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Monday, August 1, 2022

Review: 2022 Changan Alsvin 1.5 Platinum DCT


The name, Alsvin has certainly raised some eyebrows. At first, it seems this new sub-compact sedan from Changan has a typo in its name. While the automaker has provided no definitive reason behind its name, “Alsvin,” is actually a mythical Norse horse which also happens to mean, “swift.” Now, whether that’s an intentional shot across Suzuki’s bow is something best left to the imagination.

Whatever the logic behind the Alsvin name, one thing’s for sure: whether it’s in China or the Philippines, it’s aimed squarely at first-time car buyers. With a price topping out at P 739,000 for this top-of-the-line Platinum, it is one of the more affordable new cars in the market today. However, don’t let the low barrier to entry fool you: it scores extremely high in the value quotient, and for that comes across as a very pleasant surprise.



Changan markets the Alsvin as a rival to B-segment sedans. While that’s true because of its powertrain and impressive specs, one key dimension—wheelbase—means it’s actually half a size smaller. Its 2,535 mm wheelbase places it in the same category as the Mitusbishi Mirage G4 (2,550 mm).

However, compared to the Mirage G4, the Alsvin is neatly styled since it manages to avoid the “hatch with a trunk” trope. The designers, it seems, have taken better care in giving this sub-compact sedan better proportions. As a whole, the design is generic—emphasized even more in this shade of refrigerator white (Changan calls is Snow White), but at least they’ve made some effort in trying to spruce it up. Cues like the “butterfly-wing” radiator grille, projector-type headlights (with separate LED DRLs), side mirror signal indicators, and 15-inch alloy wheels all make it look neat.



Considering the price tag, the build quality is alright—the doors and trunk all slam shut properly and the body panels all line up straight. However, dig deeper and you’ll start to notice things like the visible welds by the door jambs and trunk. It also doesn’t have any kind of engine undercover. These aren’t deal breakers per se, but it also reminds you of its very humble origins.

Despite its rather compact exterior dimensions, the Alsvin can still seat four adults in comfort. It also gets a sunroof and hard-wearing (but decidedly un-luxurious) leather seats. Upfront, the dashboard has a very strong Mazda-esque design—likely influenced by Changan’s joint-venture with the Japanese automaker. A floating 7-inch touchscreen with steering wheel controls and Bluetooth is standard, and thankfully a break from typical China car norms, comes with a row of physical buttons too. The interface is easy enough to understand, but be ready to navigate through some layers of “Chinglish.” Also, it’s weird but for fans of FM radio, the roof-mounted antenna is prone to a lot of interference.



Ergonomically, the Alsvin’s solid. The driver gets a flat-bottomed (urethane-finished) steering wheel and a 6-way manual adjustable driver’s seat. The steering column only adjusts for tilt, but getting a comfy driving position is easy enough. The instrumentation, while straightforward, is somewhat convoluted. The decision to implement a center analog speedometer and digital tachometer is weird to say the least since legibility dictates it should have been the other way around.

Because it’s a commuter car, the Alsvin doesn’t need to clear a high bar when it comes to driving dynamics, and low and behold it doesn’t. However, it does serve up a surprise, particularly with its 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. The outputs themselves—107 horsepower and 145 Nm of torque—aren’t anything special, but the secret here is down to the transmission it’s connected to. In a unique twist, the Bluecore VVT engine isn’t connected to a conventional torque converter automatic or CVT; rather, it uses a 5-speed wet-type dual clutch automatic. Admittedly, the shift quality isn’t as smooth or transparent as a conventional automatic, especially at low gears, but it trades that for a sense of directness. No doubt there’s far less drivetrain power loss too contributing to a 11.49 km/L—easily one of the best in the small sedan segment. For this test drive, it was fueled with 95 RON octane Petron XCS which contains additives that promote fuel efficiency while also keeping the engine protected and clean.



The chassis that drivetrain’s attached too is also quite run-of-the-mill. There’s copious amounts of body roll when tossed around, but at least it’s pliant enough to soak up Manila’s worst. If there’s an issue, it’s down to the decision to fit questionable OE tires (in this case, Hero Atlanta AR01s). They break traction easily, are noisy, and don’t really excel in wet weather. If you’re considering to get an Alsvin, heed this advice: invest in a good set of reputable tires.

