Changan CS55 First Drive Impressions

Changan Philippines showed promise in the country when it was first launched, and then even more so when the CS35 Plus was launched. The rest of the lineup didn’t seem too exciting in comparison, however, this new compact crossover from the brand is a little more interesting, to say the least. 

For now, we can see it going up against the likes of the Ford Territory, serving as a viable alternative to the Toyota Corolla Cross in some respects, and beating out other similar rivals. Specs-wise, it’s hard to deny that the CS55 Plus has a lot going for it, but what is it like to drive? Well, Changan Philippines took us straight from their stockyard in Laguna and straight to Baguio in order to test it out. 

Changan CS55 Plus Exterior Driving

It’s a good-looking vehicle, and it’s plenty presentable for most people. The general consensus that our group figured is that the CS55 Plus had an attractive design overall in neutral colors and in the Luxe trim. Changan chose to go with gold accents for this model for a more neutral look, but it looks a little out of place on the red color of this model and looks stunning in the Blue, Grey, and White colors. That is unless you like Iron Man’s color scheme, then that’s totally fine as well. 

Apart from that, you get a full suite of LED headlights, taillights, and DRLs on this car, and you’ll find a lot of the lights come in an atypical shape, especially that rear third brake light on the spoiler. As for the rest of the car, it comes in at 4,515mm long, 1.865mm wide, and 1,680mm tall on a wheelbase that is 2,656mm long, putting it squarely in the compact crossover segment. Some would say that the styling of the CS55 Plus is more upmarket compared to its other rivals and we’re inclined to agree. Let’s just say that it definitely does not look like its price tag suggests. 

Changan CS55 Plus Wheels

The vehicle rolls on 19-inch alloy wheels, which is acceptable in its design. It’s a little odd to see a few boxes on an otherwise sharp and curved car, but it gets the job done and they were wrapped in some Dunlop tires. 

Changan CS55 Plus Interior

It’s a nice break from the normal Chinese car this time around, as almost every part of the interior was solid and of quality. While we spent the better part of the trip driving, we did notice that all of the major touch points were solid, and didn’t detract from the passenger or the driving experience of the CS55 Plus. The seats were nice and comfy and had decent padding on them. On top of that, the seats were also motorized, which allowed us to find our preferred driving positions whenever there was a driver change on the way to Baguio. 

The rest of the cabin was spacious, with a ton of room in the rear for cargo and four passengers. Even tall individuals were able to comfortably sit in the back of the CS55 Plus with room to spare. During the trip, we were able to fit four people inside the cabin with ease, but we felt that a fifth passenger could have been accommodated with little to no problems. Following that, the cabin looked good and had a sort of fighter pilot aesthetic about it. It was futuristic, no doubt, and it felt like a unique design given the other offerings in the segment and price bracket. 

Changan CS55 Plus

Equipped with a fully-independent suspension setup, the Changan CS55 Plus felt good on provincial and city roads. It also felt good to drive on the highway with minimal wind noise. The only con is that the tires that Changan opted for in the vehicle were a little on the noisy side of things. Being economy-spec Dunlop tires, however, this was within the margin of acceptability. Once you upgrade to a more premium set of tires, however, you can expect things to be very quiet and comfy inside this vehicle. 

One thing that bugged us though, was the lack of a privacy cover at the rear. It’s likely that Changan decided to leave the accessory behind since they knew we would be loading the rear up to the brim with our stuff. However, the rear cargo space was plenty but it did get a little cramped once we fitted all our laptops, camera gear, and clothes for the weekend at the back.

First things first, the 12.3-inch infotainment system would have been great if only it had Android Auto thrown in the mix. Two out of four people in the car during our journey were on Android phones, so half the time we were relying on our colleagues with Apple devices in order to display maps on the gorgeous display. As for the multimedia experience, this is one of the first times that we’ve experienced a premium audio system inside a Chinese vehicle. Pioneer lent Changan its ear and supplied the brand with a six-speaker setup for its CS55 Plus in the Luxe trim, and it sounded great. 

While the CS55 Plus has a ton of features, the stuff that we found ourselves using the most was the around-view camera, the power tailgate, the sound system, Apple CarPlay, radar cruise control, and a gorgeous 10-inch gauge cluster. It was a little finicky to use at first, but it had a lot of information to display such as lane-keeping info, speed, a G-force sensor, and fuel economy information. 

We had a bit of a problem with navigating the menus, and there is also a voice command feature baked in, but it’s a little finicky to work with some items in the menus, and the voice command function is a little half-baked for the time being. 

Changan CS55 Plus Driving

We took the Changan CS55 Plus through a plethora of conditions and roads. We took it on long stretches of highway, tight city streets, and mountain roads which includes the infamous Kennon road. 

While driving slowly, the CS55 Plus is easy to steer thanks to its electronic power steering doing a ton of the work needed to turn the wheels, but 7-speed dual-clutch transmission was a little bit finicky at low speed, often taking a second or two to engage and launch from a stop. There were times when the vehicle was running smoothly and a few hiccups where the delay was very noticeable, and it’s a point of consideration especially on inclines or in stop-and-go city traffic. 

Changan CS55 Plus Driving

On the highway, however, the transmission was more behaved and gear changes were smooth and steady. It’s definitely no sports car when it shifts and the throttle is in need of a tune. For the majority of our time driving with the CS55 Plus, we used sport mode as it offered the best response for when we wanted to overtake on the highway. However, the adaptive cruise control system has a few growing pains on the way to it being perfect. For starters, the lane keep assist is a little too aggressive when turning the wheel and it may scare you. The emergency braking function doesn’t adapt to when you are signaling and has a tendency to slow you down mid-overtake because it detects the car that you’re overtaking. 

On the mountain roads, the car performed well and Changan’s safety systems kept us in line and in control of the vehicle in case there was wheel spin, a loss of traction, or when we were hard on the brakes. Perhaps the main complaint that we have of the CS55 with more dynamic driving is its suspension, as it is not super confidence-inspiring in the corners. It’s stable, but the weight of the car paired with the comfortable suspension made us drive a little more cautiously, especially on Kennon road.  Still, it’s a safe car to take out on these kinds of journeys, granted we were pushing it a little during each of our stints, and the stability control warning light blinked quite a few times to tell us that it was working. Still, we had plenty of fun blasting through the mountains given how out of character it is for a crossover like this to be doing things like that. 

Changan CS55 Plus

Initial impressions are good, there are a few cons that you will have to deal with but none of them are absolute deal breakers. For P1,373,000, however, you may have to give it a bit of thought. The best value for the CS55 Plus would be the mid-level Hype trim, but if you value adaptive cruise control and if you find yourself on the highway often, then it’s worth considering the top-of-the-line Luxe variant that Changan offers, which is the one that we tested here. 

However, neither this Changan nor its competitors are absolutely perfect. The CS55 Plus is also a standout in its segment because of the value it presents coupled with a powerful motor and a long list of features. On top of that, the exterior and interior feel quality and has a comfortable air about them even on long drives. It remains to be seen whether this model will be a game changer for the segment, but it’s definitely a game changer within Chagan’s own lineup, picking up where the CS35 Plus left off and offering a fully-featured and quality crossover for a price that’s hard to resist. 



1.5 L

Fuel Type



185 hp @ 5,500 rpm




Name Changan CS55 Plus Luxe 1.5 DCT
Body Type Crossover
Price ₱1,310,000
Transmission Category Automatic



Economy & Environment


Safety & Security



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