What could possibly be the biggest surprise of 2021 was, in my opinion, the Chery Tiggo 4 Pro. It’s a new addition not only to the compact SUV segment but to the country in general. Well, sort of, you see Chery was available in SA a few years ago. It was brought in and run by a large dealership group, with no real product support and not much in terms of product to be honest.
The brand offered some rebadged vehicles, like the Chery QQ, which was Daewoo Matiz clone. The other offering was the Tiggo, which failed to impress and as quietly as when Chery entered the market, it left. Now though, the Chinese brand is back, and by back I mean that the actual company is now back in the country and it is not part of some dealership group. It is a standalone company, which is great news because this means that customer service, parts and representation will be put first in order to grow their footprint.
Now what about the product? Chery gave me the keys to their first offering, the Tiggo 4 Pro for the December period and having sampled the car at the national media launch I was keen to see what this car was like to live with. The Chery Tiggo 4 Pro has already been impressing members of the media in terms of design, quality and value for money.
This Tiggo and the first attempt offered a few years ago are so different I would go as far as not even acknowledging the first car’s existence. Chinese automakers have improved on their offerings so much in the last few years that it boggles the mind to be honest, and Chery is one of those manufacturers. Much like Haval, Chery aims to become a popular offering on the roads of South Africa.
So what is the Chery Tiggo 4 Pro like? Well, for starters, this is the flagship Tiggo 4 so it offers all the bells and even more whistles. In fact, when compared to some of its German rivals you will have to find an extra R100 000 and still won’t get everything that is offered by the Chery.
From a visual perspective I think that the designers have nailed the styling. It looks modern, masculine yet not overly designed with unnecessary elements that clutter the overall look. LED headlights and DRLs feature as do some red elements on this Pro model. Black rims add to the sporty look as does the sunroof.
The interior of the new Tiggo is where I was impressed again. Visually, the facia looks good and modern with a large dashboard-mounted touchscreen infotainment system. It offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is also a digital instrument cluster that changes depending on what driving mode you are in. The centre console climate control is void of buttons, instead it is also touch sensitive. There is ambient lighting throughout the interior, which adds to the quality look, but what about the feel?
Now, we have seen this before where the interior looks good but quality feel is just not here. This is not the case with the Tiggo that I drove. The top of the dashboard was soft touch, all the way to the windscreen, the door tops were also soft touch and the leather trip, stitching and just about everything else that you interact with is top notch. Sure, lower parts of the dashboard feature hard plastics but you really need to look for them to find them.
The Tiggo is also quite practical as it offers decent interior space, while the luggage space is also acceptable. Having a new addition to the family brings with it a host of new items to lug around, like prams and bags. Not once did I find space to be an issue.
Rear passengers also benefit from air vents and the ISOFIX points are a bonus. As are the various safety features on offer, like traction control, downhill descent control, a host of airbags and ABS. Add to that — auto lights and auto wipers plus a quality reverse camera. The list of standard equipment is seriously impressive.
There is even voice control, which is as good as that on the latest smartphone. The system can open and close just the driver’s window or all of them, adjust the climate control, open and close the sunroof, and find a radio station. It’s a bit gimmicky but it’s impressive in its voice recognition.
Under the bonnet is a 1.5-litre turbocharged motor that develops 108kW and 210Nm. Power is satisfactory and the CVT gearbox does a good job getting it all to the front wheels. The Chery Tiggo 4 Pro was great for random trips over the holiday period as well as a city runaround. My wife really enjoyed it as it was easy to park, spacious and the proximity key means that it will lock when you walk away and unlock when you get close.
Out on the road I found the Tiggo to offer a really comfortable ride quality and it was able to handle the uneven, pothole-riddled roads that we have to deal with on a daily basis. I also like the fact that the Tiggo offers a 180mm ground clearance, which is great for venturing off the tarmac.
Overall, the Chery Tiggo 4 Pro is an incredibly impressive vehicle and for a price of R359 900 for the flagship model, to be frank, it becomes a no-brainer within the segment. The normally aspirated entry-level model has a price tag of R269 900 however I haven’t sampled that offering so I’m unable to deliver a verdict on it.
Source: IOL Motoring (www.iol.co.za/motoring)