Chery Tiggo 8 Pro review – Changing perceptions

The first Chery I popped was the Tiggo 5x when I drove it last year. It wasn’t outstanding from the outside but inside, the cabin was night and day compared to its contemporaries—solid build, modern dashboard, and has a set of well-rounded amenities. It even came with a remote engine start which was unseen in its price range.

Since then, Chery Philippines has introduced the second generation of their crossovers – the Pro line. The first to arrive was the Tiggo 7 Pro, followed by the Tiggo 2 Pro, and now we have the biggest brother of them all – the 7-seater Tiggo 8 Pro. It’s a massive upgrade from the previous iteration and offers a lot of luxury for its price point.

Despite that introduction, the exterior design remains modest on the Tiggo 8 Pro. The sculptings on both ends of the crossover aren’t outlandish, while the sides were made simple and with narrow cladding. This allows the aesthetic appointments to shine like the hexagonal grille with a chrome-crusted pyramid pattern, the LED headlights with L-shaped DRLs, modern looking taillights, and meaty 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels. It also has a few tricks like the auto-folding side mirrors, panoramic sunroof, and a much appreciated powered tailgate.

Chery went all out with the cabin of the Tiggo 8 Pro. The seats are clad in plush tan leather which is the same applied to the dashboard. There are three huge digital screens – the digital gauge cluster, 12.3-inch touchscreen, and another touchscreen for the air controls. Front seats are powered and have ventilation, there are butterfly headrests for the two rows, and a much needed (in the Philippines) air vents up to the third row. There are few fellow crossovers in the segment that can hold a candle against this cabin – like the Geely Azkarra, Honda CR-V S, and Mazda CX-30 but this Chery is more affordable than the Azkarra, more techy than the CR-V, and more spacious than the Mazda.

But it’s not without fault. The second row air vents are sedan-like in that it’s behind the center console instead of on the ceiling, beside the panoramic sunroof perhaps. The touchscreen is able to host iPhones for CarPlay but Android phones need QDLink for Android Auto, which isn’t as intuitive as when it’s natively available on the unit. The second row seats also don’t tumble, they just fold or bend forwards so if adults go to the third row—it could be a bit of a hassle going in and out. In the grand scheme of things though, they are very trivial compared to what you’re getting, especially once you take it out on the road.

Chery did not forget to focus on driving dynamics despite the plethora of amenities for its passengers. The Tiggo 8 Pro drives as good as it looks in that there will be minimal adjustment for you once you get behind the wheel. All contact points are clad in leather, the steering is light with little play and firms up nicely, the brake pedal is soft but bites immediately, and the auto brake hold is such a gift especially in stop and go traffic.

They have also addressed the transmission concerns with this new iteration of the Tiggo 8. It’s now smooth and doesn’t shuffle on low speed or traffic. However, there’s still a delay when it switches to a lower gear for inclines and descents so for that, I suggest using the paddle shifters for better gearing in those situations.

Despite the presence of a panoramic sunroof, the cabin is shielded nicely from the outside noise. It’s complemented by sensitive sensors and blind spot monitors that alert you whenever a car is too close from any angle or if a motorcycle is about to zoom past you.

Riding comfort is also stellar for the Tiggo 8 Pro. It’s very pliant in most road conditions in the city including EDSA, C5, and the usual ruts of QC. It can get jumpy at times especially when you’re in the truck lane but it’s still not as jarring as other vehicles.

What I really like best about driving the Tiggo 8 Pro is the presence of Apple CarPlay on the huge touchscreen. Having all that space for the app is very useful especially since I’m a devotee of Waze and Spotify for my drives. It’s responsive and smooth to operate and in my time with the test unit, I didn’t encounter any hiccups.

If you’re not heavy footed and just cruising in the city, fuel efficiency is at 8.5km/l which isn’t bad for a crossover this big running on a 1.6-liter turbo gas engine. Where it hits is on the highway, returning on 13.5km/l when cruising at 85kph. But don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have a problem going at the speed limit.

If the Tiggo 5x I drove last year was good enough to stand wheel to wheel with its Japanese rivals, the P1,700,000 Tiggo 8 Pro is more than ready to take the lead from them. Looks, cabin, amenities – it’s a great package of attainable luxury. It also comes with Chery’s 7-year or 200,000 km general warranty and engine warranty, 3-year free PMS, and 3-year roadside assistance.

Still, it’s a damn good crossover for the price. There’s more than enough space for all occupants and their belongings, you can go stargazing while on a car date, and it won’t disappoint you out on the road. For those saying it’s still Chinese blablabla I’m sure they’ll change their narrative once they get to try this out. A good car is good no matter where it’s made and the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro will remove the discrimination out of your head once you’ve driven it.

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