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Chinese manufacturer Chery has completed the Tiggo Trio in its local SUV line-up with the unveiling of the new 7 Pro, slotting in between the Tiggo 4 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro, yet leaving space for the intended introduction of the Omoda 5 crossover.

It may be the last model in the current Tiggo series to be made available here, but the Tiggo 7 was actually the first to be launched. The original model was revealed in 2016 (the Tiggo 8 followed in 2018 and the Tiggo 4 in 2019), with the second-generation derivative – now available here in Pro guise – introduced in 2020.

The Tiggo 7 Pro shares its siblings’ “Life in Motion” design cues, as seen in the hexagonal grille with 3D diamond-shaped brightwork, elongated front lights, sharply creased shoulder line, and a Fortuner-like concave-to-convex curve in the side profile, plus an edge-to-edge lightbar taillight at the rear.

Available locally in Distinctive or Executive specification, both models have LED headlights and rear lights, intelligent wide-angle fog lights, lightbar-type LED daytime running lights, LED illumination for the Tiggo marked threshold sills and electrically adjustable heated side mirrors with LED indicators.

Riding on Chery’s dedicated SUV T1X-platform, the Tiggo 7 Pro, with a length of 4,500 mm and wheelbase of 2,670 mm, is slightly smaller than the Haval H6 but very similar in size to the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5 and VW Tiguan. 

Single engine option

Both Tiggo 7 Pro models utilise the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine (108 kW at 5,500 rpm and 210 Nm of torque from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm) found in the smaller Tiggo 4 Pro Elite, but with different engine mapping to improve efficiency and fuel economy – a constant point of criticism against the Tiggo range.

Mated to a smooth, well-geared CVT driving the front wheels, the mid-size SUV never felt sluggish or unwilling on the short test route consisting primarily of good tar roads, despite a 1,465 kg kerb weight. The smooth engine/drivetrain combination required less pedal modulation than found in the Tiggo 8 Pro, and the ride quality, on 18″ wheels, was good over broken surfaces. 

However, its steering feel was somewhat vague (although slightly more responsive in Sport mode), and the warning signs and bells from the plethora of safety systems were highly intrusive, even while driving normally. They can be switched off, but it does take some effort to find the necessary options in the vehicle settings menu. 

Inside, the durable black synthetic leather upholstery (with electric adjustment for the driver’s seat and front passenger seat in the Executive), a leather-clad steering wheel, multiple colour ambient lighting, and soft-touch materials provide an upmarket ambience.   

Three large-format digital displays – a 7” information panel in front of the driver, a 10.2” LCD infotainment screen in the centre console (with reverse camera imaging) and a flush-mounted climate control system screen below the infotainment system – take pride of place in the cabin.

High specification level

The Tiggo 7 Pro also comes standard with a voice command system for complete control of the cabin, climate control, one-touch electric windows and (on the Executive model) operation for the panoramic sunroof. An electrically operated tailgate is standard on the Executive, and the boot space is a very usable 475 litres.

The model received a full five-star rating from the Chinese New Car Assessment Programme
(C-NCAP), and safety features include Isofix child seat anchors, ABS, EBD, EBA, Hill Start Assistance and Hill Descent Control. Both models also have Rear Traffic Alert (RTA) and Blind Spot Detection (BSD).

The Executive model adds a comprehensive intelligent safety package, including Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Front Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and a 360-degree around-view monitor. The Distinctive model has four airbags, and the Executive has a total of six.

Last Word

Taking equipment and specification levels into account, the Distinctive at R409,900 is very well priced against competitors such as the Haval H6 Premium (R441,900), Toyota RAV4 2.0 VX CVT (R635,500), Mazda CX-5 2.0 Active AT (R507,800), Kia Sportage 2.0 Ignite Plus Auto (R503,995) and Hyundai Tucson 2.0 Premium AT (R519,900). 

The Executive (R444,900) compares well with the H6 Luxury (R476,900), RAV4 2.0 VX CVT (R635,500), CX-5 2.0 Dynamic 6AT (R540,400) and Tucson 2.0 Elite AT (R634,900).

Both models are sold with a comprehensive warranty plan, including a ten-year/1,000,000 km engine warranty.

Report by Ferdi de Vos | © Images Chery South Africa

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