Chery Tiggo 7 Pro: staggering advancement

Does anyone remember the old Tiggos? I do. One of my employees at the time owned one. He had an artificial plastic flower garden in the dash. Given his tall stature, flowing blond looks and outrageous good looks I always found that amusing.

This new one though is anything but amusing. Chery have not evolved or even revolutionised. They have come from horse and cart to space buggy in such a staggeringly short period of time in automotive terms that the only reason not to buy the new Chery Tiggo is simply because at this rate of development the next one is likely going to include an in-dash drinks maker, electronic butler and probably a first stab at time warping.

The progress is incredible. The competition in the next few years is going to be worthy of buckets of popcorn and we have seen the sales figures already for the brand locally. South Africans are flocking to them like mozzies to a bright light. Having had this Tiggo 7 Pro on test for a week I can see why.

It’s stuffed to the gills with tech. The voice controls on the car that drove my 9 year old son wild with delight and endless amusement that work better than anything, even Google, that I have come across thus far.

A powered tailgate, remote start from a distance with the key fob, wireless charging, adaptive cruise control, assisted headlights, climate control. 475l of boot space plus the massive panoramic sunroof, efficient and effective climate control, ambient lighting colour control, tyre pressure sensors, blind spot detection, omni directional airbags, front forward collision alerts, rear collision prevention (by engaging the hazards automatically when cars behind you approach too aggressively for the Chery’s liking) – the list goes on and on. I couldn’t figure out how to make the radio tell me which station I was listening to but that’s probably because I needed to spend more time in the menu system and to be honest I was driving as opposed to worrying about it.

The sound system, a thing I do take note of for obvious reasons, is great. The back end is Sony and it gets on with the job of keeping your music upfront and engaging. I enjoyed it without loving it but my standards are admittedly high. Purely personal preference in other words. It gets loud enough without losing composure and if you set it up properly you can customise it to suit your own listening preferences.

The Tiggo 7 Pro is powered by a 1.5 turbo charged petrol engine pushing out 108kW and 210 Nm, mated to an 8 way CVT gearbox. I detest and loathe CVT boxes but even I have to admit that they are slowly improving and this version in the Chery is not bad. There are occasional theatrics where the motor is maintained at unpleasant RPM but in all honesty it’s rare and I could live with it.

The ride errs on the side of comfort which is the correct thing to do. It goes around corners in a confidence inspiring manner even if the body leans a bit and it stops with admirable competence.

There’s that word again: competence. It’s the correct word for the Tiggo 7 Pro – which despite the implications of the word is still an exciting car. I loved the looks of the car and at night the puddle lamps are a nice touch, and the across the rump tail light fits with current modern trends. Of course we’re all LED here and at night the Chery is, yup, competent in illuminating the road ahead.

Chery has come so far so quickly from flowers in a dashboard to sales that demonstrate market acceptance because the new Tiggos are compelling. It is because the value for money factor is so high. Along with a rapidly expanding dealer and ergo servicing base the Chery brand is already a force to be reckoned with. In the notoriously difficult South African market that is no mean accomplishment and with the 7’s road test now under the belt it is not hard to see why they are selling in high numbers.

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