Chery Auto Philippines is targeting the fast-growing category of “affordable premium,” that new segment of car buyers who want more luxury and premium features but at an affordable price. It’s this segment that Chery is aiming for with its all-new Tiggo 7 Pro compact crossover, which was launched last month.
So, does the new Tiggo 7 Pro has what it takes to join this not-so-exclusive club?
First, you have to be dressed the part. And in this regard, the Tiggo 7 Pro, with its clean, upmarket styling, passes with flying colors. No surprise as the Tiggo 7 Pro’s European-inspired design was penned by a Briton, Chery’s global chief of car design, Kevin Rice, who designed Mazdas (including the MX-5 from 1999 to 2005) as Hiroshima’s European design director, and with BMW, for the previous 1, 3 and 4 Series.
The new Tiggo 7 Pro presents an assertive visage on the road with its big, bold grille and upscale-looking slim LED matrix headlamps (LED matrix is the same lighting technology used by Porsche and other luxury brands). The foglamps and daytime running lights (DRLs) are all LED as well for state-of-the-art road illumination. More upmarket styling touches include a floating roof effect achieved by black wrap-around rear pillars, distinctive character lines, and large 18-inch alloy wheels with comfort-oriented 225/60R18 tires.
The rear is consistent with the luxury theme, with a red strip that connects the taillights similar to the treatment found in some luxury performance German SUVs. The taillights really stand out in a sea of red lights at night. Beautifully integrated chrome-tipped dual tailpipes and rear spoiler enhance the visual performance and upmarket appeal.
The Tiggo 7 Pro’s well-crafted leather-covered cabin reflects the same upscale style and premium build quality and features expressed by the exterior. All interior surfaces not covered by leather use soft-touch plastics. Extensive side bolstering on the power-adjustable front seats give supreme comfort on long drives and project a sporty bucket seat style. There is a biggest-in-class 10.25-inch touchscreen six-speaker infotainment system that boasts Bluetooth, Mirror Link, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and USB connectivity. A touch-panel controls the AC system, further underscoring the luxury car feel.
A very luxury car-like feature of the Tiggo 7 Pro is its Smart Key, which not only starts the engine, but can also turn on the aircon, open the tailgate and windows—all at a push of a button. The Tiggo 7 Pro also has wireless mobile phone charging plus three USB ports for high onboard connectivity with various gadgets.
Other premium Tiggo 7 Pro features include a largest-in-class panoramic sunroof, dynamic sequential turn signal lights, welcome lights, a “follow me home” feature for the headlights. multi-color cabin ambient lighting, 360-degree HD camera, power tailgate, a flush-fitting luggage roof rack with a 50-kg capacity, a push-button electronic parking brake, a tire pressure monitoring system, a rear camera with front and rear proximity sensors, a fully digital instrument cluster, and a very nice flat-bottom multi-function leather steering wheel with controls for hands-free phone use, audio, and cruise control.
The Tiggo 7 Pro is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged Euro 5 four-cylinder engine mated with an all-new nine-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT). The engine generates 145hp and 210Nm of torque—not exactly awe-inspiring numbers, but more than enough to deliver smooth and strong acceleration. It never feels underpowered, thanks to the responsive CVT and the fact that peak torque is achieved as low as 1,750 rpm and stays constant until 4,400 rpm. It averaged 7-8 km/l in city driving and 12-14 km/l when you manage to find stretches to cruise.
Ride quality (with MacPherson struts in front and multi-links at the back) is an ideal balance between suppleness and comfort for everyday driving and enough stiffness for responsive handling.
The Tiggo 7 Pro’s suite of safety features include dual front and side airbags, ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Electronic Brake Assist (EBA), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Assist Control (HDC), Hill Descent Control (HDC), and ISOFIX child-seat tethers. It has a Brake Override System, which automatically overrides the throttle when the gas and brake pedals are accidentally depressed at the same time, as well as an Emergency Signal System, which flashes the hazard lights at high speed if the driver suddenly brakes when traveling at high speed to more quickly alert the motorist following behind.
The new Tiggo 7 Pro sweetens the deal with Chery’s standard 10-year/1 million-km engine warranty, a five-year/150,000-km general vehicle warranty, free three-year preventive maintenance service (PMS), and free three-year roadside assistance. The Tiggo 7 Pro retail price of P1,198,000.
With assertive Euro-inspired styling; a premium well-crafted cabin; a wealth of comfort, convenience, luxury, and safety features; solid performance; an irresistible warranty (with free PMS and roadside assistance); and a price tag bordering almost as a bargain, the Chery Tiggo 7 Pro makes an extremely compelling case for any new car buyer.