logo
Latest News
Follow
Sunday / 23 June 2024
HomeFeaturesFlagship Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max review – A sleek 7-seater with spirit

Flagship Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max review – A sleek 7-seater with spirit

Speed and agility are attributes rarely associated with a seven-seater, but the top-end Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max offers both.

It’s an unexpectedly spritely Luxury SUV that brings all the bells and whistles one could ask for at a very reasonable price of R669,900 in comparison to other rivals in its class.

Chery’s re-entry into South Africa in late 2021 has been met with much fanfare and the automaker has gone from strength to strength ever since; it’s not a strenuous exercise to see why once you get into the driver’s seat of its flagship product for an extended period of time.

Sleek 7-seater

Chery’s “Max” derivatives are the most premium and powerful models in their respective line-ups, and this particular version has plenty going for it.

Besides its abundance of curb appeal owing to its streamlined shape and well-considered lines, the most striking element of the Tiggo 8 Pro Max is its lovely finishes inside and outside.

The attractive “galaxy” grille is surrounded by a textured grey octagon and “tiger-eye” LED headlights, chrome highlights break up the monotony of the sizeable body panels, it rides on trendy 19-inch aluminium alloy rims, and it wears an illuminating logo on the nose that lends an original and decidedly distinctive front-end signature.

Open the doors and you’re greeted with seats wrapped in attractive leather, faux-wood dash and door inserts, metal speaker grilles with a floral pattern, piano black trimmings, a crystal-like starter button, and a massive panoramic sunroof with an electronic cover.

Standard nice-to-haves comprise a rapid 50W wireless charger, dual-zone climate control with vents for all three rows of seating, electric front seats with lumbar support, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with three themes, a 12.3-inch central infotainment system with wired Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, and an electric tailgate.

This is on top of a suite of 15 advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, a 360-degree camera system, and traffic congestion assist.

The front seats provide heating and ventilating functions, the latter of which was welcomed with open arms in our temperate climate, and the front headrests can be bent and shaped to your liking for ultimate support and comfort.

I also found the Chery’s keyless entry and start system to be among the most intuitive on the market as it operated smoother than most other vehicles that cost two to three times its price.

Perhaps the most noteworthy benefit to the Max as opposed to the standard Tiggo 8 Pro is the former’s more ardent powertrain.

The Max gets a turbocharged, 2.0-litre petrol engine matched with an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox that altogether pushes out 187kW and 390Nm – a sizeable step up from its 1.6-litre namesake’s 145kW and 290Nm.

The system supplies a liveliness that belies its stature as a large family hauler and gets the Chery up to speed in no time. A subtle flex of the big toe sees a bit of wheelspin off the line if you’re not careful.

Its handling is unexpectedly direct for a front-wheel-drive setup and body roll is minimal, too, and while it doesn’t have the most supple of rides for a Luxury SUV, it’s not overly stiff.

The enthusiasm does come at the expense of fuel consumption, though.

Not being too keen on filling up the 51-litre tank at our current exorbitant petrol prices, I practiced plenty of restraint during my week with the Tiggo and got its spend down to 9.7l/100km over 423km, with around 90% of the time spent in Eco mode.

On the rare occasions when I had to test out the Sport setting – for research purposes, of course – the consumption effortlessly shot to upwards of 11.0l/100km.

Perfection is an illusion, as they say, and this is where we get into the lesser positive parts about the Tiggo 8 Pro Max – at least, there are few.

The biggest gripe was the sensitivity of the Chery’s ADAS which were like an overprotective parent consistently having their hands on the controls.

If you are changing from the middle to the side lanes and there’s a barrier anywhere near the yellow line, the SUV will beep and flash all kinds of warnings even though you’re not even close to said barrier, and well aware that you shouldn’t hit it.

On my short drive to work in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the forward-collision warning system activated the hazard lights no fewer than four times as soon as I put a tad more than casual pressure on the brake. This has never happened to me in any other vehicle with this feature.

The ADAS exhibited these behaviours in their mildest settings. You can turn them off completely, but then what’s the point in paying for them?

The other issues are less pronounced and you can learn to live with them rather quickly.

The Tiggo’s centre console comes up very high and has a tendency to hit your elbow around corners, the shallow positioning of the aircon vents sees them blowing more air into the steering wheel than the driver, and the low roofline for the seven-seater’s size meant I hit my head on the tailgate more than I’d like to admit.

The in-app controls on the central touchscreen are a bit too small and you often struggle to press the right button even if you’re not driving, and there are touch-sensitive buttons for the AC located right beneath this display that you regularly hit with your palm while navigating it.

I also feel the need to mention that the Tiggo 8 Pro Max has the strangest rear-view mirror I’ve experienced to date – it gives you a better view of the passengers in the backseat than of the traffic behind the car – so I quickly learnt to live with exclusively checking the wing mirrors and cameras.

Verdict

Chery has come out of the gates swinging at Europeans with its Tiggo 8 Pro Max and it has dealt a few blows that the more established automakers will surely feel.

It’s becoming tougher and tougher to recommend a premium SUV from a German or Japanese brand if the Chinese nameplates offer the same, or better, for hundreds of thousands of rands less.

If you can manage its fuel usage there’s not much the Tiggo 8 Pro Max does wrong, and a whole lot it does right.

Those who want an all-wheel-drive version needn’t wait long, either. Chery has listened to the calls of its customers and said it will introduce a new flagship Tiggo 8 Pro Max to South Africa in March that will drive all four wheels.


Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max


Show comments