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It's mostly a styling pack with added features and a chirpier exhaust note
In price the newly launched and 4,338mm long Chery Tiggo4 Pro is a competitor against smaller compact crossovers such as the Toyota Urban Cruiser, Suzuki Brezza, Kia Sonet and Hyundai Venue, among other brands.
The car was first introduced to the SA media some three months ago and this was my first drive.
The styling is positively chic and progressive. The Chinese vehicle launches with five models in four specification grades: Urban, Comfort, Elite and Elite SE — the latter identified through red exterior detailing above the front and rear skid plates, on the side skirts and brake calipers. It was the model I drove.
Inside, the quality of the plastics, materials and the styling inspire with the red theme echoed in the cabin. The leatherette coverings looked good in a well-laid out living space.
All Tiggo 4 Pro models come fitted with a high resolution digital instrument cluster — a 3.5-inch version in lower models and a seven-inch unit in the Elite models. Features for Urban and Comfort models include air conditioning while the Elite has dual-zone climate control system and a sunroof as well as leather upholstery with an electrically adjustable driver’s seat.
Chery has invested heavily in electronic ware and the Tiggo 4 Pro display offers plenty of display and customisation options, including beaming more information from cellphone integration.
All models are fitted with a touch-responsive 10.25-inch central infotainment system with a reverse camera on all but the entry-level Urban model. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB ports in the front and one in the rear, a DVD player and Bluetooth connectivity are part of the package.
Voice control is available in the Elite range with the capability of opening the windows and sunroof using voice commands.
Power is provided by 1.5l engines with a choice of natural aspiration or turbocharging. The base engine of the Urban model makes 83kW and 138Nm and is paired with a five-speed manual transmission while the Comfort and Elite models get a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with paddle shifts.
Elite and Elite SE models have the turbocharged 1.5T motor with 108kW and 210Nm. They can be optioned with a choice of either a six-speed manual transmission or CVT, the latter gearbox fitted with drive modes of Standard, Eco and Sport. The steering feel can also be adjusted for either Eco or Sport.
The wheezy performance of past Tiggo models is no more. The 1.5T drives pretty well with road manners on a par with segment standards, though I found the seat didn’t lower enough for my liking and the steering wheel adjusted marginally for height.
In urban conditions the 1.5T model steered accurately and effortlessly while on fast sections the motor felt strong and not too noisy. Importantly it hangs on to corners with confidence while the brakes also gave good retardation.
The Tiggo 4’s safety arsenal includes ABS brakes, stability control, hill descent control and hill assist across the range.
The Chery Tiggo 4 Pro straddles a line between segments. In size it competes against considerably more expensive rivals such as the Kia Seltos, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 2008 and VW T-Cross.
The top model will also net you an entry-level of the trending Toyota Corolla Cross while it's also neatly placed to tempt buyers out of the larger and popular Haval Jolion. It'll be interesting to see if the Chinese vehicle’s fancy gadgets and robust warranty are enough of a pull for customers.
All Chery Tiggo 4 Pro models are also sold with a five-year/60,000km service plan as standard but the icing on top is the 10-year/1-million kilometre engine warranty.
1.5 Urban (5MT) — R269,900
1.5 Comfort (CVT 9SPD) — R299,900
1.5 Elite (6MT) — R319,900
1.5 Elite (CVT 9 SPD) — R349,900
1.5 Elite SE (CVT 9SPD) — R359,900
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.