First Impressions

We took delivery of our Tiggo in November 2012 and have used the vehicle for everyday commuting and a couple of longer trips to visit some outlying areas of Gauteng. We are a typical South African family – Pa, Ma, three kids and two pets.

A lot has been said about Chinese made vehicles in the motoring press, some good, but mostly not too complimentary. After driving this vehicle a couple of months, I’ve got to wonder if most motoring journo’s don’t just suffer from “Chinalitis”, which is ironical since most of them will be typing their reviews up on laptops and Mac Books made, guess where? China.

The Tiggo is a good looking vehicle and even some of my diehard braai-buddies who are Japan fans, begrudgingly acknowledge that. So it looks good. How does it drive? Actually very well. I was dubious of a 1.6 litre engine pulling this vehicle around, but was pleasantly surprised by its torquey performance. The Tiggo cruises comfortably at the national speed limit and also is kind enough at the fuel pumps, averaging 8.5 L/100km so far.

The overwhelming characteristic of this vehicle that really stands out when driving, is that it is very well balanced. We drive on dirt roads on a regular basis and this SUV is very stable and sits tight on the gravel. It has great ground clearance which gives a good field of view in normal town traffic and allows you to negotiate bumpy terrain if required. I’ve seen some recent ads on the Blobbox showing macho 4×4 bakkie types roaring to the top of Sani Pass. The Chery team took three of their standard 2WD Tiggo’s to the top of this very pass, as part of a launch promotion. So no, it is not a 4×4, but it is still a very capable SUV on dirt roads.

The comfort model we are driving has a very good list of standard amenities such as dual airbags, side impact bars, ABS & EBD brakes, 16” alloy wheels, full electric windows, airconditioning, electric mirrors, CD/MP3 Stereo player with 4 speakers and electronically controllable headlights.

The fantastic thing, especially with an active family is the versatile interior space. The rear seats can be folded down easily or can be removed completely to allow loading of large items or sporting gear. There is standard baggage rails on the roof which allows for transport of bikes, canoes and extra baggage pods if the whole family are already loaded in the car.

The most pleasant surprise has to be the price. It costs the same as the small German hatchback in my garage, comes with a 3 year/75 000km service plan and 3 year/100 000km warranty.

If you are looking for a vehicle that can tow your caravan at 140 km/h down the highway, then this is not your car. If however you are an average family man looking for the best bang for buck, then the Tiggo fits that bill. Less Money, More Sense…says it all.