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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Review: 2022 Changan CS75 Plus


Life be beautiful like summer flowers and death like autumn leaves. It’s weird to open this review with a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, but given how it’s so prominently displayed on the Changan CS75 Plus’ touchscreen each time you turn it on, it’s got to mean something. And after a week of driving it, I think I’ve got it. The poem, which talks about the fleeting nature of life, also happens to aptly summarize this compact SUV.

To be fair, at P 1,379,000, the CS75 Plus represents a big plus (pardon the pun) in terms of value. You simply can’t get anything of this size at this price. Measuring in at 4,690 mm (wheelbase is at 2,710 mm), it’s half a size larger than most compact SUVs, and seeing it parked next to my Mazda CX-5 is a constant reminder of that. Mind you, it’s not like I’m comparing Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart here, there’s no denying that this Chinese SUV’s big.



All that girth is even more exaggerated by its larger-than-life styling. I congratulate Changan for coming up with their own unique design language as opposed to just, you know, tracing someone else’s. Depending on your point of view, it’s inspired either by Hollywood monsters or the Batmobile. Upfront, there’s the Predator-like maw, sinisterly slim LED headlights, and ducting that looks like it can swallow small dogs whole. Towards the back, there’s a two-piece, vertically-oriented third brake light and Demogorgon-like rear taillights.

For all intents and purposes, the CS75 Plus is one decent, no, pleasantly designed SUV. But lots of work’s needed when it comes to globalizing the man-machine interface. For one, the infotainment system needs some time to boot up and when it does, it’s laggy. This is a shame not only because the resolution’s quite good, but because there’s an overreliance on on-screen menus and prompts, simple tasks like changing the cabin temperature becomes a frustrating exercise. Second, it also deserves an award for having the most confusing interface. A week of prodding around, and I still can’t do basic tasks like changing the clock settings and swapping audio sources without relying on the steering wheel controls. Sometimes, I’d happen to chance through a sub-menu only to completely forget how to get back there. And lastly, there’s plenty of Chinglish to go around like, “Turn on Bluetooth, think music Sync pone, play more free.” Uh…what?



The same can be said with the rest of the CS75 Plus’s tech package. While they look impressive on paper, its execution leaves little to be desired. The 360-degree camera, for example, not only has its warning splattered vertically, but the cameras aren’t as high-res as the wonderful screen would allow. The same’s true with the so-called blind spot cameras, which like in the Alsvin, are angled more like curb cameras. Supposedly, they activate whenever the turn signal is switched on at slow speeds (around 30 km/h), but if you signal from anything higher than that, they don’t switch on automatically when you slow down. This reduces its usefulness in everyday driving situations.

The CS75 Plus’s issue with its onboard software drags down what could have otherwise been a well-executed interior. Like its bold exterior design, the bordello red color motif won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but hey, at least it’s original. It’s softly-padded everywhere with well-positioned controls to boot. Generally, the switchgear’s quite alright, but there are still some eco car bits, particularly the steering wheel toggles. Meanwhile, the capacitive controls for the climate control are a nice touch, but because they don’t work unless the OS completely boots up you’ll have to wait as much as 30 seconds before being able to turn the darn thing on.



The front seats are cushy, comfy, and supportive—perfect even for long drives or stints behind the wheel. And while the driver’s seat only moves in six directions, getting a good seating position’s easy. The steering wheel and pedals also align well enough to promote an ergonomically-sound posture. The rear seats are just as good with large amounts of space, support, and even adjustable recline. At the back, the cargo hold is quite expansive at 620 liters with the rear seats up. With the rear seats down, it grows to a whopping 1,450-liter space and the load space is remarkably flat throughout.

Now, the CS75 Plus’s plus-sized proportions should also mean a heavier curb weight, right? Based on the official spec sheet, yup, that’s pretty much the case. Tipping the scales at 1,625 kilograms, this thing is hefty. Of course, this raises a question on whether the boosted 1.5-liter 4-cylinder can pull all that mass. Thankfully, it does. However, don’t expect it to be particularly exciting. Instead, the 178 horsepower, 265 Nm engine gives it a strong, but largely unremarkable driving experience. Push down on the accelerator and there’s adequate low-end pull. The engine’s quite vocal from the outside, so thankfully, the amount of interior sound-deadening manages to quell everything inside.



In a pleasant twist, Changan resisted the urge to fit a dual clutch transmission on the CS75 Plus as most other Chinese brands have. Instead, this one uses a torque converter 6-speed automatic. With that, the driving experience is smooth, refined, and most important of all, free from shift shock or shift confusion. Sure, there are still occurrences where the ratios feel off, like they aren’t well-matched to the engine, but these instances are few and far between.

