REVIEW: Chery Tiggo 8 Pro flagship takes value to the Max

Published Jun 5, 2024


The Chinese motor industry is something of an emerging superpower, both globally and in South Africa. With many established brands gradually pricing themselves into oblivion, buyers are finding it impossible to ignore the value on offer from the Land of the Red Dragon.

At the moment Chery is leading this charge on the local market, and the importer was the seventh best-selling car brand in May. While the smaller Tiggo 4 Pro is the volume pusher, with over 1,000 of them finding homes each month, the Tiggo 8 Pro remains a strong seller among the seven-seat contenders in the market, with around 300 monthly sales being the norm.

In size and concept it is rather similar to Volkswagen’s Tiguan Allspace, except cheaper. Whereas the latter is priced from R667,600 to R889,500, Chery’s seven-seat contender ranges from R609,900 to R731,900. But that doesn’t give the full picture as unlike the VeeDub, the Tiggo 8 doesn’t have the option of ‘base’ or ‘mid’ specification levels - it’s “Executive” specification across the board, whether you like luxury or not.

Fresh look inside and out

The Chery Tiggo 8 Pro was given a bit of a makeover late last year, which brought a few tweaks inside and out.

Chief among these is a fresh grille complete with an illuminated Chery logo that gradually lights up together with the Matrix LED headlights as you approach the vehicle, and the newly designed full-length taillights also boast their own ‘welcoming’ sequence.

The feature-packed cabin has a classy look and feel. Picture: Supplied.

The completely redesigned cockpit includes two 12.35-inch (31.3cm) screens that together form a 24.7-inch (62cm) ultra-wide display. Although there are no rotary knobs for the climate system, a bunch of haptic buttons below the air vents provide relatively easy access to the key controls.

I was highly impressed with the overall ambience of the cabin in this new Tiggo 8 Pro. It really feels borderline premium with its quilted seat patterns, soft-touch surfaces and alloy-like surfaces that extend into the doors.

As mentioned, it’s really got enough features to sink a battleship. Panoramic sunroof, Sony sound system, three-row climate control, electric seat control, an upgraded Air Quality System and a 64-colour ambient lighting system that can dance to music if you set it that way, are just some of the features fitted as standard.

It also has all the chiming bells and whistles, and our test car had a particularly over-sensitive driver alert warning.

Being the practical protagonist in the Chery range, the Tiggo 8 is quite versatile too. Though there isn’t a great deal of space for adults in the far back row, you can slide the middle row seats forward to create a tolerably comfortable situation for all seven occupants.

Middle row passengers get a choice between USB A and C inlets, although there are no ports for those in the back row.

There’s enough boot space for a few shopping bags even with all three seating rows in place. Picture: Jason Woosey.

Even with all three rows in place, you still have 117 litres worth of boot space, which is enough for a few shopping bags. Fold the third row and you have a significant 739 litre boot.

Let’s take it for a spin

The cheapest Tiggo 8 Pro model ships with a 1.6-litre direct injection turbopetrol engine that’s good for 145kW while the Pro Max has a 2.0-litre unit that provides 187kW. The latter recently got an all-wheel drive (AWD) option and that was the version we spent a week with recently.

In a nutshell the drivetrain is relatively smooth and performance is stronger than most owners will likely ever require. The ride is a little firm but still falls on the correct side of comfortable and all in all the flagship Chery provides an agreeable driving experience.

It’s not exactly economical, with the long-term consumption readout in our car showing 11.1 litres per 100km, but that’s also not out of the ballpark for a vehicle of this size and stature.

But is it really worth opting for the 2.0-litre AWD model? In our view it is a little bit of an overkill, and most potential owners are likely to be satisfied with the 1.6-litre model.

However, the price difference is not too substantial, with the front-wheel drive Max model commanding a R60,000 premium over its 1.6-litre cousin, and the AWD costing a further R62,000.