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Changan CS15 1.5L: Comfortable, confident compact crossover

By Ghaith Madadha - Nov 22,2021 - Last updated at Nov 22,2021

Photos courtesy of Changan

An affordable sub-compact crossover from China’s ever more interesting state-owned auto manufacturer, the Changan CS15 was first launched in 2015 and arrived in Jordan only in recent months after a mid-life 2019 face-lift and re-fresh.

Practical, well-packaged, manoeuvrable and user-friendly, the CS15 is a small but high riding front-wheel-drive city-oriented crossover that competes with vehicles like the Kia Sonet, Renault Stepway and Chery Tiggo 2, in a segment that is increasingly popular with traditional compact saloon and large hatchback buyers.

Sportier re-style

Re-vamped to better integrate with Changan’ quickly evolving and increasingly more fashionable design language, the CS15’s face-lift treatment is transformational in creating a decidedly more assertive and contemporary aesthetic, in place of its predecessor’s aged and generic styling sensibility. 

Ditching the outgoing model’s heavy-handed shiny chrome grille and clunky and chunky bumper, the freshened-up and feisty new CS15 instead features a tall and pinched-in grille frame with big bold and uncomplicated horizontal slats to emphasise a greater sense of width.

With a more pronounced horizontal emphasis, the revised CS15’s re-worked headlight signature and now prominently creased clamshell bonnet create a more squinting and dramatic character, while a more complex bumper design with defined lines, sharp lip and big faux intakes bring out a sportier, hungrier and more eager demeanour to the CS15. 

This is echoed at the rear where a re-deigned and more complex bumper and clear cased lights are connected by a gloss black panel to detract from the CS15’s tall and narrow dimensions.

Perky performer

Powered by the same naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed dual-clutch gearbox combo as its eager and refreshingly unpretentious Changan V3 saloon sister model, the CS15’s delivery is perky and progressive in character. Developing 105BHP at 5,500rpm in a peaky if low-revving fashion, and 107lb/ft torque through a 3,500-4,500rpm plateau, the CS15’s engine is tractable and eager from idling to redline. 

Pulling confidently and building output in a linear manner, the CS15 delivers decent low-end commitment, mid-range flexibly and top-end willingness for its segment.

With eager engine and quick and crisp throttle and gearbox shifts the CS15 might not be quite as brisk as the lighter V3 saloon, but is nevertheless a rewarding and engaging drive in a segment that isn’t typically driver-oriented. Lightweight for a crossover at just 1,235kg, the CS15 feels quicker in the city than its estimated 14-second 0-100km/h acceleration time. However, on particularly demanding steep inclines, one felt that slightly closer first to second gear ratios would allow for sportier and more seamlessly progression.

Responsive and manoeuvrable

Responsive and eager in most circumstances, the CS15’s good throttle control and responses allows one to precisely dial in or pull back power to accurately modulate cornering grip at the driven front wheels. Eager and agile with quick, light and accurate steering, it enters corners tidily and with nimble manoeuvrability. Grippy and committed into a corner, the CS15 well controlled body lean and seemed for it height, and seemed ready to tackle multiple direction changes, had conditions allowed during a brief test drive opportunity.

A manoeuvrable runaround with fun handling traits, the narrow CS15 effortlessly zips through busy and tight city streets, while a tight turning circle provides added ease of use. With generous 190mm clearance and comparatively short wheelbase, it makes short work of big bumps, lumps and other imperfections, and can easily mount kerbs when necessary. Placing the CS15 on road is easy with its responsive manners and small size, while visibility is generally good, even when peering around its thick A-pillars occasionally.

Small but spacious

Stable and reassuring as speed briefly picked up slightly during test drive, the CS15 is, however, estimated to be capable of 160km/h or more. With a refined and seemingly rigid feel to its build quality, the CS15 meanwhile dispatches imperfections and road cracks with a settled confidence and good vertical control. Taking larger bumps in its stride, the CS15 remains composed on dismount, with neither an overly stiff feel nor the lax over compression that mars a number of even significantly pricier vehicles.

Affordable and accessible at JD15,850 with a generous warranty and moderate 6.6l/100km fuel efficiency, the CS15 is also a practical car with excellent in-class rear head and legroom, and minimum 230-litre luggage volume that expands to 560-litres to the roof, and 1,100-litres with rear seats folded. Well-equipped at its price point, the CS15 features numerous safety and convenience features, including user-friendly infotainment screen. Design is pleasant and contemporary, and materials are of good in-class quality, while driving position is comfortable and high, with steering tilt adjustment.


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: 85BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 107 (145) @3,500-4,500rpm

Specific torque: 98Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 117.4Nm/tonne

0-100km/h: approximately 14-seconds (estimate)

Top speed: approximately 160km/h (estimate)

Fuel consumption, combined: 6.6-litres/100km (estimate)

Fuel capacity: 44-litres

Length: 4,135mm

Width: 1,740mm

Height: 1,630mm

Wheelbase: 2,520mm

Track: 1,470mm

Ground clearance: 190mm

Luggage volume, min/mid/max: 230-/560-/1,100-litres

Unladen weight: 1,235kg (estimate)

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/torsion beam

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/discs

Tyres: 205/55R16

Price, on-the-road, with comprehensive insurance: JD15,850

Warranty: 10-years or 500,000km


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