The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
Chery is a Chinese automotive manufacturer that made a brief appearance in South Africa from 2008 to around 2016 with compact city cars like the QQ. They were cheap but often not so cheerful.
Now they’re back, with an all-new line-up focusing on SUVs with a dealer network boasting 30 partners. The cars themselves are still cheap but definitely a lot more cheerful. In fact, if you slapped a car badge from any European manufacturer onto this car, the price would instantly be R200k more. No question about it … the new Tiggo 8 Pro is going to eat market share. It’s that good.
Of course, now I’ve given it the kiss of death, sales will probably tank just to spite me but let’s run through all the good stuff anyway.
A 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine mated to a superb seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox develops 145 kW and 290 Nm. The ride is supple and comfortable albeit with power steering that felt a little over-assisted. Fuel consumption is on par with others in the class, too.
Ergonomics are superb. The interior is adorned with three high-resolution displays, the talk-to-me tech from the infotainment system and downright comfortable and superbly luxurious leather seats; there are seven of them, complemented by a sensible, forward/backwards adjustable 60/40 split centre row. You have a powered tailgate in the expensive version, which, let me point out, is around the R545k mark with the cheaper version being around R495k.
To top it all off, all Chery models are sold with a five-year/150,000 km warranty that will automatically extend to 10 years or 1,000,000 km, provided the car remains in the original owner’s name. Yes, that’s one million kilometres.
The Tiggo 8 Pro is an outright winner. In this price range, I cannot recall anything even remotely close. If they hand over a test car for a week or so, I’ll give you the lowdown but for now, the first impressions are the Tiggo 8 Pro is going to give everything else a bloody nose in almost every toe-to-toe contest. Exciting stuff indeed.
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