Chery Tiggo 7 Pro (2022) Launch Review

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The Tiggo 7 Pro is the 3rd new model from the rejuvenated Chery brand to land on our shores and it slots into the family-car segment just below the Tiggo 8 Pro. We got the chance to drive the new model at its local launch in Gauteng.

What is a Chery Tiggo 7 Pro?

Chery Tiggo 7 Pro frontThe new model is not quite as long as Volkswagen Tiguan, but it’s larger than a Kia Seltos.

For those following the progress of Chery since its reintroduction in Mzansi at the end of 2022, the Tiggo 7 Pro is the 3rd model that the brand has launched in the local market (following the Tiggo 4 Pro compact family car and the 7-seater Tiggo 8 Pro medium SUV).

Compared with the latter, the Tiggo 7 Pro is more of a traditional family car, which is to say it has a 5-seat layout over and above a raised ride height and a capacious load bay, which are, of course, prerequisites. There’s a turbopetrol engine under the bonnet and, as has become the norm with contemporary Chinese models, it has a comfortable, upmarket cabin and features a host of tech- and safety features as standard.

Natural competitors to the Chery Tiggo 7 Pro are a little hard to pin down, because while it’s a little shorter than traditional family SUVs such as the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and Volkswagen Tiguan, it’s also a little bigger than the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Creta, which are two of the larger offerings in the compact family-car segment. The newcomer’s exterior dimensions are actually quite similar to those of the Haval Jolion.

Currently, there are 2 derivatives of the Tiggo 7 Pro available – Distinctive and Executive (the only difference between them is the level of spec they offer).

Is the Tiggo 7 Pro a good family car?

Chery Tiggo 7 Pro seats downThe level of spec on the Tiggo 7 Pro is excellent.

If it’s practicality you’re looking for, the Tiggo 7 Pro seems to cut the mustard. It’s spacious in the front and there’s a good leg- and headroom at the back. The load bay is spacious too – it matches those of its rivals at a claimed 475 litres and 1 500 litres, once you fold the rear seats down.

Claimed luggage capacity doesn’t always tell the true story as there’s no standard for how to measure load-bay size exactly, but using my well-trained eye, I would say Chery’s newcomer has one of the larger loading spaces in the segment. There are even shopping hooks on both sides of the hold… if that gets you excited.

Leather trim is standard on both models and it feels really plush, as do almost all the materials in the Tiggo 7 Pro. You don’t feel like you’re being short-changed with shoddy plastics or subpar materials; it’s certainly full of high-end finishes.

As for other storage areas, there are dual drinks holders up front and a reasonably sized centre console. Much like the Tiggo 8 Pro, the wireless charger is on a shelf underneath the climate control screen, which is good if you want to store your ‘phone out of sight, but not so good if you’re going to use Apple Carplay or Android Auto, because you have to run a cable from the USB port in the centre console. It would have made sense to update the system for wireless access…

What engine does the Tiggo 7 Pro have?

Chery Tiggo 7 Pro Rear trackingThe Tiggo 7 Pro develops decent power, but its torque output is a little on the low side.

The Chery’s 1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbopetrol motor produces 108 kW and 210 Nm. It has reasonable pulling power, but it will be interesting to see how well the powertrain copes once the Tiggo 7 Pro is loaded up with passengers and their detritus, which is something we will only be able to test once we get the model back for a full evaluation.

The continuously variable automatic transmission, with 9 pre-programmed steps, facilities smooth progress. The engine does make a bit of racket when it’s required to accelerate at full throttle, but it performs gamely when called to do so.

The Tiggo 7 Pro holds 120 kph on the highway without any real hassle, but it’s not all that punchy when it needs to perform quick overtaking manoeuvres at that speed. Having said that, compared with the naturally-aspirated rivals in the segment, I’d say the Chery’s better at dispatching slower traffic quickly and efficiently.

Mediocre fuel economy has been one of the drawbacks of the Tiggo 4 Pro and -8 Pro and I found the Tiggo 7 Pro was somewhat thirsty when navigating the city and suburbs, but once you let it run on the freeway it returns decent efficiency. If you’re doing short trips to schools, shops or driving in town (not in thick traffic), you’re likely to see 10L/100 km quite easily. On the freeway (on an 80-km trip to Bakwena Game Reserve), the Tiggo 7 Pro returned an acceptable 7 L/100 km.

The Tiggo Pro 7’s ride/handling balance is impressive too. The suspension can feel a little stiff over harsher bumps, but, for the most part, the newcomer rides comfortably without any cause for concern. The steering is perhaps a little on the slow side, especially around the centre; I found making small corrections with the ‘wheel required a little more steering input than I expected. It’s not a deal-breaker, but may contribute to driver fatigue on long stints on the freeway.

High level of standard spec

Chery Tiggo 7 Pro interiorA well-appointed interior with soft-touch materials and leather seats.

Throughout the past 2 years, Chinese SUVs have been the talk of the family-car segment, purely because they offer high levels of standard specification at prices the rest of the market can’t match (or maybe doesn’t want to match).

The Tiggo 7 Pro continues that trend with a full suite of safety features that includes stability control, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park distance control, hill hold and ABS and EBD. Compared with Distinctive trim, the top-spec Executive version additionally features a 360-degree camera, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, as well as auto emergency braking.

Communication tech is covered with Bluetooth telephony and streaming and a cable connection for Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. The 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system covers all of your media needs and its menu system incorporates myriad settings that you can adjust to your preference. There is a lower screen that deals with the climate control settings, but those can also be fine-tuned from the infotainment screen.

The placement of the settings isn’t always intuitive and you’ll have to spend a bit of time working your way through the menus to get to some basic functions (such as resetting the trip computer), but both the centre screen and the digital instrument cluster are high-res and easy to read.

The Chery’s in-car electronic system exhibited a few software glitches (as opposed to faults, to be clear) during our evaluation drive, which could be quite irritating for those who like things to work exactly the way that they are supposed to. For example, every time we drove under a bridge, the shadow pinged the dark-mode sensor (which detects that it is dark outside), which caused the infotainment screen to darken momentarily before returning to light mode shortly thereafter.

The adaptive cruise control could react a little faster too, especially upon resumption – it seems to take an age to get back up to the set speed. There are a few other little gripes, but these are things that Chery should be able to rectify.

Pricing and after-sales service

The new Chery Tiggo 7 Pro comes with a 5-year/150 000 km warranty and a 5-year/60 000 km service plan. There is also a 10-year/1 million km engine warranty for the first owner.

Tiggo 7 Pro Distinctive R409 900
Tiggo 7 Pro Executive R444 900

Summary

Chery Tiggo 7 Pro front trackingIt will be interesting to see how well the Tiggo 7 Pro fares against its rivals.

The Chery Tiggo 7 Pro looks set to continue the forward momentum the resurgent Chinese brand has created in the local passenger-car market. There’s a lot to like, with the Tiggo 7 Pro offering a high specification level allied with excellent cabin quality. The powertrain feels adequate and the newcomer’s fuel efficiency seems better matched with those of its segment rivals, at least more so than what seems the case with other Tiggo models.

Aside from a few minor software glitches, the Tiggo 7 Pro seems a pretty good buy at its introductory price point. It would appear the market’s legacy brands will face uphill from more than the Haval Jolion in the compact family-car segment.

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