Review Verdict: The Changan CS35 Plus in our review is, without a doubt, one of the best within its segment in the Philippines. It combines everything you would want in a vehicle: appealing exterior, modern interior, perky engine, and lively driving dynamics. At its current price it’s a sweet deal that could go up against the household name Geely Coolray.
- Engine: 1.4L Turbocharged Direct Injection
- Power: 158PS @ 5,500 RPM
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Transmission: 7-speed DCT
- Suspension: Front MacPherson Strut, Rear Torsion Beam
- Brakes: Front Ventilated Disc, Rear Solid Disc
- Attractive exterior styling
- Peppy powertrain and transmission
- Interior is well-thought out
- Comfortable ride
- Head unit UI could be better, rare bugs
- Heavy tailgate
Two days. That was the time we had with the 2022 Changan CS35 Plus which a friend kindly lent to us to use. Knowing little about the brand or the car, we decided to open our minds to give the most naturally-unbiased perspective ever. After those couple of days, consider us believers. There aren’t many, if any options we’d choose over this within its price range.
We were able to drive a Changan CS35 Plus in this Metallic Grey color. It perfectly showed off the car’s aggressive body lines and was a treat to look at, whether in the daytime or the nighttime. Smack dab at the front is an imposing grille that takes up a significant portion of the vehicle’s front fascia. It pulls off the “bigger grille” trend that we’ve been seeing across the automobile industry in recent times. There is definitely an intimidation factor, whether you see its design as chain mail or reptilian scales. Road presence? Check.
The LED front lights run across the car’s silhouette giving it an extra dose of modernity. Angular pieces also encapsulate the accessory lights, wrapped in a red garnish for a sportier aesthetic.
Even from the sides, it’s undeniable that this is one good-looking vehicle. It looks like a mishmash of the best angles from all its competitors, with small accessories in the right places to add a bit of personality. Some of these small details contribute a lot, such as the red accent and the Changan logo on the rear quarter panel. The wheels are also the perfect size at 18-inches and come in a design that isn’t generic by any stretch of the imagination.
Nothing really hangs from the car’s underbelly, so ground clearance is also impressive. You won’t face any issues with steep ramps or tall humps in this car. Of course, you wouldn’t take it to the country’s hardest off-road trails… or would you?
Moving on to the rear, things remain equally eye-catching. The design cues up front make their way to the other side, which shows in the taillight that runs across the car’s backside. A subtle “spoiler” hints at some sporting intent, while the authentic dual exhaust system supports this claim. How many cars have we seen with two tailpipes only to be disappointed that one or neither of them were real? That’s not the case here.
Normally the mesh-type pattern is overdone in some cars, but the Changan uses an acceptable amount of black plastics to keep it in check. It’s still a looker.
Unlike many vehicles in its segment, there’s plenty of color to be seen in the Changan CS35 Plus interior. It’s an elegant mix of red, black, and plasticky metallic finishes all around. It’s done classily and doesn’t come off as tacky. Right in front of the driver seat is the speedometer, which is unconventional in its design. You would think that the entire section is a display, but actually, only the small parts where the speed and revs are indicated as well as the center display are screens. The rest is a black panel with adjustable-colored lights depending on which driving mode the car is in.
To the immediate right is a sizeable panel with functionality for Bluetooth, radio, and a bevy of other features. This is also where the car’s driving modes are triggered. Surprisingly enough in 2022, it doesn’t come with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. It works well enough though – despite the look of the user interface being a little outdated. This display comes into use as well when parking the car as 3D cameras situated all over the vehicle guide you to park safely in your spot. For full disclosure, the head unit hung on us once; but it never occurred again.
As expected from the price point, the shiny metallic-looking materials are just plastic in disguise. However, these feel very solid and don’t rattle in traffic or when knocked on. The controls for the air conditioning system are manufactured in a very futuristic way featuring the same finishes we just mentioned. While we’re not sure what “FOREST AIR” means, the system cooled up the interior rather speedily and was convenient in actual usage. Under that is a small storage cubby with the capability for wireless charging – although phones on the larger side may not fit, like our tester’s 6.9-inch Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. Despite this tiny mishap, the dashboard definitely is well-put-together.
