty adequate. We managed to fit three rather wide individuals at the rear. It was a bit tight, but legroom was plenty for those of average to taller-than-average Filipino male height. The panoramic sunroof also contributes to the atmosphere in the cabin. You can let a lot of light into the cabin by opening up the shade, and the glass spans from the driver all the way to the rear passenger area. There’s also an armrest for rear passengers, so even if this is a subcompact crossover, it’s well-adorned for its class.
Apart from that, there isn’t much to say about the CS35 Plus’ interior other than it’s a well-trimmed and finished cabin. Other cars in the price range often come with plastic all over the place, but the Changan makes you feel quite special. The cargo space in the Changan is also enough for overnight bags or even some hard case luggage. If you have only two passengers, the rear seats fold flat which allows for more massive items to be stored, nearing the cargo capacities of some compact crossovers. At 950 liters of cargo space with the rear seats folded, it’s rather big and serviceable. While the seats are up, the number is at 402 liters.
Driving on bad pavement is totally fine, and the Changan was able to adapt well to all the unevenness of roads like Commonwealth Avenue, EDSA, and even C5’s truck lane. The chassis soaked up the potholes quite well and there was no sense of the suspension tiring or bottoming out even with occupants in the seats. Getting into your preferred driving position is also adequately easy. You have a manual adjustment for your recline, but an electronic rail that will allow you to dial in the perfect distance to the steering wheel. That’s good, however, the steering wheel does not telescope so expect your legs to bend if you’re tall.
Noise does creep up on you a little when you’re on the highway, but that’s just from the tires. Otherwise, the NVH is great considering the price point that this car is at, and considering that its chassis doesn’t make noise when going over bumps nor does it get that upset.
For its price, the Changan CS35 Plus is quite overloaded, but lacking in certain areas. First off, the infotainment system does not come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so it’s back to the traditional phone mount and Bluetooth connection while you drive. It’s a good thing that it comes with wireless charging as well so you can just leave your phone in the cubby while it remains connected to your car’s infotainment. The screen is otherwise bright and clear, and Changan even bundles it with a 360-degree camera system that’s smart enough to detect if you’re making a turn. Parking was made plenty easy as well with the system, but it did suffer a little in terms of image quality at night. Still, however, it’s a nice and usable system that makes the Changan CS35 Plus feel even smaller than it already is. However, the graphics are a little on the undeveloped side of things. It’s a little bit unpolished when it comes to how the interface looks, plus the lack of a volume knob is perhaps our biggest complaint with the CS35 Plus’ infotainment system.
On top of that, it also has some creature comforts like heated mirrors. If you think about it, your mirrors may fog up during the rainy season, so having something like this is pretty nifty and it promotes safety by giving you a clear view of your sides. The view from the driver’s seat is great as well with the large TFT display showing you everything that you need at a glance. It’s quite interesting to see a numerical readout of your engine speed without using needles, but that’s not a part of the TFT display and it cannot be changed save for the color of the inner dial.
There are a bunch of other features as well, and the overall package is astounding considering the segment that the CS35 competes in. We will say that the model needs a little more polish with regard to the infotainment system and the clarity of the cameras, but other than that it’s a great start considering all that it’s got. Oh, and what do we mean by overloaded? Think automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, front collision warning, and engine remote start.
The top-spec CS35 Plus comes with up to six airbags, which include driver, front passenger, side, and curtain bags. Also, you get the aforementioned front collision warning, automatic emergency braking, as well as the standard ABS with EBD, and brake assist, hill hold control, hill descent control, reverse parking sensors, engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitoring system, ISOFIX tethers, and much more.
The safety package in the CS35 should be enough to keep you safe if an accident were to occur, but what’s more important is that it can also help prevent a crash by using its adaptive cruise system to pump the brakes.
Driving and Handling
Powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injection engine mated to a 7-speed wet dual-clutch transmission (DCT). With a power rating of 158 hp and 260 Nm of torque, the Changan behaves excitedly and in a hurry when you stab the accelerator. The transmission certainly helps make the experience a lot better and it’s a good thing that Changan gave it a DCT instead of a CVT. The shifting isn’t that fast like more performance-oriented gearboxes, but it’s secure enough while in traffic or while going full throttle. Even with driving modes, the car feels like it’s perpetually in sport mode, which is a good thing for us, but not so much with Caco when he took it out. Our esteemed video host preferred a smooth accelerator pedal, so it depends on your preference, ultimately.
