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Sunday, September 4, 2022

Review: 2022 Chery Tiggo 8 Pro 1.6T


Chery is on to something with the Tiggo 8 Pro. After spending some years competing against other Chinese brands as well as their own rather unfortunate Philippine distributorship history, they think they’ve got the vehicle to battle the mainstream Japanese offerings. It sounds crazy, but after some seat time in one, there’s reason to back up this pronouncement. Wipe away those preconceptions; this mid-sized SUV’s the real deal and it could very well put them on the local automotive map.

Interestingly, the Tiggo 8 Pro comes with three powertrain configurations including a plug-in hybrid variant. However, their most important variant is this: the entry-level Tiggo 8 Pro 1.6T. This is their bread-and-butter model, and one that’s aimed squarely against pickup-based passenger vehicles such as the Fortuner and Montero Sport.



Going against a Toyota and a Mitsubishi shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, this entry-level variant is priced at P 1.65-million. Of course, in typical Chery fashion, the “entry-level” tag is a misnomer because the Tiggo 8 Pro’s kitted to the roof in every feature possible.

Let’s talk design first. Drop the badge snobbery, and you’ll appreciate how far Chery’s gone with their design. There’s not a line wrong here; no oddball or weird stuff going on. It looks clean with just the right amount of chrome bits. Plus, it’s well-finished with a quality paint job, consistent finishing, and solid levels of construction. Oh, and of course, it leaves little to the imagination spec-wise with its LED lighting elements with scrolling signal indicators, a panoramic sunroof, and brightly finished 18-inch alloy wheels.



As impressive as it is outside, the Tiggo 8 Pro truly makes its mark inside. It’s filled edge-to-edge with soft-touch plastics, plush leather, and even well-textured plastics. There are some cheap bits, but they’re limited to the wiper and light stalks. Plus, the brown/black color scheme and expansive aluminum-look trim do well to distract passengers from noticing them.

In a satisfying twist compared to other Chinese makes, the controls in the Tiggo 8 Pro are actually easy to understand. Granted there’s still a learning curve and a bit of “Chinglish” involved, but at least Chery didn’t implement touchscreens and buttonless controls just for the heck of it. Instead, it’s about proper usability. Thank goodness commonly used controls still have physical shortcuts. The cabin layout’s pretty straightforward too: the driver gets a crisp, clear 7-inch all-digital gauge cluster, while a high-resolution 12.3-inch tablet-style infotainment display dominates the center stack. It’s also put to good use since Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard out of the box. A smaller LCD screen placed below that controls the climate controls and vented/heated seats.



In the practicality aspect, there are no qualms about the Tiggo 8 Pro if looked as a 5-seater; it’s spacious in every aspect. However, for those who’ll need to use every row, there’s a slight problem. If treated merely as vestigial or jump seats for quick jaunts to the supermarket, the last row’s no problem. However, for families that will regularly use them to house adults, the headroom is eaten up by the panoramic sunroof. An average-sized Filipino adult would fit just fine, but anyone north of 175 centimeters (5 feet 9 inches) will find their heads brushing against the ceiling.

Another oddity in the Tiggo 8 Pro is that entry into the last row of seats can only be done on the right-hand side. Though the entire second row folds completely flat, only the smaller part—the 40 of the 60/40 split-fold detaches from the floor rails for ingress/egress. Sure, nimble individuals can still manage to climb over the folded seat back, but geriatrics and those with weak knees will have to contort through the small opening (spoiler alert: it’s not easy).



The Tiggo 8 Pro doesn’t stick to the usual engine formula dictated by friendlier Chinese tariff rates. Instead, it comes with a 1.6-liter direct-injected turbocharged 4-cylinder motor. Driving the front wheels, it makes 195 horsepower and 290 Nm of torque. It won’t cause an ear-to-ear grin, but because it’s got just 1,565 kilograms to pull around, it actually makes the drive mildly exciting. Compared to its chief rival, the Geely Okavango, it definitely offers better straight-line grunt. Even better, the 7-speed dual clutch produces shifts which are smooth, refined, and quick-witted. There are still instances where the gearbox noticeably “slips” such as when tackling steep ramps or driveways, so thankfully, it come standard with hill assist control.

This previous Tiggo 8 wasn’t really known for its fuel efficiency, so it’s quite surprising how a 100-cc bump and an additional forward gear has managed to fix one of its biggest shortcomings. Fuel economy is up almost 30 percent to 8.33 km/L at the same 15 km/h average speed. A minimum diet of 92 RON octane is required for the Tiggo 8 Pro, but because “regular” unleaded is slightly lower at 91 RON octane, it’s best to switch over to a 95 RON octane fuel such as Petron XCS. Plus, its cleaning additives removes damaging deposits, perfect for direct-injected turbocharged engines. This helps promotes longer engine life, great for getting the most out of Chery’s generous 7-year / 200,000-kilometer bumper-to-bumper warranty.



When it comes to ride and handling, the Tiggo 8 Pro behaves as you’d expect. It falls within what people consider to be traditional luxury. For starters, it’s unbelievably quiet. Then, it also manages to waft and glide through humps and bumps (although larger potholes still do manage to jolt the cabin). It’s also worth noting that while Chery’s T1X platform is known for its solidity, this particular unit, with just over 7,000 clicks on the odometer already has numerous rattles. Generally, it’s nothing alarming, but it’s reminiscent of older generation Subarus.