The shoddy tires aside, the Alsvin, at least, comes packing a full suite of safety features. Not only are dual SRS airbags, ABS with EBD, reverse camera, and tire pressure monitoring standard, but so are electronic stability control with hill hold control, and reverse parking sensors. This Platinum variant also gets a blind spot view camera too. That said, based on the way it’s angled, it’s more of a curb-facing camera rather than a facsimile of Honda’s LaneWatch. Still, it does help in preventing curb rashes and navigating tight turns.



All things considered, how does the Alsvin fare? Well, let’s conclude everything with its Chinese Domestic Market name: 悦翔. Anglicized as Yuexiang, it means “soaring happiness.” Although it doesn’t really give enthusiasts a reason to smile, it does provide a genuine mobility option to first-time car buyers; buyers who would have otherwise compromised with a small, dinky hatchback or a second-hand car.

Changan says the Alsvin is a sedan that “exceeds everyday demands and expectations” and considering its array of features, it’s job done. If there’s anything going against this sub-compact, it’s the price tag. To recall, when it was launched the 1.5 Platinum cost just P 679,000 (P 639,000 introductory). Today, it’s now up to P 739,000. While it’s still cheaper than the likes of the Mirage G4, Suzuki Dzire, and even the entry-level Vios with an automatic gearbox, its value advantage isn’t as big as it once was. And considering that value for money is exactly what most Alsvin buyers are looking for, Changan might have eliminated one of its major purchase considerations.



2022 Changan Alsvin 1.5 Platinum DCT

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Ownership 2022 Changan Alsvin 1.5 Platnium DCT
Year Introduced 2020
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact Sedan
Warranty 5 years / 150,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 4-door Sedan
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 107 @ 5,500
Nm @ rpm 145 @ 4,000-4,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 93~
Transmission 5DCT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 11.49 km/L @ 14 km/h
(Fueled with Petron XCS)
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,390
Width (mm) 1,725
Height (mm) 1,490
Wheelbase (mm) 2,535
Curb Weight (kg) 1,115
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Parking Brake Manual
Tires Hero Atlanta AR01 185/55 R 15 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Blind Spot Camera
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Rear
Auto Lights No
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Urethane
Seating Adjustment (driver) 6-way, Manual
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) 4-way, Manual
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat No
Sunroof Yes
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Rear View Mirror Day/Night
Proximity Key No
Climate Control Manual
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
Smartphone Connectivity None
# of Speakers 4
Steering Controls Yes

17 comments:

  1. I would get a vios over this. Maybe a honda city if the budget permits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At its introductory price of P 639K (even its old SRP of P 679K), it was an easier pill to swallow. At P 739K, it's turning bitter.

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    2. Cheapest City is at 938k now.

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  2. Changan do give away cash discounts on this car (80k up to 90k Pesos discounts) that's why its still selling very well.

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    Replies
    1. TBH, it's actually a better drive than the Mirage G4...but they shouldn't have increased the SRP (even if they give discounts). It's a weird strategy.

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    2. Ok nayan kay kotchi99, gaya ng overpriced nyang mirage g4. Dual clutch sucks, im not surprised with changan priced increased - after all its the new HARI (from hyundae) LOL

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    3. Geely also increased its prices..DCT of Changan is actually decent.
      CVT isn't that reliable

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  3. I like how the chinese have really upped the game and continue to do so. I think the more pressing question is no longer on the quality/reliability of these cars, but rather the after sales support. If Changan can guarantee availability of parts (which they claim is already on the works), then this would definitely be worth considering in the segment.

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    Replies
    1. Not yet...maybe in a decade or two. For now h bter to spend ur hard earned money on established brand that produced reliable cars thru decades of experience.

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    2. Changan Philippines is handled by HARI

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    3. HARI isn't exactly the best in aftersales

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  4. Alsvin and the chipmunks...

    Kidding aside, a few more years might give us better insights if Changan is worth the spend here in PH.

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  5. I have to comment 1st before I continue reading this article coz i can't stop laughing at the "refrigerator white" hahaha! bwisit ka sir uly kamuntik pumasok sa ilong ko yung kape!!!

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    Replies
    1. The flat/non-pearlescent white should be called "taxi white".

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  6. Why Alsvin? Sana Alvin S nalang. Hahaha.

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  7. Alsvin is actually how Coco Martin pronounces "Alvin". Ang Taga Siyudad.

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  8. This car is no good at all. Stupid name too. Y'all should get a Vios instead

    ReplyDelete

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