Chery is making waves on the local market with its very attractive and well-specced Tiggo models. They’re also very competitively priced for what you get, and with increasing numbers seen on our roads, potential buyers seem to be impressed. So, what’s the catch? Liana Reiners finds out.
The Tiggo 7 Pro is the third model in Chery’s line-up of SUVs. Like its stablemates, the Tiggo 4 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro, it has just about everything that opens and shuts in terms of standard spec. Think electric seats, electric windows, climate control, an infotainment system with voice demand, panoramic sunroof, alloy wheels… it’s all there, and then some! I’m not lying when I say I was truly impressed. I’m a sucker for gadgets and every time I got behind the wheel, I discovered another nifty feature that I hadn’t noticed before. Sure, if I’d read the official literature, I would have known about all of this. But then that’s what I have a teenage son for… to explain to me how everything works.
There’s a lot happening on the safety side too. All models have ISOFIX child seat anchors, ABS brakes, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), emergency brake assistance (EBA), hill start assistance (HSA), hill descent control (HDC), rear traffic alert (RTA) and blind spot detection (BSD). Obviously, there’s full complement of airbags too.
It’s fun to drive
On the handling side I can’t really fault the Tiggo 7 Pro either. It’s easy and comfortable to drive and handles most road surfaces well.
When I drove its stablemate, the Tiggo 4 Pro, earlier this year I nearly gave myself a heart attack when I veered right to make way for a motorcyclist and almost ended up hitting the barricade. Doubting my own driving abilities, I mentioned this to a few of my colleagues and they confirmed that the steering was almost dangerously direct. The Tiggo 7 Pro has none of that.
It’s rather pretty
Looks-wise, there really is nothing to complain about either. The Tiggo 7 Pro truly is a very attractive vehicle. I can say this with confidence because it got a lot of admiring glances whenever I drove it around our neighbourhood. It even drew quite a few enquiries, which led to some interesting conversations in parking lots… Don’t judge – at my age I take what I can get. Most everyone I spoke to raved about its looks and were genuinely impressed when I told them what it costs – depending on the model, R419 900 or R454 900.
The engine isn’t half bad
Both versions of the Tiggo 7 Pro are fitted with Chery’s 1.5 litre turbopetrol four-cylinder engine. It has multipoint direct injection and 16 valves (4 per cylinder) and delivers 108kW at 5 500rpm. Its 210Nm of torque is delivered in a flat power band between 1 750rpm and 4 500rpm. The Tiggo 7 Pro sends its power to the front wheels through an ultra-smooth CVT transmission with nine pre-programmed “spreads”. I might have mentioned in previous articles that I am not the biggest fan of CVT, but this one isn’t too bad. The gear shifter is fully electronic.
There’s always a but
This brings me to the bit I was less impressed with… “Chery Power has become synonymous with some of the most modern and efficient internal combustion engines in the world and in the Tiggo 7 Pro this is no exception.” This is a direct quote from an official press release and when I read the part about efficiency I almost swallowed on my cigarette (again, don’t judge).
As with the Tiggo 4 Pro that I mentioned, fuel consumption is anything but efficient. For the first few days it hovered around 9.6 litres/100km (mostly in urban traffic) and after a round trip to Thabazimbi (I drive there often as my eldest son lives there), I managed to get it all the way down to 8.6 litres/100km. I was really careful about not speeding and I did my best to drive as efficiently as possible. I didn’t use the aircon and I even kept the windows closed, but I couldn’t do any better than that.
Yay or nay?
In terms of styling and standard features I can’t fault the Tiggo 7 Pro. It’s roomy, comfortable, and not bad to drive, but it gulps fuel like a thirsty sailor. I wish Chery would figure out a way to remedy that because then I would recommend it with a smile.
*The two-model line-up includes the Distinction model (at R419 900) and the top-spec Excutive model (for R454 900). All Chery Tiggo 7 Pro models are sold with a 5-year/60 000km service plan, 5-year/unlimited kilometre roadside assistance programme, a 5-year/150 000km general mechanical warranty and offers a comprehensive 10-year/1-million-kilometre engine warranty. The latter is not transferable when you buy second-hand, though.