A seven-seat family SUV that could be part of an export drive to the UK by Chinese company Changan, the CS95 is the bigger sister to the crossover-sized CS55.
Technically, the CS95 and CS55 are related only by being made by the same company – they use different chassis platforms, despite being launched within 12 months of each other.
Getting under the Changan CS95’s skin
The roomy CS95 went on sale in China in late 2016, based on an all-new monocoque platform designed and developed in-house by a team featuring European engineering talent based at Changan’s engineering centres in Chongqing, central China.
There’s a more direct British link – the all-new Blue Core 233bhp 2.0-litre turbo direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine that powers the CS95 was designed and developed in Birmingham at Changan’s UK engineering centre. And a styling studio in Italy’s car design capital, Turin, helped create the CS95’s wholesome, Land Rover-influenced styling.
The transmission on our test car was a six-speed Aisin Warner automatic, driving all four wheels via the transversely mounted four-pot petrol.
Suspension is front struts and a rear twist beam for front-drive variants and a multi-link rear for all-wheel drive – the latter built around BorgWarner components to shift drive rearwards via an in-line driveshaft.
Steering is electrically assisted and a suite of electronic safety aids is either standard or on the options list. Automatic emergency braking, for example, is available as part of the intelligent cruise control package on the top-spec model being tested here – an indication that Chinese own-brand cars are catching up with the West.
In the home market, it starts from £20,780 – that’s Nissan Qashqai money – and the top-spec all-wheel-drive CS95 extends to just £28k, although UK pricing is a long way from being finalised.
Pleasing Chinese interior design
Chinese brands are also making progress in interior design quality in leaps and bounds. There are hard plastics and a few inelegant design details, but the overall ambience inside the CS95 is attractive.