Of course, Chery’s decision to isolate occupants from the outside world does have one drawback: a largely neutered driving experience. Despite changeable steering modes, the tiller offers no feedback at all. It twirls around with almost no effort. The softly-sprung chassis also produces lots of lateral movement, especially when pushed. Body roll is the order of the day at anything that resembles a spirited drive. Thankfully, it doesn’t dive under braking, even if the brake pedal itself does feel a bit spongy.



Unique to the Tiggo 8 Pro is Chery’s decision to add a suite of advanced driver assist systems. It bundles eight different functions, most of which work well even on Manila’s chaotic roads. Functionalities such as blind spot detection work as advertised. On the other hand, the speed limit sign recognition doesn’t (but in areas with properly marked signs, it does). There’s one annoying feature here and it’s how the hazard lights turn on automatically at random times. Personally, I’d wager that it’s part of the safety suite—perhaps meant to warn other motorists not to get too close when passing, but whatever function it serves (I can’t seem to turn it off via any of the on-screen menus), it throws a hissy-fit whenever it encounters a swam of motorcycle riders.

Say what you will of the Chery brand, but one thing’s for certain: the world is on notice. With their premium pretentions, it’s initially hard to swallow whatever Kool-Aid they’re serving over there. But after sampling the Tiggo 8 Pro, you’ll actually find yourself enjoying some “Chery” flavored goodness. No doubt, its value-oriented pricing and generous warranty are its first showroom draws, but beyond that, it’s now a legitimately good choice thanks to its user-friendly design, tech, and safety.

2022 Chery Tiggo 8 Pro 1.6T

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Ownership 2022 Chery Tiggo 8 Pro 1.6T
Year Introduced 2022
Vehicle Classification Mid-sized SUV
Warranty 7 years / 200,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.6
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 195 @ 5,500
Nm @ rpm 290 @ 2,000-4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 7 DCT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 8.33 km/L @ 15 km/h
(fueled with Petron XCS)
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,722
Width (mm) 1,860
Height (mm) 1,745
Wheelbase (mm) 2,710
Curb Weight (kg) 1,565
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Cooper Evolution CTT SUV 235/55 R 18 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3 (2nd row),
3-pt ELR x 2 (3rd row)
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Lane Departure Warning
Lane Keeping Assist
Traffic Jam Assistance
Forward Collision Warning
Autonomous Emergency Braking
Blind Spot Detection
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Door Opening Warning
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps No
Auto Lights Yes, Auto High-beam
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Tailgate Electric
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 6-way, Ventilated/Heated, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 4-way, Ventilated/Heated
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat 60/40, sliding, reclining (2nd row),
50/50 (3rd row)
Sunroof Yes
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes, Dual (Front), Rear (Manual), w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 8, Arkamys
Steering Controls Yes

15 comments:

  1. Uly, in your opinion, is the Tiggo 8 Pro better than the TOTL Okavango?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Depends.

      Looks? Tiggo 8 Pro.
      Interior space? Okavango.
      Engine? Tiggo 8 Pro.
      Handling? Okavango (although I haven't tested the version with the giant sunroof).
      Value for money? Tiggo 8 Pro.

      Delete
    2. My wife drives an okavango urban while I have a tiggo8 pro. I prefer the responsiveness of the okavango. Turbo lag is not as bad as the that of T8P.

      Delete
  2. Catching up fast, maybe in a decade they would be at par with japs n koreanz in terms of reliability.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 10 years maybe. But for now I cannot trust their products.

      Delete
  3. Uly I read on other reviews is that the motorcycle alert is either part of the "blindspot monitoring" or the AEB.
    So I guess, that constant blinking/warning is expected especially on an area where plenty of motorcycles stubbornly squeeze through tiny spaces in traffic like idiots. Could use a bit of adjustment though if that's the case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I jokingly called it a kamote warning system haha

      Delete
    2. Might be...either way, I think the automatic hazards would just cause more confusion, especially to the motorists surrounding the car...they might think the car encountered a problem or something. A first, I also thought the electronics were wonky.

      Delete
    3. It's called rear cross warning (RCW). Not ideal for local city driving indeed and can be turned off.

      What's interesting is that Chery are currently rolling out updates to customers that adds speed sensing lock and other features. Hopefully they can also adjust this RCW to just be an audible warning without the hazard lights.

      Delete
    4. The alerts stress me out. Had to turn off RCW and LCW (lane change warning)

      Delete
  4. How's the PMS? 6 Mo's/10k Kms scheme or shorter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Btw Uly I like how smooth you slipped that xcs plug in 😎

      Delete
    2. Once a year PMS and free for the 1st 3 years. Only applicable to this model though.

      Delete
    3. With its not so good reliability, its better to pms it every 6 months.

      Delete
  5. I see this as the spiritual successor of the 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe as the value for money champion. Their pricing is almost the same at 1.5-1.6 million. Styling wise also its the evolution of the 2009 Santa Fe design.

    ReplyDelete

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