100,000 kilometers after

Changan CS35 Plus

Many automobile warranties stop at the 100,000 kilometer mark. This mileage usually coincides with five years of daily use and is often the point when more serious maintenance services are due. It’s an age many car owners are familiar with. Some opt to sell their car at that point, while those who haven’t encountered any serious issues often decide to keep the car for another five years.

Though many Chinese brands have entered the automotive market in the past couple of years, most have yet to reach this mileage. As such, without that milestone, it’s often hard to say whether these cars will last.

Changan, however, decided to find out themselves. Debuting just last year, the new brand decided there’s no better way to test the car than with actual miles driven on actual Philippine roads.

They chose the CS35 Plus SUV, the smallest SUV in the brand’s lineup and likely to be one of the most popular with consumers. The vehicle was driven every day for 122-days, clocking up 100,000-kilometers (or roughly five years of use) in just four months.

Changan first started with short trips, with the engine running 24/7, averaging 40 kilometers a day for 10 days straight on different premium unleaded fuels. It was then taken further on day-long fuel consumption tests from Calamba City to Baguio City. On these runs, it averaged 14.6 km/L. During this time, the CS35 Plus received no modifications. It just received the standard periodic maintenance service (PMS) done every 10,000 kilometers.

Even more surprising, Changan offered us this high-mileage unit to test drive and see for ourselves. Curious, we took up the challenge and drove the vehicle around for a few days.

The CS35 Plus is in a crowded segment, with competitors like the Ford Territory, Geely Coolray, MG ZS, VW T-Cross, Honda HR-V and Toyota Corolla Cross. Nonetheless, it has styling at par with the competition, with muscular fenders, a unique window design, and a very modern grille. It ticks all the boxes with roof rails, LED DRL’s, and large wheels.

Inside, it’s not particularly flashy. The interior is mainly black with ashwood-like inserts in the dash, silver accents and glossy black in some parts. Considering this car has already clocked up so many miles, the interior still looks fairly new. No trim was peeling or falling off, still solidly in place and looking fairly new.

Ahead of the driver are two large dials with a four-inch digital display. Over in the center is a massive 10-inch infotainment system packed with Bluetooth audio and phone integration, navigation, an AM/FM radio, and also the screen for the reverse camera and blindside camera (passenger side). There’s also a power sunroof above to let more light in on gloomy days.

When it comes to the ride, the CS35 is quite comfortable. It took on many of the bumps on the road comfortably and is pretty reassuring around the city. Naturally, there were a few rattles, but they could hardly be perceived, which is impressive considering the mileage.

For passengers behind, they get a broad bench which can split 60/40 and fold down to accommodate long cargo. Curiously, there’s no fold-down center arm rest, though I’m sure it’s a feature only a few will look for.

Behind, there’s more than enough space for the week’s groceries of the family’s out of town bags. The second row bench is really easy to fold down which should make loading cargo quick.

Powering the CS35 Plus is a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine. It produces 158 horsepower and 235 Nm of torque, which is a lot for an engine this size. It’s paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with auto and manual modes.

It’s fairly competent in auto mode and the shifts are hardly perceptible at all. I tried it on manual a few times, but the onboard system seemed to override my commands, shifting later than I expected.

The Changan CS35 Plus is priced at P999,000, making for a compelling choice in a very crowded segment. It has many of the premium features customers expect and considering it all comes under a million pesos is quite tempting.

It’s quite impressive that even after 100,000 kilometers, the CS35 Plus only feels like a six-month old car rather than a six-year old car. The vehicle still feels pretty solid and most of it still looks and performs as new.

Few brands are confident enough in their brand to accelerate the aging process. Even fewer are brave enough to have its harshest critics try the result. It just goes to show that the perception that these cars don’t last is no longer true.