If you’re looking for a car that will leave you amazed, the Changan CS55 Plus might just be the car you’ve been waiting for.
There was a time when getting the best features, comfort, design, and quality in a car meant paying a hefty price. There was also a time when opting for Japanese or European cars could get you the specifications and on-paper performance you desired. However, things have changed now, as Chinese cars have come a long way since their imitation days and have charted their own course in the automotive industry.
One brand that has established its identity is Changan. Though they have several notable models in their lineup, the CS55 Plus caught our attention.
Design – Changan Nails It
Changan has been excelling in its design department, introducing cars one after another that possess high levels of appeal, particularly for budget-conscious buyers. In the past, cars in certain price points didn’t evoke a sense of luxury or delight. The CS55 Plus from Changan might just challenge that perception, as its pricing in the segment doesn’t reveal how stylish the crossover truly is, but more on that later.
Upon first glance, we knew this model would give its rivals a run for their money. Unlike other models in its category, the CS55 Plus boasts sharp and aggressive lines, especially in the front. Its massive grille and accent colors in gold and red (depending on the variant) add visual interest and appeal to the car. While it could be said to draw inspiration from Lexus’ grille and headlight shape, Changan has given it its own unique twist. This combination creates the illusion of a vehicle from one of the premier premium brands in the market, something typically associated with those brands only. However, Changan chose to stand out.
Additionally, both the front and rear of the model feature all-LED lighting. Changan spared no expense, equipping the CS55 Plus with the latest and greatest LED technologies available in the market today for its headlights and taillights, resulting in an impressive appearance even on dimly lit roads.
But is it all about the design? No, this model also offers substance under the hood and inside the cabin.
Under the Hood – Powerful and Advanced
The CS55 Plus takes advantage of one of Changan’s powertrain options and packages it in a capable setup for most daily tasks and drives out of town. The Changan CS55 Plus is equipped with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 185 hp and 300 Nm of torque, surpassing most other 1.5-liter-equipped rivals in the market today. Furthermore, it comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that performed well in our tests.
Driving the CS55 Plus is a satisfying experience, with the four-cylinder engine delivering smooth power throughout its rev range. The Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) makes long drives much easier, especially on highways. The standout feature here is the adaptive cruise control, which adds a touch of autonomy to the car. Of course, you still need to keep your hands on the steering wheel for absolute peace of mind, but the radar system takes care of slowing down or speeding up based on the vehicle ahead of you. Additionally, the blind spot monitoring system aids in lane changes. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and the CS55 Plus has a decent amount of power and weight. Nevertheless, the additional safety features shoulder the responsibility of driving. Traction control, stability control, ABS, brake assist, hill hold control, hill descent control, rollover mitigation, and rear parking sensors are just the tip of the iceberg for this model. Fully equipped and ready to drive, it’s well-prepared for any journey.
Under the Chassis – Comfort on the Road
The CS55 Plus’ monocoque chassis is designed for road comfort. The set of springs and dampers were carefully thought out to handle the conditions of Philippine roads. The MacPherson Strut in the front and multi-link in the rear result in a fully independent setup, guaranteeing a smooth and comfortable ride. In simple terms, it offers one of the smoothest rides you’ll encounter in its price range.
In the Cabin – Refinement and Technology
As a five-seater, the CS55 Plus offers a level of refinement not commonly seen at this price point. Everything is more or less on par with its rivals, if not better in several aspects. While the CS55 Plus may not be the most luxurious, you can’t argue with the price and the amount of tech and features you get. Simply sitting in the leather seats is enough to convince many buyers, and sitting in the back is equally enjoyable. Ample leg and headroom create a level of comfort that even more expensive cars in its class or elsewhere may struggle to match. It competes and exceeds expectations within its segment and beyond, which is what we enjoyed during our time with the car.
You also get some of the best technology features available in its class, with everything digital, from the instrument panel to the infotainment system. It’s a remarkable experience when these displays come to life. Apple users will be delighted, as the CS55 Plus comes with Bluetooth and wireless charging for audio and topping up your phone’s battery. Additionally, it features Apple CarPlay connectivity, allowing you to seamlessly connect and use the infotainment screen as an extension of your phone.
Practicality in Numbers – Versatile and Convenient
While the CS55 Plus may not be an extreme off-roader, it is versatile enough for most drives, both within and outside the city. With a ground clearance of 171 mm, you won’t have to worry about speed humps or potholes damaging the underside of the car. Furthermore, its turning circle of just 11 meters makes it surprisingly maneuverable. The spacious cargo area of 475 liters (expandable to 1,415 liters with the rear seats folded down) provides enough room for all your belongings. Some variants even come with an electric tailgate, eliminating the need to lift or close the rear door.
So, Is It a Game Changer?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t completely revolutionize the SUV segment, but it does make a significant impact. Changan surprised the market with the launch of the CS55 Plus in the compact SUV category, as it offers many sought-after features for consumers. Priced at less than 1,400,000 pesos, it’s hard to find a better deal from another brand. While other brands may offer similar specifications and refinement, Changan seems to offer much more technology and features at a very competitive price. Coupled with its premium design, it becomes a powerful challenger in the market.
While it may not be entirely changing the game right now, it’s on its way to becoming the next model that defines the segment, making it a potential game changer.