Despite its hefty curb weight and seemingly taxed powertrain, fuel economy remains decent at 7.35 km/L (average speed of 15 km/h). Like the Alsvin, the CS75 Plus can subsist on 93 RON octane fuel, but for best results, you can use 95 RON octane fuel like Petron XCS. Formulated as a fuel that answers the Filipino driver’s needs, it has additive chemistries that promote fuel efficiency, so a full tank goes a long way. It also keeps your engine protected and clean as you drive.



Matching the engine’s overall demeanor, the CS75 Plus’s handling is, there’s better way to put it, cushy. In fact, it’s way too soft that it’s tantamount to being floaty. Whenever you go through undulating and corrugated roads, there’s always this extra rebound, like a delay in what the car’s doing and what the road conditions are. This creates a boat-like sensation and questions whether you’ve got a busted shock absorber (you don’t). Once or twice, it can even cause car sickness even if you’re the done driving. Thankfully, when the road smoothens out or when the speeds go up, the entire experience smoothens itself out creating a ride that’s actually comparable to larger, plusher SUVs.

Naturally, the softly sprung suspension doesn’t work wonders on the CS75 Plus’s handling. Even with changeable steering efforts and drive modes, this thing doesn’t come alive. Mind you, this is an SUV, so it doesn’t actually have to clear a high bar in terms of driver involvement. Here, it’s like you’re playing Gran Turismo. It also tips and feels top heavy through bends with its copious amounts of body roll. Even during straight line braking, there’s noticeable dive.



Like the poem displayed each time you boot the CS75 Plus, it’s fleeting in the way it can impress or un-impress. It’s refreshing that even before you drive it off, Changan’s already telling you that, right in your face. On one hand, it’s head-turning design, well-appointed interior, and large for its class size are notable checks in the “Pros” column. On the other, the lack-luster dynamics and god-awful infotainment system are the biggest x’s in the “Cons” column. Life isn’t perfect nor is the CS75 Plus, so it’s just great that a car manufacturer can be so honest with itself.

2022 Changan CS75 Plus

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Ownership 2022 Changan CS75 Plus
Year Introduced 2020
Vehicle Classification Compact SUV
Warranty 5 years / 150,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 178 @ 5,500
Nm @ rpm 265 @ 1,450-4,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 93~
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.35 km/L @ 15 km/h
(fueled with Petron XCS)
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,690
Width (mm) 1,865
Height (mm) 1,710
Wheelbase (mm) 2,710
Curb Weight (kg) 1,620
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electronic, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Hankook Dynapro HP2 225/60 R 18 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
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 LED, with Cornering Light
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) 6-way, Electronic
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) 4-way, Manual
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
Sunroof Yes
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Day/Night
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
Smartphone Connectivity CarAuto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

14 comments:

  1. Underrated SUV in the market..CMPI is likely gonna release an updated version of the CS75 Plus soon.

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    Replies
    1. It is crap. Unproven reliability

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    2. Chunga cs75 last

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  2. Front design is copycat of lexus, backlight is copycat from old sta fe, but at least it has aisin 6sped trans as oppose to jerky dual clutch of cs35

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    Replies
    1. Yes, in addition to size, the 6-speed Aisin transmission is an advantage of the CS75 over the CS35...

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    2. Can’t believe some people are knowledgeable about chinese cars. Me personally I automatically avoid chinese cars like the plague.

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    3. Long march...in the long run china will win! D obstacle??? D tech embargo by USA, re: huawie

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  3. Uly, you prefer the GAC GS4 over the Changan CS75? How about the Chery Tiggo 7 Pro? - for comparison of compact crossovers

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    Replies
    1. The GS4 for me. Granted the interior's bare, but at least the driving part of it is solid. Can't go wrong with it. I'd probably go with the Tiggo 7 Pro as my second choice. Not much quirks, and the driving aspect is alright. Probably even the Azkarra non-hybrid third and last would be the CS75.

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  4. This review made its little brother cs35 plus shine brighter and should be the better choice!

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  5. cannot unsee the Lexus inspired grille, this along with the butterfly wing chuchu nung Alsvin lol. That said it's very nice looking, the red accent leather inside is a bit overbearing. I saw this in person last time sa motor show, probably my fave among all Changan models, by looks, especially yung pattern ng brake lights, so nice :D

    The poem sa start up is ...... very cringey hahaha

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    Replies
    1. That poem pretty much says that the car is a disposable piece of junk that will die before you get your moneey's worth.

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  6. I hope the buyers of this car won't have fleeting lives & don't die early like autumn leaves. I sincerely wish that they would have miles to go before they sleep, because nothing, not even the rain, has such small hands... Lulz.

    Makakain na nga lang ng Knorr Chanis Soup, just add one egg! 😁

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