Chery’s Tiggo ripe for the picking
THE words ‘Chinese manufacturer’ in the automotive world are usually associated with cheap and nasty. But one thing we can’t deny is how rapidly these Asian manufacturers have improved their products and offerings.
Recently I got to drive the newly refined Chery Tiggo and it left me mildly impressed.
South Africans love their big cars, particularly SUVs, and this is where Chery is hoping the new Tiggo will entice.
Looking similar to the previous generation Nissan Qashqai up front, the Tiggo’s stance is strong and modern, with a rounded and sleeker profile.
The addition of LED lights and daytime running lights up front are also a new touch, as are the 17-inch alloy wheels, adding an aggressive demeanour.
Under the hood
The new 1.6-litre engine is dramatically improved over the outgoing motor. Capable of producing 93kW of power and 160Nm of torque, the new Tiggo enjoys a 15 percent improvement in terms of power output. That said, the engine does have to be worked sometimes to get the big Tiggo moving at pace and a sixth gear would have been a welcomed addition, particularly on a long road.
Nestled behind the wheel, you can’t help but commend Chery for throwing almost every creature comfort in the car as standard. From the expected, such as aircon, an audio system with CD player and an MP3/USB jack, as well as ISOFIX, to the unexpected Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and rear-park distance control. The inclusion of safety features, like Electronic Stability control Programme (ESP), dual airbags and ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) are also welcome.
But despite the healthy dollop of standard features, the interior layout looks dated. For instance, the dashboard’s colour and design can best be described as stretched elephant skin, with the leftovers used to cover the steering wheel.
Out on the road
Once out and about, the Chery packs a surprise. On our 230km test-drive to Cullinan, we were faced with some nasty gravel roads and the Tiggo’s suspension handled everything it was faced with, rather well.
It floated along and hit the undulating bumps with ease. If it seems like I’m raving a little too much about this car’s chassis, it’s because it’s truly phenomenal and was not what I was expecting.
Cabin space is also decent, with plenty of space in the front and rear for occupants.
Besides a big improvement in the level of standard equipment there’s now added peace of mind for Tiggo owners with a three-year/75 000km service plan, a factory-backed five-year/120 000km warranty and roadside assistance.
Chery Tiggo R229 900.