Robin Reviews…The Chery Tiggo 7 Pro Executive

You don’t need to be a motoring genius to know that the most popular body among buyers these days are SUVs. Automakers are doubling their stock because it’s simply a money-maker alongside bakkies and compact hatchbacks.

With that being said, Chery is not a foreign name to South African motorists. The automaker first started selling vehicles back in 2008 with the likes of the A5, QQ3, and Tiggo 3, but primarily due to brand (and country) unfamiliarity, it didn’t sell particularly well. Just by looking at the launch of previous models like the Tiggo 4 and 8, it’s clear that Chery has identified a gap in the (SUV) market, and they are ‘going in for the kill’ to establish a footing in a segment already bursting at the seams.

In addition, the brand has seen plenty of success in countries like Peru, Qatar, and Russia. So back to the drawing board it was, and a bit of a hiatus later, they’re back in SA with a bang with the launch of the Tiggo 7 Pro and their third model in the range.

Upon first glance, it certainly does not look like Chery models from the past. The sleeker design and modern touches like the electrically adjustable, foldable, and heated side mirrors, wide-angle fog lights and LED daytime running lights, and three-dimensional diamond-shaped front grille are attention grabbers. The 18-inch alloy wheels look the part as well.

The interior is a nice place to be and is comfortable, bolstered by an intuitive 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen (complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay). A premium touch is the aircon/climate control glass touchscreen panel situated just above the gear selector lever. It was a pleasure to operate without fuss on a hot day in Sandton.

How does it drive?

Powering the SUV is a turbocharged 1.5-litre engine with maximum outputs of 108kW and 210Nm of torque, with power sent to the front wheels (only) via a revised nine-speed CVT transmission. Fuel consumption sits at a claimed 6.8-litres/100km – although a figure close to the 10-litre mark is more realistic in everyday driving conditions. Eco and Sport are the selectable driving modes that can be chosen via piano-like buttons on the dashboard.

The steering and handling is supple and when asked to do hard braking, it answers the question posed. Road noise is not something that could possibly get on your nerves because of adequate insulation – in addition to holding the road well thanks to the stronger Monocoque chassis. CVTs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea for a variety of reasons but it does the job in the Tiggo 7 Pro and that is, simply, what matters.

There are only two trims in the lineup - Distinctive and Executive - priced at R409 900 and R444 900, respectively. As far as its model position goes, it will slot in above the (already launched) Tiggo 4 Pro and below the Tiggo 8 Pro in the local lineup.

All models come standard with ISOFIX child seat anchors, ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assistance (EBA), Hill Start Assistance (HSA), and Hill Descent Control (HDC), Rear Traffic Alert (RTA) and Blind Spot Detection (BSD).

The top-specced Executive model comes with a bit more safety tech like Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Front Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), a 360-degree around-view monitor, and two additional curtain airbags for a total of six. Another of its esteeming qualities is the boot capacity of 475-litres, which can be increased to 1 500-litres with the rear seats folded down.

Buyers can customise their models with a choice of seven colours like Khaki White, Silver, Vanilla Blue, Caledon Ash (grey), Blood Red, Carbon Crystal Black, and two-tone Khaki White with Carbon Crystal Black roof or Blood Red with Carbon Crystal Black roof.

It will undoubtedly go up against some strong opposition like the Renault Kadjar, Hyundai Tucson, and Peugeot 3008.

All models are sold with a five-year or 60 000km service plan, a five-year or unlimited kilometre roadside assistance programme, a five-year or 150 000km mechanical warranty, and a 10-year or 1-million-kilometre engine warranty.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local service information close to home.

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