Our previous review on the 2020 Chery Tiggo 8 was a generally positive one. It had a very premium exterior and interior, a wide array of features, and space that could beat mainstream rivals in its segment and even challenge larger pick-up based SUVs. It was proof that Chery Auto Philippines is really being aggressive in reintroducing the brand to the Philippine market.
For this review, Chery has lent us another one of their four crossover models. The Chery Tiggo 7 is a compact crossover that slots in between the Tiggo 5X and Tiggo 8, both in terms of size, and naming. It aims to compete with other mainstream brands in the segment like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and perhaps the recently launched Geely Azkarra.
Does this model really have what it takes to compete in the growing compact crossover segment especially with its more affordable price tag?
This review is not gonna be a novel on how Chinese cars have changed over time because let’s face it, they are already very much well accepted in the Philippine market. The Chery Tiggo 7 is undoubtedly stylish. We can see its sleek front fascia that is different from the rest of the Chery lineup. Part of that stylish and sleek look are the boomerang-shaped Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, and a nice front grille. It would have been nice to have LED headlights but the standard Xenons already do a great job of lighting up the road at night. The DRLs by the way remind me of eyebrows which I guess are cute. The fog lights on the bumper also act as cornering lights when the steering wheel is turned or when turn signals are used when the headlights are switched on.
I’m not sure if Chery has given this front fascia a nickname but if you ask me, this looks more like a “crouching tiger” than the Tiggo 5X and Tiggo 8 which both have the company’s signature ‘crouching tiger’ front fascia which doesn’t really look like a crouching tiger.
The side profile is where the Tiggo 7 gets a bit interesting. Instead of on the side mirrors or front fenders as usual, the LED turn indicators are found on the door and they’re shaped a bit differently. Two body-lines flow from the indicator all the way to the rear of the vehicle. To me it looks like a boat creating waves on the water and looks quite unique for me. 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels are standard. At the back, as with other Chery crossovers, the Tiggo 7 looks clean. The taillights are LED as well and remind me a bit of the Ford Mustang when switched on. Rear fog lights and the reverse lights can be found on the bumper.
Overall, the Chery Tiggo 7 definitely has a handsome and sleek exterior. It did get several looks from people on the streets and the security guards at the condo. Traffic enforcers too I guess? Let’s just say that almost everyone who I noticed on the streets were looking at it and giving it a second look. Oh, and I must say that the front fascia and side profile makes the Tiggo 7 look as if it’s always on the move.
While the exterior is sleek and looks as if it is moving, the interior is just a bit more subdued and simple. The dashboard does look really good. Materials are mostly hard-touch plastics but the small soft plastic portion is appreciated. Build quality is also excellent so the hard-touch materials are definitely forgiven. All buttons and switches do not in any way feel cheap. The Volkswagen-style shifter is also really nice to use. The seats are wrapped in PVC leather which according to Chery is the same kind used in Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles. The seats are actually quite comfortable and one of the best seats in any of the cars we’ve reviewed. On the door panel, you get a mix of faux leather and some kind of fabric which is actually quite nice.
Space and comfort is a big strongpoint for the Tiggo 7. Despite the manually adjustable seats and tilt-only steering wheel, it’s easy to get into the right driving position. As for rear legroom, it’s excellent for the average Filipino. I’m not the tallest at a height of 5’7”, but average. I have loads of legroom at the back and the seats are equally as comfortable as in front. The standard panoramic sunroof also adds the feeling of more space considering how spacious it already is.
My main gripe with this interior is the climate controls. The mix buttons and knobs look confusing for all the bad reasons. The central knob which seems to be to turn on and off the aircon is actually for the infotainment screen. To turn on the climate, you actually have to turn the fan speed knob which usually ends up with it blowing air almost at its maximum speed. I also found myself looking for the off button several times despite it being on the temperature knob. The driving mode button is also located within this area which adds more to the confusion. If not for a review I saw on YouTube prior to receiving the unit, I would have not known immediately what the E=S button stood for. Well it stands for Eco and Sport modes. The rest of the climate controls such as recirculation, climate modes, etc. are all in the touchscreen.