There are even some angles where you could mistake this for a pricier Lexus if you just squint a bit. The image above is our favorite example.
The center console runs through the car with the shifter right beside the driver. It has a unique shape following the car’s angular themes, and the buttons for the (auto) handbrake and 360 cameras are easily within reach. Leather armrests on both sides for the driver and the passenger exude comfortable luxury which is a shock at the price this car is offered at.
All the seats follow an identical Deadpool-esque red-and-black pattern that doesn’t tingle my tacky radar for being overdone. It is just right although my personal tastes would have appreciated a slightly deeper red to be used. Rear legroom is also sufficient for a vehicle of this size, with no issues seating 3 passengers of around 5 feet and 8 inches in height. Since the transmission tunnel barely makes a dent, 5 in the cabin is doable.
Rear passengers have access to a single airconditioning vent which may be a cause of conflict between the passengers on opposite sides. On a day hotter than usual, we can imagine an intense game of rock-paper-scissors to decide the fate of which side the vent will be facing.
Admittedly, the tailgate was a bit difficult to open due to its weight. There may be a lack of support here but those who aren’t used to automatic or motorized iterations won’t have an issue. It opens up to an advertised 403 liters of rear cargo space. That should be enough for road trip baggage, groceries, shopping, and all sorts of items. A small light can be found on the side to illuminate items in the dark. With the rear seats folded down, storage is more than doubled to 950 liters.
Comfort and Driving Dynamics
The Changan CS35 Plus makes use of a MacPherson Strut suspension at the front and torsion beams at the car’s rear. Due to this setup, the car is plenty comfortable and bumps were no issue at all. It’s no Maybach, but it gets the job done excellently for the price. There were no complaints about the ride quality whatsoever from passengers whether the car was basically empty or under full load.
Floor the throttle and the 1.4L turbocharged engine is ready to comply. It’s peppy and quick to get on its feet, which surprised us at first. Driving this brought smiles to our faces and we can’t imagine someone feeling dissatisfied with its grunt, unless they’re particularly looking for a sportscar. The powertrain is mated to a 7-speed DCT which won’t blow off the likes of Volkswagen’s DSG systems but is eons ahead of any CVT or traditional automatic slushbox in its segment. They definitely wanted to implement some sort of sportiness in the way this drives, which is proven by the adjustable steering controls. You can control steering feel to be lighter, or heavier and more direct like in a performance vehicle. This is an unexpected yet welcome surprise.
The Changan CS35 Plus, during our review time on expressways in the Philippines, felt very composed. Overtaking other vehicles and just cruising at high speeds instilled a sense of confidence. This is partly due to good sound insulation blocking out most of the road noise save for some wind. Cornering at medium speeds also posed no issues whatsoever.
The car comes with a slew of safety features as standard. This includes dual front, side, and curtain airbags, ABS, brake assist, stability control, hill descent control, and a 3D camera system to monitor your surroundings. Because of this, the car was incredibly easy to park even in the tightest spaces.
Changan CS35 Plus Review Philippines: Conclusion
The Changan CS35 Plus gains our approval in our quick review, especially for use in the Philippines. It’s a superb all-rounder that we could actually see ourselves using on a daily basis and enjoying. The brand has definitely left its mark on us with this model. Its interesting styling for both exterior and interior, meaty powertrain, compliant driving dynamics, and overall quality are hard to match. It’s a tremendous pick for the money. Of course, it’s not perfect; a few updates to the head unit and rear tailgate would be much appreciated. In this case though, the pros far outweigh the cons.
If you can look past the brand name like many consumers have done for Geely, then you’re in for a delightful value with this overall package.
The Changan CS35 Plus comes in three variants starting out at just PHP 898,000. This middle variant we have here is called the Hype and is priced at PHP 969,000, while the top-trim is the Luxe at Php 999,000.
Article From: HowToGeek