When we spent time at the helm of the Chery Tiggo 4 Pro in Elite SE guise a couple of months ago, we walked away impressed regardless of the few irks the new product exhibited and, to be frank, there were more positives than negatives. This was a good indicator.
As impressive as it is to see how far the brand has come, it recently upped its ante with the introduction of the Tiggo 8 Pro set to rival serious contenders in the segment such as the Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage.
Designed by a team led by Steve Hume who has done exceptional work at General Motors, Ford, Hyundai and Buick, the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro is on the right path in terms of styling. Just like the Tiggo 4 Pro, it spawns a striking 3D grille that draws its inspiration from the stars in the galaxies, automatic matrix-LED headlamps with dual daytime running lights, LED rear lights and sits on a set of beautifully-crafted 18” alloys with a chrome and black design.
While critics will argue that the stying of the car is a bit exaggerated and looks typical Chinese, it adds to the respectability of the SUV and if we’re right, it is not exactly aimed at the budget segment.
How is the interior? It’s better than some rivals in terms of overall build quality and materials. If you are familiar with the latest flagship Audis, there are facsimiles which isn’t a bad thing at all. To begin with, the range-topping Tiggo 8 Pro Executive we sampled came wearing lavish-looking tan leather upholstery with comfortable front seats thanks to their adequate cushioning.
Chery worked on digitalising the interior and that comes courtesy of three separate screens; a 12.3” instrument cluster in front of the driver, an 8” screen that plays as the control centre for the automatic climate function, similar to some Audi products, and a 10.25” high-definition floating multimedia display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
“the voice command would eavesdrop during conversations in the car”
The Sony sound system comes with eight surround-sound speakers. With all that, it is evident that Chery has worked hard to make the Tiggo 8 Pro stand out in a crowded scene and while the interior layout comes close to perfection, the voice command would eavesdrop during conversations in the car. Also, the rear-view mirror has a somehow strange field-of-view with objects appearing closer and narrower than they usually are and that takes a couple of peeks to get used to.
The Tiggo 8 Pro’s enormous boot space came in handy during travels and gulped all our luggage while also accommodating up to seven passengers in style. Third-row occupants, however, found the legroom to be a tad cramped but we don’t expect this to be the case with children.
Unlike its baby brother Tiggo 4 Pro, the Tiggo 8 Pro’s running gear comes from a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that spurts out 145 kW and 290 Nm. Those are adequate power figures with the 7-speed DCT transmission working well in tandem with the engine.
The suspension is on the firmer side and while that doesn’t detract from the Tiggo 8 Pro, a softer suspension setup would be preferable in a family offering such as this. Due to the firmer ride, there is insufficient damping over neglected roads resulting in a jittery ride. However, on the highway en route to our destination in Mpumalanga, the Chery was comfortable and refined.
I found the adaptive cruise control to be a bit offside since it would take forever to pick up pace as soon as the car in front gives way. Glitch? Not necessarily, but I do think there is some room for improvement.
At R546,900, the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Executive is affordable, especially considering that it comes with a host of standard equipment and features such as a 360-degree parking view, lane departure warning, automatic cruise control, emergency braking and front collision warning amongst others.
“the flagship Tiggo 8 comes with a comprehensive 10-year/one-million-kilometre engine warranty”
Then there is the issue with unimpressive fuel consumption that is poised at around 10.6l/100 km even when driven with the most delicate foot. During the full seven-day stint with the Tiggo 8 Pro, the flimsy centre console was starting to show signs of micro-scratches during use which is concerning.
Like the Tiggo 4 Pro, the flagship Tiggo 8 comes with a comprehensive 10-year/one-million-kilometre engine warranty, too ambitious? We shall see. As a cherry on top, it is backed up by a standard five-year/150,000 km general warranty plus a five-year comprehensive roadside assistance plan. A comprehensive five-year/60,000 km service plan also comes as standard.
The subject at hand is quite decent but comes with a range of shortcomings that can be rectified and deserves consideration as a seven-seat contender. At its price point, you aren’t only getting an SUV that looks good but is also fitted with many safety systems that you’d pay an arm and a leg for in certain rivals.
It is undoubtedly a remarkable newcomer and further ascertains that for premium quality, you don’t always have to drive German cars.