Changan CS55 Plus First Impressions: Young Professional’s Cruiser

Changan CS55 Plus First Impressions: Young Professional’s Cruiser

Initial Verdict: Our rather lengthy first impressions drive of the all-new Changan CS55 Plus proved to be fruitful as we once again were impressed by the exterior styling, interior quality, and inclusion of Apple CarPlay. While the engine remains peppy as ever, the transmission does leave some room for improvement. 


  • Stunning exterior design
  • Interior is well-laid out with quality materials
  • Apple CarPlay finally included
  • Pioneer audio system is awesome


  • DCT takes some time to respond
  • Only one rear A/C vent

We got to drive the all-new Changan CS55 Plus to the iconic mountains of Baguio City to draw our first impressions of the vehicle. How did the car fare in the City of Pines? Read on to find out.


Let’s start off with the outside of the vehicle. Honestly, it looks remarkably like its other siblings with this front fascia design. That’s not a bad thing as all the Changan CS models we’ve had so far are all lookers, and this one is no different. It appears sharp, especially with a grille that looks like it’s about to eat you up with its teeth. Both the integrated full LED headlamps as well as the DRLs do their job of lending the vehicle a modern appeal while also illuminating the road. Form and function, covered.

The V-shaped Changan logo is proudly situated at the center, between the grille and a rather interesting translucent rubberized piece. We’re not sure if there’s any real use to this, but it is a nice detail that adds a bit of accentuation to the portion connected to the front lights. Also visible are the shimmering sparkles on the Black Pearl unit we have here, reminiscent of twinkling stars in a calm night sky.

Speaking of accentuation, another signature styling cue with Changan vehicles is the secondary color painted onto parts of the vehicle. Normally it’s red to emit a sporty vibe, but here it’s a bronze-ish gold tone available just on the highest-trim Luxe CS55 Plus models. This is supposed to be the classy, luxurious variant, which is why they’ve changed the color palette accordingly as well. Viewing the vehicle from the side also boasts its ground clearance which we found more than adequate for our weekend trip.

Now we move on to one of undoubtedly my favorite angles of the car: the rear. Some may lambast Changan for not choosing to go with a light bar like on its CS35 Plus model, but we love the way it looks. The designers have definitely drawn inspiration from numerous car brands and made a “greatest hits” version out of it.

The same styling cues extend onto the rear, with the lights starting off sharp and then becoming boxy as they approach the center. The muscular lines puff the car up bigger than it really is, like that lanky kid trying to convert into his bully phase. At the top is a very quirky segmented rear spoiler design with lights set in the center ridges. At the bottom are two exhaust vents which look great but would have been better if they were actually real.


Moving on to the cabin, things look and feel as upscale. The occupants are nestled into the cockpit rather than seated in it – a position similar to the Peugeot 2008. Still, most of the touchpoints are either soft-touch faux leathers, textured plastics, or other materials that prevent the space from looking and feeling bland.

The wheel is shaped in a shape that makes you feel like you’re commandeering a spaceship instead. Providing vital information is a 10.25-inch digital display cluster that is clear, responsive, and easily legible in any lighting conditions.

At the center is an expansive 12.3-inch touchscreen panel. It’s obvious that they didn’t cut corners with this display. As people well-versed in tech, we would immediately be able to tell if a brand skimped out on the head unit. We’re happy to report that they haven’t – the display is bright, extremely responsive to touch, and finally has support for Apple CarPlay. Considering the fact that the screen plays an important role in operating almost all the functions of the Changan CS55 Plus, it’s gained good impressions from us.

A part of us wants to request for Android Auto, but it might be a difficult ask considering Google’s relationship with Chinese brands. Still, Changan-Link is available if you’re willing to give it a try. You can play jams through the onboard six-speaker Pioneer audio system which admittedly sounds excellent. I was riding along with three other media friends who have a diverse set of music tastes, and all of us praised the system quite highly.

For those who’ve also been wondering how to adjust the volume besides on the steering wheel, scrolling down on the screen brings out the volume slider. We’ve been wondering this for three Changan units now. Of course, the vehicle also comes with a built-in voice assistant that can set A/C speeds, adjust audio volumes, and open all sorts of things for you, but it was a little tricky to use and requires further polish.

Look below the display and you’ll find a row of buttons for climate settings. It’s a no-frills system that only requires minimal presses and instantly shows up on the display. We’d have this over having all our A/C controls on the screen any day. Under that, meanwhile, is a shallow storage area for smartphones, wallets, cards, and other small trinkets. The left portion is equipped with Qi wireless charging for up to 15W, a wattage level falling under “fast charging” territory. Color us impressed. For those that need their ports, you’ll find an extra socket and USB port underneath the floating console.