Handling, however, is another high point for the CS35 Plus. The steering is very direct and offers a ton of fun behind the wheel if you like driving mountain roads. Around town, you will find that the car likes to dart left and right with a very responsive feeling. Cornering with the CS35’s a very fun experience since it is a crossover that’s not meant to go around corners well, but it does. The chassis takes bumps well and feels quite playful when turning.
The Changan CS35 Plus was surprisingly fun to drive and felt unexpectedly sharp. The car feels a little lighter than it actually is because of the steering lightness and the torquey engine. If you like to drive, we recommend that you test out the CS35 Plus. You might feel a rush of excitement as you first take it out and experience the car while it is new.
For city driving, expect the CS35 to get 7 km/L which is only okay as a city figure. The car tends to drink a bit especially when paired with hellish metro traffic, but on the highway, if you’re gentle with the throttle, it can get up to 21 km/L. Then if you hit slower-moving traffic on the highway, you can get up to 14 km/L.
It’s not the greatest figures on planet earth, but at least it does decently for a car of its segment given that it returns a lot of performance for every drop of fuel that you inject in.
Price and Verdict
As tested, the Hype variant of the Changan CS35 Plus retails for P969,000 which is an absolute steal considering that it’s made well and drives well. However, there were a few things that Changan could have done better with it with regard to the polish of the infotainment and the quality of its 360-degree monitor. The execution in practice is great, however, but that’s just small potatoes compared to how the car actually is in the real world.
As a budget-friendly crossover option in the Philippines, the CS35 Plus is definitely one car to consider. Even the top-spec Luxe variant is priced at under a million pesos. That’s amazing and makes us wonder where the heck is Changan Philippines making money? Other than that, we have to ask just how much is Changan in China charging, and how are they making cars this good for this little money? Really, we’re bamboozled.
Exterior Photo Gallery
Interior Photo Gallery
Performance158 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Name Changan CS35 Plus 1.4 DCT Hype Body Type Crossover Price ₱1,259,000 Transmission Category Automatic
Engine Size 1.4 L Displacement 1,373 cc Number of Cylinders 4 Number of Valves 16 Transmission Type 7-speed DCT
Drivetrain Front-Wheel Drive Max Output (HP) 158 hp @ 5,500 rpm Max Torque (nm) 260 Nm @ 1,500 rpm *Acceleration Rate (0-100 km/h) n/a Top Speed n/a *estimated
Economy & Environment
Fuel Type Gasoline CO2 Emission n/a Fuel Capacity 53 L *Fuel Consumption n/a *Range n/a *estimated
Length 4,330 mm Width 1,825 mm Height 1,660 mm Wheelbase 2,600 mm Turning Circle n/a Ground Clearance n/a Wading Depth n/a Trunk Capacity 403 L Max Cargo n/a Number of Doors 5 Number of Seats 5
Safety & Security
Driver's Airbag Front Passenger's Airbag Side Airbags Curtain Airbags Knee Airbag Auto Brake System Electronic Brake Distribution Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) Immobilizer Security Alarm Stability Control Electronic Door Locks Speed Sensing Door Locks ISOFIX Lane Departure Warning System Blind-Spot Detection System
Cruise Control Front Parking Sensors Rear Parking Sensors Leather Upholstery Push Start Button Wheel Size 18 in Wheels Metal Type Alloy Airconditioning System Automatic Air-Conditioning Entertainment System 10-inch infotainment system Connectivity Aux-in, Bluetooth, USB, and Screen mirroring Navigation Ready Warranty 5 Years (150,000 km) Keyless Entry Roof Rack Sunroof Electric Adjustable Seats Power Steering Power Windows Power Outlet Steering Wheel Audio Control
Active Park Assist Hill Start Assist AWD Modes n/a Tire Pressure Monitoring Heads-up Display Power Liftgate Start-stop System
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