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CHERY TIGGO 8 PRO

When Driven joined Chery South Africa at the 2023 Shanghai Auto Show in April, China’s top exporter introduced us to several updated and new products, including the refreshed Chery Tiggo 8 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro MAX. These have now made their way to local shores with more features, upgraded styling, and a redesigned interior.

Since returning to South Africa in November 2021, top Chinese automotive exporter, Chery, has caught the attention of over 20,000 new customers with the brand’s good value proposition, significantly improved quality, next-generation technology, and great looks. 

The Tiggo 8 Pro, first launched here in February 2022, challenged the market with luxuries such as a panoramic sunroof, full leather upholstery (black for the 1.6T Executive and dark chocolate brown for the 2.0T MAX Executive), dual-zone climate control, and a fully integrated voice control system as standard. In December 2022, the powerful Tiggo 8 Pro MAX 2.0T Executive also made its debut with added power and even more luxuries, which helped push sales of Chery’s flagship range to over 3,100 units.

BOLDER AND BEAUTIFUL

For its 2023 mid-life update, the Tiggo 8’s standout exterior design has been enhanced with a brand-new grille and an illuminated Chery logo – a first in South Africa. Star Wars fans may recognise the Tiggo 8’s new grille as an interpretation of Chery’s ‘galaxy full of stars’ design, informally called the ‘warp speed’ design that, just as in our favourite Sc-Fi classic movies, creates the impression of speed, while emphasising the new Chery logo.

Flanking the illuminated logo – that uses LEDs to create the impression that the Tiggo 8 Pro is “coming to life” – are redesigned LED Matrix headlamps and LED daytime running lights, while the grille itself is framed by wider grey moulding that gives the Tiggo 8 Pro a bolder presence.

Rear light clusters, now connected by an LED light bar, have also been redesigned and perform a unique lighting signature during vehicle start-up, in sync with the logo and headlights. 

FIRST CLASS CABIN

Although its exterior design is evolutionary rather than a complete reworking, the interior is all new. 

Almost too many to mention, the cabin upgrades include new door and dashboard designs, the latter now wrapped in soft-touch leather, with wood grain patterns and silver finishing that accentuates the Tiggo 8’s luxury intentions.

The new dashboard feels broader and more opulent, with a striking curved display that houses two thin and connected 12.35” screens to form a single 24.7” digital screen. The driver’s display and the infotainment touchscreen are easily customisable to your preferred colour scheme and level of detail required.

Extensive upgrades to the cabin make the Tiggo 8 feel substantially more premium than its R609,900 starting price suggests. On surfaces within passenger’s reach, leather, textured, or soft-touch materials feel expensive and well put together. The centre console is also seemlier with soft touch leather, a new gear lever, and a new 50W fast wireless phone charging pad. New haptic touch buttons for the climate control also replace the third screen used in previous models. 

Proving Chery has adequately considered all passengers with the new cabin layout, the seven-seater’s second row now enjoys independent dual-zone climate control, and all rows have access to USB-A and USB-C charging ports. Both models have a ‘boss button’ passenger seat allowing rear occupants to control the seat’s movement.

HIGH-TECH CHERY

The Tiggo 8 Pro is a tech tour de force that is simply unmatched in its price range. Whether you choose the Pro or the flagship Pro MAX, all available luxury features are standard, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, offline navigation, a panoramic sunroof, and Chery’s smart voice assistant that controls everything from setting the climate to closing the boot and adjusting the seats.

Passive and active safety systems abound in the upgraded Tiggo 8, including seven airbags as standard across the range. Chery’s simplified Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) now integrates more than ten functions, such as adaptive cruise control (ACC), autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane keeping assistance (LKA), a built-in dash cam, and an updated all-view camera.

Level two autonomy now features in many ADAS functions, improving safety for occupants, pedestrians, and other vehicles.

While the high level of advanced safety systems and driver aids must be praised, the sheer number of warnings generated by these systems can be overwhelming, and sometimes distracting. A thorough walk-through of all systems (and learning how to customise them) is recommended before driving off in your new Tiggo 8.

UNCHANGED ENGINES

Chery has opted to retain the Tiggo 8’s existing powertrains and transmissions. The 1.6 TGDI is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and delivers 145 kW and 290 Nm, while the flagship 2.0T powerplant uses the same gearbox but generates 187 kW and 390 Nm of torque.

LAST WORD

Chery has come a long way since its first tiny hatchbacks and the new breed of Tiggo 8s proves this in exemplary fashion. While some calibration tweaks to the Tiggo 8’s gearing and steering will improve its overall ride and handling feel, the C-segment SUV will likely be another Chinese brand winner.

CHERY TIGGO 8 PROENGINEPOWER 
(kW @ r/min)
TORQUE 
(Nm @ r/min)
TOP SPEED
(km/h)
0-100 KM/H
(seconds)
FUEL 
(l/100 km)
PRICE
Chery Tiggo 8 Pro 1.6TGDI 290T ExecutiveIn-line 4-cyl; 1,598 cc turbo145 @ 5,500290 @ 1,750-4,0001908.97.2R609,900
Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max 2.0TGDI 390T ExecutiveIn-line 4-cyl; 1,998 cc turbo187 @ 5,500390 @ 1,750-4,000200+7.37.6R669,000

Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © CHERY SOUTH AFRICA

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