Car brands from China are beginning to carve their niche in the Philippine market. One such brand with something to prove is Chery. It’s making its comeback to the Philippines, under their new distributor, United Asia Automotive Group, Inc. (UAAGI) who are also the distributor/assembler of Foton in the country.
As of 2019, Chery has been China’s biggest exporter of cars for 16 years, selling over 7.2 million vehicles in over 80 countries. For the Philippines, Chery is introducing four SUVs: the Tiggo 2, Tiggo 5x, Tiggo 7 and our review vehicle, the seven-seater Tiggo 8.
The Tiggo 8 is impossible to mistake for any other car with styling by British auto designer, Kevin Rice. It’s a big vehicle, measuring at 4.7 meters long and 1.8 meters wide. It comes with automatic LED headlights with daytime running lamps (DRL) on the bumper. The grille flows down into an airdam that’s split by the chrome trim that extends out under the automatic LED headlights. Another chrome strip houses the daytime running lamps running along the bumper. It’s completed with a bash plate at the bottom in aluminum finish.
Its side has chrome accent on the lower parts of the doors and on the roof, you get functional, load-bearing roof rail. It rolls on 235 mm tires on 18-inch gun metal powder coated alloy rims.
Around the rear, the styling mirrors the front motif, but with LED tail lamps across the tailgate and a high mount LED stop lamp.
Under the hood, it’s powered by a Euro-5 compliant, turbocharged 1.5-liter engine that produces 145-hp at 5,500 rpm, with max torque of 210-Nm between 1,750-4,400 rpm. This is paired with a six-speed dual clutch transmission.
Getting inside may require some effort opening and closing the doors, as they are a bit in the heavy side to offer better side impact protection. The seats are upholstered in faux leather, but don’t feel cheap or give off that synthetic smell.
The instrument cluster is an all digital seven-inch LCD screen that shows driver alerts/warnings and other relevant driver information.
It’s paired with a 10.25-inch HD touch screen connected to a six-speaker entertainment system with Bluetooth connectivity. It also doubles as the screen for the reverse and 360-degree cameras.
The climate control has a touchscreen interface as well. The vehicle also offers vents for the second row passengers. The back seats can split and fold 60:40, granting access to the third row that can seat two.
Safety and convenience
The Smart Key is a handy addition to the Tiggo 8’s convenience features. It automatically unlocking the vehicle and unfolds the power fold side mirrors when you’re within 1.2 meters. With it, the electronic rear hatch can be locked, unlocked and opened. You can also start or stop the engine with a three-second long press on the lock button.
When walking away, it locks the doors when you more than 1.5 meters away. If there’s an open window while parked, you can also close it remotely with a three-second press on the lock button. If you leave the Smart Key in the car, it will alert you.
You also get a Smart Watch, which does pretty much all the things a fitness tracker does. Besides that, it can also lock, unlock, operate windows, open the rear hatch and start the engine.
The Tiggo 8 is also packed when it comes to safety. It comes with six airbags, three-point pre-tensioner seatbelts for all seven occupants, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), electronic stability program (ESP), Emergency Brake Assist, Brake Override System, Hill Descent Control, Hill Hold Control, Traction Control System, Emergency Signal System (The hazard lights flash when the driver slams on the brakes), electronic parking brake with auto hold, reverse camera with guide lines, cruise control, and front and rear parking sensors. It’s also equipped with an intelligent tire pressure monitoring system which displays the tire pressure and temperature in the instrument cluster in front of the driver.
Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give Tiggo 8 Lux EX is that it met all my expectations of what a vehicle in this category can do. It has all the fancy features you’d expect from a top-of-line, seven-seater SUV, but at only PhP1.340M. You could say it surpassed my expectations.
Now before you make assumptions on its build quality vs price, I assure you that this is one well put-together SUV. For your peace of mind, Chery Philippines offers three years of free Preventive Maintenance and a five-year or 150K-km bumper to bumper General Vehicle Warranty. They also throw in a 10-year or 1 million kilometer engine warranty.
These guarantees certainly make a good argument to any doubters. As for Chery’s comeback, it’s a great second impression.
Source: 2020, July 17. Practical, full-featured, luxurious. Retrieved from mb.com.ph. Authored by Neil Pagulayan.