Changan CS95: China’s Confident, Capable Crossover

With an imposing presence, refined delivery, reassuring ride, classy cabin, and plenty of space, the Changan CS95 is an impressive addition to a growing and evolving crop of attainable large Chinese SUVs and crossovers making their way to Middle East markets.

The largest and most luxurious offering from China’s state-owned automotive Changan, the CS95 makes a clear and bold statement about the brand’s intentions and capabilities. Quite the impressively well-equipped, spacious and comfortable flagship effort, the CS95 is a competitively priced mid-size 7-seat crossover SUV with an up-market style and interior ambiance. Recently face-lifted since 2019, the Changan CS95 gains an even grander and more imposing presence that seems to exaggerate its perceived size, and meanwhile delivers cosseting refinement, confident performance and a comfortably reassuring ride quality.

First launched in the Chinese market back in 2017 after being unveiled at the previous year’s Beijing auto Show, the Changan CS95 was quick to receive a face-lift, which includes significant front design and interior revisions, not to mention a lighter rear refresh, which includes a mildly re-styled bumper and the introduction of a full width light assembly across its tailgate. Significantly overhauled in its front aesthetic, the Changan CS95 ditches its previous Land Rover-like slotted grille design and oversized lettering for a nearly full height grille.

Heavy on the chrome, the Changan CS95’s enormous new grille is an imposing sight with its large wide-spaced horizontal slats extending far down to integrate with its lower and side intakes as a single dominating feature. Set within this new powerful floating effect grille is Changan’s emblem. Tall and upright with level waistline and roofline, the CS95 has plenty of road presence, and an air of solidity and conservatism. Meanwhile, its jutting rear tailgate spoiler, floating roofline and forward angled C-pillar lend it a sense of sporting momentum.

Under its high rise bonnet, the Changan CS95 is meanwhile powered by a prodigious turbocharged direct injection 2-litre four-cylinder engine, transversely-mounted, and driving front, or all four wheels, as tested in latter specification on Amman roads. Primarily sending power frontwards and allocating power to the rear wheels when necessary for additional traction, grip and stability, the CS95 channels its output through a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic gearbox with three Eco, Snow and Sport driving profile settings, in addition to selectable 2WD, 4WD and auto driving modes.

Producing 230BHP at a 5,000-5,500rpm plateau and 266lb/ft torque throughout a wide 1,750-3,500rpm band the Changan CS95’s turbocharger spools up quickly with little by way of lag from idling engine speed. Responsive off the line, the CS95 carries its not insubstantial estimated 2,117kg mass through the 0-100km/h benchmark in an estimated 11-seconds, and on a top speed of around 190km/h. Smooth, quiet and willing through to its rev limit, the CS95 is however at its best riding its broad and versatile torque rich mid-range sweet spot.

Though brief, the test drive opportunity did highlight the CS95’s stable, planted and comfortable ride quality, well refined for most vibrations, harshness and noise. A natural highway cruiser that sits on the road with a reassuringly ‘heavy’ feel, the CS95 is certainly a comfortable crossover that well absorbs imperfections, yet seems slightly firmer than its smaller CS75 sister model, which rode with a more forgivingly pliant quality over sudden and jagged road imperfections. Meanwhile vertical control seemed good on initial judgment during this brief driving opportunity.

Turning tidily and with decent body lean control for a vehicle of this weight, height and size, a longer test drive would however yield a more nuanced impression. That said, the CS95 nonetheless proved to be confidently capable if not outright quick, and flexible and eager when accelerating ups fast inclines. Its light steering is easy and accurate for the most part, but is set up for comfort rather quick wrist flick reflexes or sportily textured feel and feedback. Meanwhile, the CS95 returns comparatively moderate estimated 9.4l/100km combined cycle efficiency.

A large and upright crossover, the Changan CS95 is however comparatively wieldy and maneuverable for its size with its commanding driving position, light steering and reversing camera and sensors, and also benefits from generous ground clearance for mounting kerbs and other obstacles. Spacious in all directions inside, the CS95 delivers generous passenger space in the front two rows and useable third row seats, while wide doors and swing angles allow easy access. Boot space is similarly functional with all seats deployed, but increases incrementally with folding the rear rows.