In between the driver and passenger is a uniquely-shaped gear lever. Some people, such as ourselves, love the design. Hexagons seem to be in style here as both the cupholders and drive mode selector come in that shape. A metallic finish adds a bit of class to it, although we’re not sure how these surfaces will stand the test of time. The camera toggles, on the other hand, are shaped like wings on either side of the drive-mode wheel.

From this angle, you can already clearly see that the two-tone interior is attractive – even more when the panoramic moonroof lets in a healthy dose of sunlight. Stitches in the leather add a bit of flair, yet it’s not all looks. The seats themselves are supple and comfortable, even for distances such as a long drive from Laguna to Baguio. We’re digging the front seat design especially. As with the rear space, our good friend Julian Panlilio of AutoPH demonstrates the legroom you would have behind a driver in the 5’7-5’8 range.

The rear passengers do get two USB type-A ports to themselves for charging. That’s a good thing! But, if there’s one complaint we’re sure Filipino riders will have, it’s the presence of only one rear A/C vent. They may have to play a game to decide which side gets air vent priority on a blistering afternoon.

Cargo space is rated at 475 liters which may be difficult to gauge for the average person. Just imagine this: it managed to fit four people’s luggage for a weekend excursion, extra snacks, lunchboxes, pasalubong, camera gear, and a myriad of other goodies. That should be saying enough about how spacious it is for the segment. Oh, and it has a power tailgate with anti-pinch features to avoid turning your hands into mincemeat.

Comfort and Driving Dynamics

There’s no doubt about it: our first impressions of the Changan CS55 Plus being a comfort-oriented vehicle are on the dot. It tackled the countless imperfections on the roads and harsh bumps spectacularly. We never really felt jarred during the entire trip, which was a 500+km drive back and forth – not counting detours, stops, and travelling to various destinations. Kudos to the fully-independent suspension for keeping things in check. If there’s one thing to note though, NVH levels inside the cabin aren’t by any means noisy but we surely heard the Dunlops coasting along the highway.

On the legendary twisties of Marcos Highway and Kennon Road, it became apparent that we weren’t going to be able to drive this as spiritedly as the CS35 Plus. We wouldn’t say it’s wallowy, but it’s a little less confident around the corners. Think about it though: who buys this type of vehicle to prioritize mountain-pass corner carving over anything else?

Under the hood is a 1.5-liter BlueCore Turbocharged engine outputting 188PS and 300Nm of torque. It’s quite lively as we’ve come to expect from Changan. The power numbers are sufficient. On the other hand, the 7-speed wet DCT takes some time to accelerate once you let your foot off the throttle. It’s like the car asks if you’re sure about stepping on the accelerator before it decides to push ahead. While this isn’t too noticeable in normal driving conditions, there were some fearful moments while we were hanging in traffic on Baguio’s steep inclines.

Once it gets going though, the transmission does absolutely well to comply with what you need. Once again present is the adjustable steering weight; although any setting would still result in an easy drive.

We weren’t too worried on the safety side of things. After all, the Changan CS55 Plus boasts an extensive list of safety features: Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection for sudden emergency stops, Forward Collision Warning system, Lane Departure Warning/Keep Assist that makes use of the rear cameras to detect proximity to road markers, and Adaptive Cruise Control for highway use.

Also as expected, the usual suite is present: ABS, TCS, Hill Hold/Descent Control, and ESP with a twist: Rollover Mitigation, they call it. As mentioned in its name, it’s designed to prevent the vehicle from rolling over in situations similar to those seen in the moose tests. A Dynamic Brake Function also assures that the vehicle can come to a stop from highway speeds of 100 km/h in just 37.9 meters.

Changan CS55 Plus First Impressions Verdict

The Changan CS55 Plus in this first impressions drive is an excellent value for money. It’s attractively styled, well-equipped, and doesn’t leave you wanting for more. We wouldn’t mind being stuck in traffic with a cabin like that. Despite some small quirks with the DCT and rear A/C vent, that is nowhere near enough to take away from this vehicle’s good points. It’s a standout vehicle we believe many buyers in the Philippines would definitely enjoy owning.

Changan CS55 Plus Price Philippines

This top-range Luxe model comes in at PHP 1.373M. The base Lite and middle Hype variants are priced at PHP 1.179M and PHP 1.283M respectively. It’s available in four colors: Black Pearl, Fantasy Gray, White Knight, and SuperNova Red. All units will be covered with the comprehensive Changan 5-year or 150,000 km warranty.

Check out more details on the car here.



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