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Changan CS35 Plus: Confident, contemporary compact crossover

By Ghaith Madadha - Nov 30,2020 - Last updated at Nov 30,2020

Photo courtesy of Changan

A small, sporty convenient and compact crossover with quick responses and nimble handling, the Changan CS35 Plus is yet another impressive product from the China’s ascendant automotive industry.

A well-rounded crossover that hits the mark in many ways, the CS45 Plus delivers a well-styled package that is uncomplicated yet contemporarily modern in its engineering, tech, refinement, performance and driving dynamics. Functional and as fun as is to be expected in its segment, the CS35 Plus is competitively affordable, yet, holds its own among many Korean, Japanese, American and European competitors.

Launched in 2018, the latest CS35 Plus is a significantly improved design over the regular CS35, with sharper lines, more defined ridges and sculpted surfacing for a more dramatic aesthetic. With its heavily browed and slim grille and headlights set on a level horizon, the CS35 Plus’ fascia cuts a moody presence and features big lower side fog light housings and slim intake vents. Its sporty styling also incorporates a descending floating roofline, sharply extended tailgate spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, defined sills, rugged looking squared-off wheel-arches and metallic faux skidplates.

 

Punchy performer

Similar in size and segment to crossovers like the MG ZS, Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos and Mazda CX-30, the CS35 Plus is discernibly sportier in demeanour than its predecessor, with some Volkswagen Tiguan-like styling sensibilities at the front and flanks, in addition to hints of Renault Megane from its slim full width rear right cluster. Meanwhile, under its chiselled clamshell bonnet, the CS35 Plus is powered by small but punchy turbocharged direct injection 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine, positioned transversely and driving the front wheels through a quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox.

Developing 156BHP at 5,500rpm and a muscular 192lb/ft torque throughout a wide and easily accessible 1,500-4,000rpm band, the CS35 Plus is estimated to cover the 0-100km/h acceleration benchmark in 9-seconds and to top out at 200km/h. A fuel-efficient front-drive compact crossover with a moderate 1,435kg weight, the CS35 Plus’s fuel consumption is meanwhile quoted at 6.9l/100km on the combined cycle. Of note for the Jordanian market, the CS35 Plus uses a twin water circulation system that services both engine and intercooler, to operate optimally in hot weather and heavy traffic congestion conditions.

 

Small and sporty

Sporty and brisk if not quite a high performance vehicle, the CS35 Plus benefits from a broad and rich torrent of mid-range torque, which makes for confidently quick on the move responses and flexibility for overtaking and on inclines. Responsive from standstill for a small displacement yet powerful turbocharged crossover, the CS45 Plus’ turbo lag is minimal, with meaningful boost coming online quite low in the rev range. Riding on a plentiful wave of torque, the CS35 Plus meanwhile builds power with seamless and eager progression towards its peak. 

Easing smoothly into first gear from standstill, the CS35 Plus’ dual-clutch gearshifts are succinct and slick through gears whether using default setting, manual lever-actuated shifts or its sports profile, which holds revs longer before upshifts. Driven briefly on Jordanian roads, first CS35 Plus impressions are that of a nimble and agile car-like crossover with sporting flavours. Eager and with good cornering commitment on turn-in, the CS35 Plus’ steering is sporty, quick, light and direct, responding well to quick small movements, but slightly sensitive and busy in feedback at speed.

 

Well-packaged and manoeuvrable

Nimble into corners and with a tight turning circle and compact footprint, the CS35 Plus grips well, yet, seems like it’d responsive to mid-corner adjustments. Meanwhile, under-steer is minimal, but with its punchy output, torque-steer is occasionally evident on low traction tarmac. Sporty in disposition, the CS35 Plus delivers good body control through sharp sudden corners, but proved stable and refined at speed, with a good level ride comfort. Well absorbing most ruts, bumps and imperfections, the CS35 Plus felt settled on rebound and tackled speed bumps with ease.

With a comfortable, well-equipped, easily accessible cabin and good in-segment cabin room even in the rear seats for taller passengers, the CS35 plus is well-packaged and offers good manoeuvring and parking visibility in confined space. Pleasantly modern and stylish inside, it features clean, uncluttered surfaces and a horizontal design motif, with a ridged dash cowling its infotainment screen and instrument panel, and good quality materials and textures in most prominent places. A well-adjustable and driver-oriented driving position includes a thick contoured steering wheel, while boot space is accommodating and flat, expanding from 403- to 950-litres with rear seats folded.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 1.4-litre, transverse, turbocharged 4-cylinders

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, direct injection

Gearbox: 7-speed dual clutch automated, front-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 156 (158) [116] @5,500rpm

Specific power: 112BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 108.7BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 192 (260) @1,500-4,000rpm

Specific torque: 186.8Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 181Nm/tonne

0-100km/h: 9-seconds (estimate)

Top speed: 200km/h (estimate)

Fuel consumption, combined: 6.9-litres/100km

Fuel capacity: 53-litres

Length: 4,335mm

Width: 1,825mm

Height: 1,660mm

Wheelbase: 2,600mm

Luggage volume, min/max: 403-/950-litres

Kerb weight: 1,435kg

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/torsion beam

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/discs

Tyres: 225/45R18

Price, on-the-road, with comprehensive insurance: JD19,500

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