‘Enjoy your first class’…Or so the new Chery Tiggo 8 Pro’s marketing material promises, and we all know our friends in advertising’s propensity for hyberbole. We may be a bit skeptical of such a bold statement by a Chinese automotive brand. But times have changed as Thys de Beer discovered.
Chery’s second new offering, the Tiggo 8 Pro seven-seater, mid-sized SUV arrived in all its glory, bells, and whistles. Two models, the Distinctive, priced at R496 000, and Executive, priced at R546 900, are on offer and are both powered by a 1,6-litre TGDI turbo-petrol engine powering the front wheels through a seven-speed DCT dual-clutch gearbox (sourced from German firm Getrag) with a power output of 145 kW at 5 500 r/min and 290 N.m of torque between 2 000 and 4 000 r/min.
The Tiggo 8 Pro has a standard features list as long as a State of the Nation Address, just more impressive. On both models owners are welcomed to high levels of perceived quality that includes two-tone brown and black or black seats, a six-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, a 10,25-inch infotainment system, dual-zone climate control, an eight-speaker Sony surround sound system, wireless charging, and intelligent voice control, and ambient lighting. The premium-feeling cabin is a comfortable space to spend time in. The intuitively-designed interior is relatively uncluttered and the 10,5-inch touchscreen is easy to operate. The space in the third row that would comfortably seat two adults. It even has its own climate control on the Executive model.
Safe and Sound
Chery spared no expense when it came to passive and active safety kit if one takes six airbags, traction control, hill and downhill assist, tyre-pressure monitoring for its 18-inchers, lane departure warning, and a 360-degree camera parking view system, Isofix fitting points, to name but a few, into consideration.
The range-topping Executive model includes four-way electric seat adjustment for both front passenger seats, brown and black diamond-patterned leather upholstery, climate control for the third row of seats, a panoramic sunroof, rear privacy glass, wireless charging, Android Auto and Apple Carplay, and level two semi-autonomous safety features.
We set off from Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. At first glance the Tiggo 8 Pro looked perfectly at home in the Marriot’s parking area. It has a presence and impressive styling without contemporary designers’ propensity for over design. Off we went via a few Highveld back roads; the Cosmos already in bloom, the potholes lying in wait, and floating cumulus clouds overhead that could be appreciated through the voice-activated panoramic sunroof, to welcome us. The Chery felt sure-footed, the driving position good, the steering firm, and we experienced very little body roll, when swerving to miss a few potholes. We arrived back in Jozi suitably impressed.
If I have to nitpick, although the front seats are comfortable and supportive, bigger-boned people might find them a bit on the tighter side. Head and foot space are ample in the back but three adults felt a bit cramped when we shared the second row. That said, one of us was tall and another not quite the slimmer of the year.
Peace of mind
All models are sold with a five-year/60 000 km service plan and five-year/150 000 km warranty, as well as Chery’s 10-year/1-million-kilometre warranty, which only applies to the first owner. So, what’s the verdict? If you are in the market for a handsome, well-priced and specced, comfortable seven-seater SUV, I would make my way to one of the 50 dealerships countrywide for a test drive. The Chery Tiggo 8 Pro is bound to give the Haval H6, VW Tiguan All-Space, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sportage, etc. a run for their money.
Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Executive
Price: R546 900
Engine: 1,6-litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged petrol
Transmission: 7-speed automated dual clutch
Power: 145 kW @5 500 rpm
Torque: 290 N.m @2 000 rpm – 4 400 rpm
Driven wheels: front
0-100 km/h: N/A
Top speed: N/A
Fuel consumption: N/A
CO2 emissions: N/A
Rivals: Volkswagen Tiguan All-Space, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Nissan X-Trail