×

We've got news for you.

Register on BusinessLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now
Trendy styling includes LED light signatures. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
Trendy styling includes LED light signatures. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

In the cut-throat compact SUV segment it’s difficult for lesser-known brands to challenge the hegemony of popular players such as Toyota, Ford and VW.

Chinese brands in particular felt the burn of consumer indifference with their well-priced but cheap-feeling products in the past. The latest generation Chinese cars have made big leaps in build quality while retaining competitive pricetags, however, led by Haval which has racked up impressive sales with its Jolion and H6.

A similar turnaround has happened at Chery, which recently returned after quitting SA in 2018 after 10 years with the Imperial Group (now Motus). Chery SA is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese parent company and the brand’s relaunch was spearheaded by the Tiggo 4 Pro compact SUV/crossover, and more recently the larger Tiggo 8 Pro.

Pitched against rivals such as the Mazda CX-3, Haval Jolion and Ford EcoSport in a very crowded segment, the Tiggo 4 Pro is very competitively priced and was launched with an unprecedented 10-year/1-million kilometre engine warranty with some terms and conditions. It comprises a standard five-year/150,000km warranty and a free extension for another five years, with an additional 850,000km engine warranty provided the vehicle is still with the original owner. Only the 150,000km warranty is transferable to a new owner.

Also included is a five-year/60,000km service plan and AA roadside assistance for five years/unlimited kilometres.

Compared with the plasticky Tiggo of a few years back, the new 4 Pro has notably improved refinement and a more upmarket cabin. The exterior styling is attractive and trendy, with a modern grille and LED light signatures.

The interior is pleasing with its soft-touch surfaces and general high-class ambience with an interesting mix of textures. It is also on trend with its digitisation, comprising a touch screen infotainment system and a digital instrument panel.

The tablet-style 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity and a DVD player.

It’s mostly straightforward to operate though some of the features are trickier than they need to be — for instance resetting the trip meter required an extended foray into the digital maze.

All models have standard luxuries such as air conditioning, electric windows and automatic headlamps, while the range-topping Elite SE throws in fancier items like a powered sunroof, voice control and climate control.

Safety in the Elite SE includes six airbags and stability control, and it earned a five-star rating when crash tested by Chinese NCAP in 2015.

The cabin has soft-touch surfaces and a high-class ambience. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
The cabin has soft-touch surfaces and a high-class ambience. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

It’s a roomy vehicle with plenty of leg- and headroom for tall adults, and the boot is a decent size, though it has a spacesaver spare wheel. With the seats flipped down the cargo hold is large enough for a bicycle without having to remove a wheel.

Though the front-wheel drive Tiggo isn’t an off-roader, an elevated ride height and high-profile 17-inch tyres enabled it to comfortably tackle gravel roads on our test route, while front and rear skidplates further enhance its SUV-like character.

It’s a much better effort than previous Cherys, but there are some rough edges.

In its driving characteristics and refinement the Tiggo 4 Pro is in a similar ballpark to compact SUV rivals with more prestigious badges. It feels sure-footed through corners and the ride quality is generally comfortable, though rough roads expose some jittering. The general build quality seems solid except for the tailgate door rattling when driving over bumps.

Though it’s a little coarse, the 1.5 turbo petrol engine has reasonable gusto, ensuring the Tiggo is able to comfortably cruise in the fast lane and maintain speed up hills. It offers economy and sport driving modes at the press of a switch, but at 9.6l / 100km the car was thirsty for a 1.5.

The continuously variable transmission (CVT) gets dazed and confused at times while going through its simulated gearchanges, causing lurches and pauses. This is the sole transmission in the Elite SE, and manual transmissions are available only in lesser-specced models.

The gearbox, along with the rattling tailgate and thirsty engine, take some sparkle off the package, but the car is a big improvement over the previous Tiggo at a very keen price and an industry-leading warranty.

The front-wheel drive Tiggo competently tackles gravel roads with its elevated ride height and high-profile tyres. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
The front-wheel drive Tiggo competently tackles gravel roads with its elevated ride height and high-profile tyres. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

Tech Specs

ENGINE

Type: Four-cylinder petrol turbo

Capacity: 1.5l

Power: 108kW

Torque: 210Nm

 

TRANSMISSION

Type: Automatic continuously variable transmission

 

DRIVETRAIN

Type: Front wheel drive

 

PERFORMANCE (claimed)

Top speed: 180km/h

0-100km/h: 10.0 seconds

Fuel Consumption: 6/8l/100km (claimed), 9.6l/100km (as tested)

Emissions: 162g/km

 

STANDARD FEATURES

Six airbags, ABS brakes, stability control, sunroof, electric seat adjustment (driver), LED headlights, leatherette upholstery, voice control, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, rear parking camera, driving modes, touchscreen infotainment system, DVD player, USB ports, hill descent control, electric mirrors, trip computer, remote central locking, electric windows, auto on/off lights, rain sensor wipers

 

COST OF OWNERSHIP

Warranty: Five years/150,000km (Ten years/1,000,000km engine warranty for first owner)

Service plan: Five years/60,000km

Price: R364,900

Lease*: R7,847 per month

* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit

 

Chery Tiggo 4 Pro Elite SE

 

WE LIKE: Price, features, styling

WE DISLIKE: CVT gearbox, fuel consumption

VERDICT: Feature-packed with a winning price, but some rough edges

 

Motor News star rating

Design * * * *

Performance * * *

Economy * * *

Ride * * *

Handling * * *

Safety * * * *

Value For Money * * * *

Overall * * *

 

The Competition

Haval 1.5T Luxury Auto, 105kW/210Nm — R377,900

Opel Crossland X 1.2 Turbo Enjoy auto, 81kW/205Nm — R378,000

Mazda CX-3 2.0 Active auto,115kW/206Nm — R388,900

Ford EcoSport 1.0T Titanium auto, 92kW/170Nm — R408,700

Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 XR, 103kW/172kW — R425,400

Peugeot 2008 1.2T Active auto, 96kW/230Nm — R425,900

Kia Seltos 1.6 EX auto, 90kW/151Nm — R426,995

Honda HR-V 1.5 Comfort, 88kW/145Nm — R437,800

Mitsubishi ASX 2.0 LS auto, 110kW/197Nm — R439,995

Volkswagen T-Cross 1.5 TSI R-Line, 110kW/250Nm — R481,700

subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.