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Changan Alsvin 1.5: An honest, unpretentious proposition

By Ghaith Madadha - Feb 15,2021 - Last updated at Feb 15,2021

Photo courtesy of Changan

The smallest and most affordable of Chinese manufacturer Changan’s cars and crossovers available in Jordan, the compact Alsvin saloon is also the most fun daily driver. An unpretentious but accomplished B-segment saloon not to be overlooked in a segment that includes the Nissan Sunny, MG 5, Kia Pegas, Honda Civic and Ford Escort among many others, the Changan Alsvin is a convincing, if less known alternative pitched at the value end of the segment, with its equipment, space, comfort, warranty and rewarding driving experience counting in its favour.


Contemporary lines


An attractive enough contemporary design the Alsvin features plenty of sharp creases and the use of convex and concave surfacing that has been popular across the auto industry since Chris Bangle’s mid-2000s design era at BMW. The Alsvin also features slim swept back headlights and overlapping wavy character lines — not too unlike Hyundai — and prominent sill accentuation at its flanks to lend it a sense of forward motion, and features a relatively rakish roofline and high waistline and rear deck, as is the current general trend.

And as is de rigueur for most mainstream car brands, the Alsvin ticks the right box with the use of a vast and complex corporate face grille. In the case of Alsvin, the grille uses sharp angles and is pinched at the bumper and expands out to a full width lower intake, reflecting designs used across much of the Changan range, and somewhat reminiscent of Lexus designs. Meanwhile, and behind its widely spaced grille slats, the Alsvin is powered by a naturally-aspirated transverse DOHC 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine.


Progressive delivery


Progressive and perky in delivery and character, the Alsvin’s refreshingly conventional naturally-aspirated engine develops 105BHP at 5,500rpm and 107lb/ft torque at 4,500rpm. Driving the front wheels through a 5-speed automated dual-clutch gearbox, the Alsvin’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine is tractable and eager from idling through to redline, pulling confidently and building up output in linear fashion, with good throttle control and responses, as a bonus. This allows one to easily and precisely dial in or pull back power to accurately regulate cornering grip at the driven front wheels.

Though not a performance oriented car by any measure, the Alsvin’s eager engine and quick and crisp throttle and gearbox shifts are quite rewardingly engaging and entertaining in a segment that isn’t always so. That said, the Alsvin’s engine and gearbox work well with its light estimated weight of just under 1.1 tonnes, and provide good responses, pulling with commitment from low-end, flexibly in mid range and willing right to its rev limit. The headline results are estimated at around 12-seconds through 0-100km/h and a 180km/h top speed.


Responsive ride


Proving light on its feet and crisp in responses during a brief test drive opportunity, the Alsvin seemed to have something of the fun characteristics of driving a small car briskly. Succinct through lever-actuated manual mode or auto gear shifts, the Alsvin also proved surprisingly crisp and eager on turn-in, with its front wheels gripping well, and its light steering delivering quick, direct responses. Eager and willing to change direction without fuss during the few quick corners encountered during test drive, the Alsvin’s handling seemed alert and agile.

Nippy and manoeuvrable, the Alsvin seemed to also deliver reassuring cornering stability and decent body lean control, while parking and negotiating busy traffic proved easy and stress free. Riding on 185/55R15 tyres that delivered a forgiving ride and good steering accuracy, the Alsvin’s ride comfort is another quality in its favour. Dispatching bumps, lumps and imperfections smoothly and comfortably, the Alsvin seemed settled on rebound and stable at when cruising, with just the right level of ride and cabin insulation to keep it refined but not boring.


Compact comfort


A practical, affordable and honest compact daily driver, the Changan Alsvin is an undemanding, agreeable car, priced at JD14,000 on the road. Easy to manoeuvre and drive with good sightlines, despite its high waistline, the Alsvin is ergonomic and spacious enough for larger drivers, with a comfortable driving position, and user-friendly controls within easy reach. Rear space is decent for its segment, but without a rear armrest, while its un-specified boot space is generously wide and long, and is accessed through a more vertically-oriented boot lid.

Pleasant and airy, if not luxurious inside, the Alsvin’s unpretentious cabin design is busy but uncomplicated, and features good in-segment materials and fabrics, albeit with some smatterings of hard plastics. Meanwhile, its round side air vents have a sporty flavour, and its 7-inch infotainment is contemporary in its dash top mounted position. Reasonably well equipped, the Alsvin comes with electronic stability and traction control, hill start assistance, ABS, dual airbags, USB port, Bluetooth connectivity, A/C, remote central locking, power windows and more, including a 5-year or 150,000km warranty.


Engine: 1.5-litre, transverse, 4-cylinders

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC

Gearbox: 5-speed dual clutch automated, front-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 105 (107) [78.5] @5,500rpm

Specific power: 71BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 96BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 107 (145) @4,500rpm

Specific torque: 98Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 132.4Nm/tonne

0-100km/h: approximately 12-seconds (estimate)

Top speed: 180km/h (estimate)

Fuel consumption, urban/extra-urban/combined: 8.4-/4.9-/

6.2-litres/100km (estimate)

Fuel capacity: 45-litres

Length: 4,390mm

Width: 1,725mm

Height: 1,468mm

Wheelbase: 2,535mm

Kerb weight: 1,095kg (estimate)

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/torsion beam

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/drums

Tyres: 185/55R15

Price, on-the-road, with comprehensive insurance: JD14,000


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