Chery has rabidly come back into our domestic market with this striking mid-size Tiggo 8 crossover in its top Luxury EX trim. This is the fourth time that the Chery brand enters our market. I remember when James Deakin and I awarded the entry-level Chery QQ the Best-in-Class C! Award back in 2004 we received a lot of flak from consumers who were in disbelief. I still stand by that award because the QQ was genuinely the best in its segment at the time. It offered car buyers a very affordable city solution that came with considerably more standard equipment than any other vehicle in its class and it did perform precisely as designed. The big issue then in our market was not the brand or the model but the after-sales support.
Back to the present, Chery is now handled by its new official Philippine distributor, the United Asia Automotive Group, Inc. (UAAGI) which is also the distributor of Foton, so I am confident that buyers will certainly get the guaranteed support that they deserve. UAAGI had concrete plans to have 30 dealerships throughout the country within two years before the pandemic struck.
To boost Chery’s gravitas and production capabilities further beyond our regional market, they formed a new company in 2012 with the Jaguar Land Rover group in a 50:50 joint venture for the production of Jaguar and Land Rover cars in China. Along with this alignment, Chery Automobile will also supposedly enter the North American market in 2021 under HAAH Automobile Holdings with the VANTAS brand based on the Chery Exeed models and will be built in the USA and bespoke to that market. I just hope consumers won’t confuse the brand with a drug-delivery system of the same name that is used to treat symptoms of prostate cancer in men. Uncertain if it’s simply a red herring, the Tiggo model series name may be identified, in Western perspective, to 1891 Derbyshire, central United Kingdom. The interesting point of that is that there are two particular features in our Champagne Gold Tiggo 8 Luxury EX test unit that can be perceived as a result of the joint venture with the iconic British automobile brands; the touch-sensitive central climate control panel is obviously inspired by the systems used by Land Rover as well as the neat auxiliary rubber wrist Smartwatch Key. Unlike the tough looking but simple smart-key system used by Land Rover however, Chery’s unit is a fully functioning smartwatch with digital display and heart-rate monitor so it actually can be worn as your primary wristwatch that is water-resistant to 100 feet and is a fitness tracker that offers vehicle controls (locking and unlocking the car, remote engine start/stop with climate control, window control, powered trunk control, incoming call reminders and audible/vibrate alarms).
What is not visually obvious are the rigid modular T1X chassis with fully independent suspension which were developed with Jaguar Land Rover technology and influence, and the Bosch ten-in-one ESP 9.3 control systems. The Tiggo 8 is Chery’s flagship and it represents very well with a very tasteful stance. The contrasting gunmetal 18-inch alloys are wrapped with Atlas “Batman” (yes you read it right, and it’s labeled on the sidewall. Atlas has been traveling on U.S.A. roads since 1935) A51 235/55R18 100V tires. I like the so-called “Crouching-Tiger” front grille and full-LED matrix headlights. Former BMW/Mazda automobile designer Kevin Rice (2017 Red Dot: Best of the Best for the MX-5 RF when he was Mazda Europe’s design director) led Chery’s international design team as Vice President and Global Head of Design for the Tiggo 8, and they did a good job overall. As of last March 2020, Rice is now the Chief Creative Officer for legendary Italian design house Pininfarina. The rear light assembly LED design and interior cabin are also well executed. There is a slightly cheaper variant by P60,000.00 which omits some key features, but it is definitely worth paying the extra money instead for the top variant to get the full experience.
Dimensionally, the Tiggo 8 (2710 mm wheelbase, 4700 mm length, 1860 mm width, and 1746 mm height) sits in-between the Toyota Innova (2750 mm wheelbase, 4735 mm length, 1830 mm width, and 1795 mm height) and the Mitsubishi Xpander Cross (2775 mm wheelbase, 4500 mm length, 1800 mm width, and 1750 mm height). Price-wise, the fully-loaded Tiggo 8 Luxury EX costs P50,000.00 less than a mid-range Toyota Innova Sport Touring 2.8 turbodiesel with 6-speed automatic and P85,000.00 more than the top-variant Mitsubishi Xpander Cross. Aside from its handsome exterior and comfortable interior, the Tiggo 8 has a generous trunk (892L-1930L capacity), powered liftgate, panoramic moonroof, 10.25-inch UHD touch screen infotainment system, aerial view, customizable full-digital instrument cluster, ISOFIX mounts, adjustable seating, front and rear sensors, 6-way front power seat adjustments, rear aircon vents, cruise control, smart entry system with push-button start and more.
As a daily driver, the Tiggo 8 is an efficient MPV/crossover. The ride is planted supported with good all-disc brakes and better steering feel than expected. The engine power is sufficient but labored when it is carrying its full capacity. It does have 7-seater accommodation but its best enjoyed with 5-adults. The 6-speed DCT transmission would work better and smoother with the stronger 154 bhp /170 lb-ft of torque version of the 1.5-liter turbo. With all the goodness and high value of the Tiggo 8, it would be optimized and even more desirable if it was powered by the available 194 bhp / 214 lb-ft direct injection 1.6-liter turbo engine mated to the 7-speed DCT. Perhaps with the success of these introductory Chery Tiggo 8 models, UAAGI would have the confidence to import special edition variants powered by the stronger engines. As it stands Chery has a solid winner here worthy of near future love from buyers.
|Engine||Inline-4, 1498 cc, dohc 16V, Multi-Point Injection, Intercooled Turbo, DVVT, 6-speed DCT|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||147 bhp @ 5500 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||155 lb-ft @ 1750-4400 rpm|
|Top Speed||192 km/h (120 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||10.3 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||7.3 L/100km Overall|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP 1,340,000.00|
|What's Great||Appealing design, tremendous value, thoughtful versatility and kit, upscale 7-seater crossover, free 3-year maintenance package.|
|What's Not So||Recalibrated 1.5T perhaps done to achieve the 1 million kilometer or 10-year engine warranty, the 1.6T variant more enticing.|
|C! Editors Rating||9/10|