When Chery first entered the South African market their cars were a bit rough, they didn't sell well and just seemed to be years behind the competitors. Chery went away and I’m not sure what they did but when they came back everything had changed. Not only are their cars good to look at, they are packed with features and in some areas well ahead of the competition. We got behind the wheel of the Flagship Tiggo 8 pro Max recently to see what it is like.
It is worth noting, before we dive into the vehicle that Chery has made it onto the top 10 sales list here in South Africa. An achievement accomplished in just over a year of being active in SA as a standalone entity. This is testament to their vehicles and perhaps the economy which has seen customers flock to new, more affordable brands that are packed with features. So, the newcomer then.
From the outside the Tiggo8 Pro MAX continues that muscular yet stately design. We particularly like the front design which features a large grille with a new brushed aluminium surround, slim headlights with LED technology. The Tiggo8 is a relatively large car, in fact it is a 7-seater of which only the Volkswagen Tiguan All-Space shares the same seating capacity within the segment. The rear features sportier looking tail lights and quad-exhaust pipes for a more performance orientated look.
The rear gets revised clear taillights with LED technology and there are four tailpipes on each end of the bumper. We would have however liked to see a set of sportier rims to further differentiate it from the standard Tiggo8 Pro.
The Chery Tiggo8 Pro is as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. Step inside and you are greeted by a plush interior full of soft-touch materials, large screens and ample space. The fascia is visually appealing and relatively minimal in its construction. Climate control functions are controlled via a centre console 8 inch touchscreen. Then you get the usual high-definition touchscreen infotainment system which measures around 10.25” is mounted atop the dashboard. It offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as various other vehicle control functions.
The third screen is the digital instrument cluster, measuring in at 12.3 inches it adds to the overall tech-fest. Other niceties include voice control, an 8-speaker Sony audio system, 360-degree camera system, front and rear parking sensors, plus auto wipers and LED headlamps with daytime running lights.
As the top-spec model, the Tiggo8 Pro Max gets comfortable 4-way electrically adjustable front seats. The headrests even fold in to add extra support, even the rear features these fancy headrests. There’s a panoramic sunroof and 3rd-row ventilation controls. All seats feature a quilted pattern which adds further appeal to the interior. Perhaps paddle shifters and contrasting stitching could add to the sporty appeal but that is our personal opinion.
From a safety point of view, this Executive model offers items such as Lane Departure Warning, Automatic Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent High-beam Control, Blind Spot Monitoring , Front Collision Warning , emergency Brake Override System, as well as a Door-Open Warning and Prevention system.
The standard Tiggo8 Pro is powered by a 1.6-litre turbo petrol motor but this Max model features a new 2.0-litre turbo petrol motor. This 4-cylinder turbocharged engine is paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that has been sourced from the German manufacturer, Getrag. Power is rated at 187kW and 390Nm and drive is sent to the front wheels. The configuration is decent, sure, there is a bit of uptake on initial pull-away but once on the move the drivetrain blends well.
When you need to exploit all of its performance the Chery Tiggo8 is all but eager to oblige. It’s pretty quick and offers various driving modes to suit the occasion. We however found Comfort mode the best.
Some drawbacks do exist though. It could be that our car was fresh off the transport and had 200km on the clock when we got behind the wheel but it is thirsty. We tried our utmost best to crack below 9l/100km and failed. This vehicle will sit at around 10l/100km and fuel just doesn't seem to last very long, no matter how economically you try and drive. It is a pity but one which is made up for when you consider the overall package and how much it costs.
One of the biggest alluring aspects of this car is the price. R629 900 (at the time of testing) is what you can expect to pay for this feature-packed 7-seater. It is impressive that they have managed to bring the vehicle to market at that price, with all of the features that it has. It is well below the entry cost of many of its competitors and in that regard should be on your list when shopping in this segment.