To add, the floating center console is a nice touch but it is a bit difficult to reach the USB port behind it. Given that it was made to stop you from plugging in your USB charger while driving, it’s also quite difficult for the passenger. Well at least you do get some storage to hide your phone which should keep you from using it while driving.
Despite the great amount of space occupants will have in the Chery Tiggo 7, the cargo area isn’t exactly the largest. At about 414 liters, it’s adequate but other compact crossovers do provide a lot more. The floor can be raised a bit and is quite easy even with one hand. For more space, the 60:40 split second row can be folded down but that won’t be as flat as you will probably want. You can also remove the cargo cover simply by unhooking some straps. Despite that, this probably won’t even have any difficulty absorbing your cargo. Stuff for 5 people will definitely fit here.
Technology and Safety
Just like its bigger brother the Tiggo 8, the Tiggo 7 is not short on tech features. Right in the center of the dashboard is a nice 9-inch touchscreen infotainment display which thankfully comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Big thumbs up for that! While it does get manual climate controls, you can also control them digitally through the infotainment screen. Not the best way to control them but it works. There’s also a 4.8-inch display in the instrument cluster which shows various information and is also very easy to read and operate. Smart keyless entry with push button start and remote start function is also standard on the Tiggo 7.
Cruise control is thankfully standard but I never really got to use it as much as I wanted to. A tire pressure monitoring system and reverse camera with guidance lines are also standard. The driver’s instrument cluster is one of my favorite things in the Tiggo 7. It’s none of those fully-digital screens that can be found in other Chinese cars and even the cheaper Chery Tiggo 5X but it gets its job done well. It’s legible and looks cool. It is a bit weird to see the tachometer on the right side and with the needle having a counter-clockwise position. Something to get used to I guess.
The Chery Tiggo 7 is not at all behind when it comes to safety. Standard are 6 airbags, anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist, brake override system, hill descent control, hill hold control, traction control, emergency stop signal, and ISOFIX childseat anchor points.
If you read and watched our reviews on the Chery Tiggo 8, the Tiggo 7’s powertrain should be familiar to you. It is powered by the same 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine which produces 145 horsepower and 210 Newton-meters of torque. It is also paired to the same 6-speed dual-clutch transmission with power sent to the front wheels.
Driving and Comfort
From the moment the Tiggo 7 was delivered to us, I was already impressed. Its first challenge was getting up 7 storeys to our condo parking space which it did flawlessly. You can definitely feel the 210 Nm of torque as soon as you get moving. Driving around the city is also a very pleasant experience as the Tiggo 7 rides very smoothly and accelerates decently. Steering is nice and smooth while ride quality is almost excellent. Sound insulation is also really good with only some engine noise going into the cabin. As for the transmission, it could be improved but as expected from a DCT there is a bit of lag when coming from a stop. It doesn’t change the fact though that this crossover accelerates really well once you do start moving.
When out of the city, the Tiggo 7 proves itself as a great highway cruiser. Its quick acceleration makes it easy to reach highway speeds. As it is very quiet and the ride remains smooth, there were a few instances that I did not know that I was already going 40 kph above the speed limit so I set a speed warning to go at 105 kph to stop the vehicle from making me go above the speed limit.
Driving around Metro Manila gave us about 7-10 kilometers per liter in a mix of light and heavy traffic. At times, it was able to do a better 12 km/l. Highway runs as expected are more impressive and actually excellent with a minimum of 15 km/l and a maximum of 20 km/l at an average speed of 90-100 kph.
The best part of the Chery Tiggo 7 is its price. At just Php 1,195,000, it definitely undercuts its rivals by a large margin with its fully-loaded features, good engine specifications, and excellent driving and comfort. It’s inevitable that some people will have something to say about the brand but you have to consider that the company and its distributor have built-up their experiences in their respective fields. In addition to that, Chery Auto Philippines’ 5-year 150,000 km bumper-to-bumper warranty, 10-year 1-million km warranty, and 3-year free preventive maintenance service package, definitely says something about how much the distributor trusts the brand.
Considering the overall experience, there are really only two flaws right? The minor lag from a stop and the confusing climate control which are things we can get used to. Other than that, it’s basically the perfect crossover and another step in the right direction for Chery Auto Philippines.