The Chery Tiggo looks good but is only semi-sweet
The Tiggo 4 Pro comes with a staggering million-kilometre warranty (read the fine print) but a test drive reveals some shortcomings
Chery has high hopes for the local market. It made a return to SA last year as a wholly-owned subsidiary, announcing the appointment of 30 dealers and a fresh product offensive.
Spearheading the introduction was the Tiggo 4 Pro, a B-segment sport-utility vehicle competing in a segment in which there is no dearth of rivals. What made the launch of the model more interesting was the announcement of a 10-year/1,000,000km warranty.
Of course, a radical sweetener of this nature comes with its terms and conditions — best to read all the fine print before purchase. In the fullness of time we will see if such a bullish proposition pays off for Chery.
We spent a week with the Tiggo 4 Pro recently. It is easy to agree that the model looks the part, even though aspects of the exterior seem derivative of models from other brands. It attracted double-takes aplenty. Interior fit and finish relays a premium air, but there are shortcomings. One is that the switchgear on the steering wheel felt flimsy, with buttons that rocked in their housings. Our vehicle also had an instrument cluster that developed a rattle. This cluster is of a digital variety, seven inches in diameter, with various displays including individual tyre pressures. A centrally-mounted 10.25-inch infotainment system features Android Auto and Apple Car play compatibility which worked fairly well.
However, the ride quality proved disappointing — firm and brittle — despite reasonable ground clearance of 180mm and 60mm tyre profile. At freeway speeds vibrations were noticed through the pedals. And the coarseness of the 1.5-litre, turbocharged-petrol motor did not create favourable sentiments either. This four-cylinder unit felt strained under acceleration and is poorly complemented by the continuously-variable transmission (CVT) with nine simulated ratios.
Output is quoted at 108kW and 210Nm, which felt somewhat less in reality. Moreover, it is what you would describe as thirsty. Our average consumption after a mix of urban and freeway driving was 11.8l/100km.
On the safety front, it has six airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and electronic stability programme, as well as traction control. It earned a five-star rating when it was crash tested by C-NCAP in 2015.
The Elite SE comes in at R359,900 and has a sunroof, electric seat adjustment (driver), LED headlights, leatherette upholstery, voice control, cruise control and dual-zone climate control.
At R269,900 you can drive off in the Urban model, powered by a normally-aspirated version of the same 1.5-litre, four less airbags, halogen lights, no sunroof and fabric upholstery. It still features the 10.25-inch infotainment system.
Between these two prices, your list of potential alternatives includes the Haval Jolion (from R309,900), Volkswagen T-Cross (from R365,100), Kia Sonet (from R285,995) and Hyundai Venue (from R262,500).