To date South Africa, no fewer than 3,100 customers have purchased a Tiggo 8 Pro, making it one of the best-selling vehicles in its class and mirroring the range’s global success.
The new models retain the power trains of the previous generation – which includes the 1,000,000km engine warranty for the first owner – with a new suspension and gearbox (7-speed, dual clutch transmission) the only meaningful changes in drive components.
Cosmetic alterations are the new grille – that takes the galaxy of stars design language to warp speed – that integrates an illuminated Chery badge, updated headlamps, new logic for the rear light bar animation, and a T-shaped rear brake light.
Inside the cabin are a set of 12.3-inch screens; one a touchscreen infotainment unit and the other for driver information behind the steering wheel.
Apple CarPlay is now thankfully also wireless to match the wireless Android Auto and all the car’s functions can be controlled through the voice assistant which you summon with the “Hello Chery” wake word that is a central component of the new promotional video campaign.
Passengers will also be treated to the new assortment of chimes and alarms, courtesy of the enhanced advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) which now adds lane keep assistance and improved adaptive cruise control.
This level 2 autonomous drive tech was available in the higher end C5 models from Chery’s more design oriented Omoda sub-brand. And it is no less aggressive in its warnings for minor deviations.
Tiggo 8 Pro Max enters the market as a direct competitor to the established 7-seat crossover and SUV options like Toyota’s Fortuner and the Korean pairing of Kia Sorento and Hyuandai Santa Fe.
“The Chery Tiggo 8 Pro is not only our flagship model in terms of luxury and performance, but it is also our top performing model globally. As such it accounts for a significant part of Chery’s global growth,” says Tony Liu, executive deputy general manager of Chery South Africa.
Chery has packaged the two initial model derivatives to challenge on value for money and delivers on its promise with premium surfaces and refined on-road characteristics. Then it adds in the technology on top.
Where Chery launched Omoda C5 as basically a tech product with its own merchandise, Tiggo 8 was a more traditional market introduction with local motoring media treated to luxury KZN lifestyle experiences at Hartford House and the Oyster Box Hotel.
This seems to be the company’s new product release rhythm using the brand extension to lure the early adopters and then trickling the new features into the mainstream brand from the top down.
For 2023 Chery is making its “hello Chery” voice command a core company value offering. As mentioned before, the marketing for the new Tiggo 8 range leads with this function and it was a key message at the local launch.
Updates include open offline navigation and heated and ventilated seats, but the wake word and general listening accuracy is still frustratingly inconsistent. This frustration continues into the warning chimes that are near impossible to turn off.
Powertrain technology, however, remains unchanged. Customers can choose between the 1.6 TGDI engine that delivers a maximum power output of 145kW and 290Nm to the front wheels, or a 2.0 TDGI engine that delivers 187kW and 390Nm.
Two models of the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro MY2023 are available at launch. Tiggo 8 Pro 1.6T Executive comes in at R609,900, and Tiggo 8 Pro Max 2.0T Executive brings the new ADAS and seven seats for R669,900.
Buyers of the Tiggo 8 Pro can expect a 5-year/60,000km service plan and 5-year/150,000km comprehensive mechanical warranty. With the Tiggo 8 Pro Max buyers receive a 7-year/90,000km service plan and the same mechanical warranty
The first 100 Tiggo 8 Pro Max MY2023 customers will also gain membership to the Max Club, which offers a host of exclusive lifestyle benefits, a 5-year My Chery Care package, as well as the opportunity to win one of three trips to China later this year.
The Tiggo 8 has developed rapidly in just 16 months and presents a strong challenge its market segment. It is missing a few crucial features like all-wheel drive and a plug-in hybrid variant to outcompete its Chinese SUV rival, but offers far more luxury.
Hopefully the nett effect of the new models and aggressive pricing will force other manufacturers to rethink their packaging and sales models and the South African consumer wins.