Cars > Driven

Changan X7 Plus: Good but could be better

The brand’s foray into the 7-seat segment is a mix of hits and misses

The X7 Plus is a good seven-seater, but could have been better. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

The creativity and the confidence of the Chinese are quite amusing. Nope, we’re not referring to the bullying that our fishermen are experiencing inside our territory. I’m talking about their line of thinking with their MPV offerings.

The formula is simple. Use a stretched compact crossover platform (following the dimensions of the Toyota Innova and other PPVs), then make it big enough to seat seven people. Finally, put a tiny but turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine. That’s it.

The X7 Plus’s stylish fascia is a joy to look at. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

This is pretty evident with the crop of vehicles in the segment: the Geely Okavango, the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro, the Jetour X70 and X70 Plus, and this, the Changan X7 Plus.

I believe the concept works because I’ve personally tried the Okavango before. It was spacious, it performed well, and it was quite practical for the price.

Inchcape Philippines, the exclusive distributor of Changan in the country, hooked us up with an X7 Plus for a few days. And we found out what this crossover/MPV really offered.

The ‘less is more’ design ethos worked wonders for the X7’s sides. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

First up, the X7 Plus’s minimalist design looks good. The Dynamic Surgeflo grille fuses well with the slim daytime running lights. Bookending it are the headlamp clusters mounted low on the air dams on either side of the bumper.

The “less is more” theme continues on the sides—a mixture of curves and creases below the character line that runs from the front to the back. On all four corners are equally simple-looking 19-inch wheels. At the back, a lightbar perfectly fuses with the taillamp clusters and the plate garnish trim for a clean look.

We're not a fan of the busy rear badging and the fake exhaust tips. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

Opening the front door reveals a simple yet well-designed interior. It is a mix of familiar sights with modern styling. A D-shaped tiller has buttons to tinker with the cruise control and infotainment systems. Behind that is a clear seven-inch instrument cluster. Though it offers little to no customization at all.

Going back to the infotainment system, there’s a 12.3-inch screen on the dash. It would have been great to see Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on it. However, as with most Chinese cars, smartphone integration can only be done with a mirroring app.

The overall design and the choice of materials in the interior are rather nice. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

Sound quality isn’t this system’s best forte. But it gets the job done, and it’s okay for most music genres.

Thankfully, it offers a good 360° camera, which could be of great help when navigating through tricky tight spots. The system also doubles as a built-in dashcam system, with a microSD slot on the passenger side of the screen.

The crossover has some nifty features, including this 360° camera that doubles as a dashcam. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

But everything inside is simple yet well-designed. You’ll find most buttons and controls where you expect them to be.

I love the acres of soft-touch materials all around the cabin. But there are still scratch-magnet glossy black trim on common touchpoints.

The interior is spacious, further accentuated by the huge panoramic glass roof. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

The seats are comfortable and the cabin feels airy, thanks to the huge panoramic glass roof above you. The third row, as expected, is best reserved for small adults or kids.

Sadly, you won’t find many creature comforts here. Heck, the vehicle even lacks climate vents at the back, which is a bummer. But to be fair, the HVAC system can keep the air inside the cabin cool and clean courtesy of a PM0.1 air filtration system.

Some of the author’s gripes include the fingerprint-magnet glossy trim and the absence of a climate vent in the third row. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

And then we get to the driving part. Like the Okavango, the turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine offers a lot of grunt, making 185hp and 300Nm of torque.

This much power is smoothly transmitted to the front wheels, thanks to a seven-speed wet-type dual-clutch transmission.

The 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and the seven-speed wet DCT work together for linear and smooth power delivery. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

I would have wanted to get the most out of the powertrain’s performance. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to choose between the three drive modes. There’s no drive mode selector button, even on the drive computer or the infotainment system.

There are no advanced driver-assist systems to be found here. At least, it has antilock brakes, a traction control system, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, and several airbags.

The X7 Plus offers a lot of promise. It is the most affordable from the crop of Chinese crossovers in this segment at P1,399,000 (and Inchcape Philippines offers an additional P50,000 discount for this model).

This crossover is also branded as the Oshan X7 Plus in other markets. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

Given the price point, the Changan X7 Plus is a great proposition for those who want an affordable family vehicle. But we wouldn’t mind a higher asking price if this means we’ll get a better-equipped and well-rounded crossover.


Engine1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline
Transmission7-speed wet-type dual-clutch automatic
Power185hp @ 5,500rpm
Torque300Nm @ 1,500-4,000rpm
Dimensions4,730mm x 1,870mm x 1,720mm
Drive layoutFWD
UpsideIt offers good looks, a nice interior, and great engine performance. Also undercuts most rival pricing.
DownsideNo smartphone-integration features. Lacks advanced driver-assist aids and climate vents in the third row.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.