Chery Auto Philippines will be launching the all-new version of the Tiggo 7 compact crossover early next year. But we got a chance for an advance drive of the new model, now called the Tiggo 7 Pro, for a few days. Here are the top 7 impressions it made on me.
It looks stunning.
People who saw the new Tiggo 7 Pro said that they were reminded of a Hyundai, particularly the Ford Explorer-class Palisade luxury SUV—an observation I agree with, particularly with the compelling design of the front end. Some also said the Tiggo 7 Pro’s assertively large grille are reminiscent of the bold grille of a Lexus while the slim rectangular “angry” headlamps are very Audi.
The side view is clean and free from any gimmicky styling tricks, the only accent being the sharp character lines on the front and rear fenders and the playful kick-up of the window beltline on the rear part of the vehicle. The wraparound blacked out D pillar results in a floating roof design that’s fast becoming a styling must-have in a growing number of SUVs and crossovers. Smartly styled and generously sized 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/60R-18 tires add to the upmarket appeal.
The rear is nicely minimalist without being boring, in the same vein as a Mazda CX series crossover—or even a Porsche Macan with its full-width red strip connecting the LED taillamps (which really stand out in traffic at night). Yet another nice touch are the dual tailpipes, neatly integrated into the rear bumper in similar Lexus tradition.
Credit for the Tiggo 7 Pro’s globally appealing design goes to Chery’s Vice President and Global Chief of Car Design, Kevin Rice, a Briton who used to help design Mazdas (including the MX-5) from 1999 to 2005 as Hiroshima’s European Design Director, and with BMW, responsible for the exterior design of the previous 1, 3 and 4 Series.
It oozes “premium” inside.
Close the doors and you get a solid thud. Feel the faux leather upholstery and the elegant red-and-gray double stitching—smooth. All the plastics on the dash and door panels are of the soft-feel type. There’s a piano black finish on the console. There are sporty red accents on the dash and door panels as well as red inserts on the folds of the seat leather. The shapes of the inner door handles, armrests and even the doors’ storage compartments have obviously been given a lot of thought. Ditto the beautifully functional dash and steering wheel. There’s even a floating center console (with an ambient-lighted storage area underneath it) similar to a Volvo’s.
It has features galore.
A 10.25-inch touchscreen—the biggest in its class—starts things off. That touchscreen is the centerpiece of the Tiggo 7 Pro’s 6-speaker infotainment system, which has a Mirror Link feature for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The Tiggo 7 Pro’s Smart Key is smarter than in most other cars. It can start the engine (and turn it off), turn on the aircon, open the tailgate and the windows—all at a push of a button. It has wireless mobile phone charging (but still has no less than three USB ports).
It’s also got a 360-degree HD camera, a power tailgate, an electronic parking brake, a tire pressure monitoring system, a rear camera with front and rear proximity sensors, and a fully digital instrument cluster. The handsome flat-bottom leather steering wheel steering wheel has a lot of control buttons, allowing you to control more than the usual audio and cruise control functions. I also like that all of the Tiggo 7 Pro’s windows have one-touch up and down—an under-appreciated feature not seen often enough. Smartly enough, they have an anti-pinch feature to prevent pinched fingers.
It has impressively well-developed driving dynamics.
I still remember the early years of Korean cars of the early 90s (and even the early 2000s). Many of them had wooly steering, too-soft springs and dampers, and spongy brakes. Ditto the first generation of Chinese cars that reached our shores over 10 years ago. But the current crop? One word: world-class. It applies to the new Tiggo 7 Pro, which is suspended on front MacPherson struts and a rear multi-link suspension (instead of the cheaper and more common torsion beam on many crossovers). This world-class attribute doesn’t apply with just Chery. An impressively high number of China-made cars are exhibiting refined and thoroughly developed drivetrains, suspensions, and brakes—a testament to extensive R&D, something my colleagues and I witnessed firsthand in five separate visits to the manufacturing and testing facilities of various Chinese car manufacturers last year.
It has a strong, refined engine and transmission.
The Tiggo 7 Pro has a low-NVH (noise/vibration/harshness) 1.5-liter turbocharged DOHC 16-valve Euro 5-compliant 4-cylinder engine. It’s about as modern as small internal combustion motors get. It’s also pretty much a carryover of the current Tiggo 7’s engine. What’s completely different is the transmission—Chery broomed the DCT of the current model and slipped in a brand new continuously variable transmission (CVT), which delivers true seamless shifting while matching a DCT’s fuel efficiency. This CVT has 9(!) preset speeds that the driver can play with via the “+” and “-“ gates on the shift lever.
It has a full suite of advanced safety features.
Here’s the alphabet soup: ABS, EBD, ESP, EBA, TCS, HAC, HDC, and ISOFIX. It even has a Brake Override System, which automatically overrides the throttle when the accelerator and brake pedals are depressed at the same time. It also has an Emergency Signal System, which flashes the hazard lights at high speed if the driver suddenly brakes when traveling at high speed to better alert the motorist behind the car. Needless to say, it’s got dual front airbags as well as side airbags.
It has an unbeatable warranty and PMS/after-sales package.
This last one applies to all Chery models, but makes the new Tiggo 7 Pro an even more irresistible package: an astounding 10-year/1 million-km engine warranty, a 5-year/150,000-km general vehicle warranty, free 3 years preventive maintenance service (PMS), and free 3 years roadside assistance.
Which leaves just the price as the last big question mark. Not surprisingly, there’s no final SRP yet. Suffice to say that the current Tiggo 7 retails for P1,195,000. Expect the all-new model to cost around that ballpark.