Chery is China’s largest passenger car exporter and one of the largest Chinese based manufacturers. Now before you scoff at the notion of a Chinese vehicle consider that Chery produce Jaguars and Land Rovers for Chinese consumption. There’s got to be some credibility for that deal to have taken place.
Calling the Tiggo new is a relative term. Aesthetically, it still looks like the previous model except it now has daytime running lights and the rough edges have been rounded for a more fluid look what Chery terms ‘Hydrodynamic Surfacing’. The rear has evolved slightly too with LED tail lights, and all the panels and parts are colour coded to the vehicle colour.
The major upgrade, however, has been in the mechanical department with an all-new 1.6-litre four-pot engine, that’s 15 percent more powerful than the previous version. Mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, it sends 93kW/160Nm to the front wheels. Yup, this compact SUV is still only a FWD.
Perhaps owing to the altitude at the reef where the launch drive was held, the Tiggo displayed a definite lack of power. Peak engine power and twist comes at 6 150rpm and 3 900rpm respectively, but all actions require your right foot to be mashed into the floor board for a remotely dynamic response, whilst overtakes require a clear road ahead and usually a minimum of two downshifts. That said, if your daily commute involves ‘pootling’ around town, the Tiggo does the job just fine.
Now before you think ‘whats the point?’ of a FWD Chinese compact-SUV, the Tiggo has a secret weapon. It’s jaw-droppingly good on a dirt road at speed. The front suspension is a McPherson Strut setup whilst the rear has a simple torsion beam with coils, but you’d swear it’s riding on air suspension, that’s how comfortable it is, even riding on its standard 17-inch alloys. There might be something to it being a top-seller in the rough-and-tumble Egyptian market.
The interior delivers most of the convenience features you expect from a modern car these days A/C, electric windows, electric side mirrors, power steering, CD/MP3/USB player and a 60:40 split/rear folding seats. Safety wise you get dual air bags, ABS with EBD and ESP.
If you always wanted a Toyota RAV4 from the mid-noughties and the Renault Duster doesn’t quite tickle your fancy the Chery Tiggo is certainly an option at just R229Â 900, all niceties included and you get a 3-year/75 000km Service Plan and 5-year/120 000 km warranty.
NEED TO KNOW
CHERY TIGGO 1.6 VVT
PRICE R229 900
ENGINE 1598cc, 16v, 4-cyl petrol, 93kW @ 6 150rpm, 160Nm @ 3900rpm
TRANSMISSION 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
SUSPENSION; MacPherson strut front, trailing arms with coils rear
PERFORMANCE N/A 0-100kph, N/A top speed, 8.6/100km, 201g/km