Significantly revised inside since 2019, the CS95 adopts a classier, more premium look and feel, with stylish new horizontally-oriented design, integrated, partitioned and driver-oriented centre console, huge infotainment screen, ambient lighting and new gear lever design. Leathers, inlays and textures and plastics are of mostly good quality, with the few hard plastic surfaces mostly well concealed. Well equipped with numerous infotainment, convenience and electronic gadgets including vented massaging front seats for the latest 2021 model year, the CS95 also comes with a generous list of standard and optional safety and driver assistance features, including multiple airbags.

Specifications: Changan CS95

  • Engine: 2-litre, transverse, turbocharged 4-cylinders
  • Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, direct injection
  • Gearbox: 6-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 230 (233) [171.3] @5,000-5,500rpm
  • Specific power: 115BHP/litre (approximately)
  • Power-to-weight: 108.6BHP/tonne
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 266 (360) @1,750-3,500rpm
  • Specific torque: 180Nm/litre (approximately)
  • Torque-to-weight: 170Nm/tonne
  • 0-100km/h: 11-seconds (estimate)
  • Top speed: 190km/h (estimate)
  • Fuel consumption, combined: 9.4-litres/100km (estimate)
  • Fuel capacity: 74-litres
  • Length: 4,949mm
  • Width: 1,930mm
  • Height: 1,790mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,810mm
  • Kerb weight: 2,117kg (estimate)
  • Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts / multi-link
  • Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion
  • Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs / discs
  • Tyres: 245/55R19
  • Price, on-the-road, with comprehensive insurance: JD38,500


Rivals and Alternatives


MG RX8

Riding high on MG’s swiftly growing regional popularity, and perhaps somewhat on the coattails of its smaller, sportier MG HS’ 2020 Middle East Car Of The Year award, the RX8 is a large, spacious, well-equipped, well-appointed and comparatively affordable 7-seat crossover that also sells both under the British born MG brand and under the home-grown Chinese Roewe name.

Specifications: Engine: 2-litre, transverse, direct injection, turbocharged 4-cylinders; Gearbox: 6-speed automatic, front-wheel-drive; Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 221 (224) [165] @5,500rpm; Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 258 (360) @4,000rpm; 0-100km/h: 9.1-seconds; Fuel consumption: 9.9-litres/100km; Length: 4,923mm; Width: 1,930mm; Height: 1,840mm; Wheelbase: 2,850mm; Suspension, F/R: Double wishbone / multi-link


Haval H9

A promising prospect on paper, the Haval H9 is a more old school and off-road biased beast with rear-oriented four-wheel-drive, body-on-frame construction, live rear axle, mechanical locking differentials and generous approach and departure angles. Nicely appointed and equipped, H9 is however a newcomer to Jordan and some regional markets, and so far something of an unknown, unproven quantity.

Specifications: Engine: 2-litre, longitudinal, direct injection, turbocharged 4-cylinders; Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive; Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 221 (224) [165] @5,500rpm; Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 221 (385) @1,800-3,600rpm; 0-100km/h: 9.5-seconds (estimate); Fuel consumption: 9.9-litres/100km (estimate); Length: 4,856mm; Width: 1,926mm; Height: 1,900mm; Wheelbase: 2,800mm; Weight: 2,285kg; Suspension, F/R: Double wishbone / multi-link live-axle


Geely Hao Yue

Launched last year hot on the heels on the impressive and recently arrived Azkarra, the Geely Hao Yue is however yet to reach Middle East markets. A well-appointed 7-seat large crossover SUV with thoroughly modern, assertive and sculpted styling, the Hao Yue likely benefits much from Geely’s ownership of Volvo, but when or if it makes it to the region, it will likely be under a different nameplate.

Specifications: Engine: 1.8-litre, transverse, direct injection, turbocharged 4-cylinders; Gearbox: 7-speed automated dual clutch, four-wheel-drive; Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 181 (184) [135] @5,500rpm; Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 221 (300) @1,750-4,000rpm; 0-100km/h: 8.9-seconds (estimate); Fuel consumption: 7.8-litres/100km; Length: 4,835mm; Width: 1,900mm; Height: 1,780mm; Wheelbase: 2,815mm; Weight: 1,660kg (estimate); Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts / multi-link