2024 Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max Review

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Overview

 

CHERY Australia is expanding its model range at rapid pace and the latest model in the mix is the Tiggo 8 Pro Max – the biggest, most practical, and most powerful model yet from the Chinese brand.

 

The Tiggo 8 Pro Max starts from $41,990 for the base model Urban front-wheel drive while the mid-spec’ Elite FWD kicks off at $43,990 and the top-end all-wheel drive Ultimate is $47,990, all drive-away.

 

All versions come with seven seats as standard and every single Tiggo is comprehensively equipped when it comes to tech’ and gear.

 

For instance, the base grade has LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail-lights, 18-inch alloy wheels with tyre pressure monitoring and a space-saver spare, a surround-view camera system, proximity key with push-button start, faux leather seats, a pair of 12.3-inch screens (one for media, one for driver info’), wireless and wired Apple CarPlay, Android Auto (wired only), sat-nav, an eight-speaker Sony stereo, driver’s seat memory function, dual-zone climate, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, wireless phone charger and even ambient lighting.

 

That’s an incredible amount of gear to get in the $42K car leaving rivals like the Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail and Kia Sorento in its dust in terms of standard stuff. It’s more adjacent to the value-laden Mahindra XUV700 which starts from a way lower price – $36,990 drive-away.

 

The perception when you slide into the cabin is this model has been inspired by some high-end brands like Mercedes with a few fancy flourishes to make it feel a bit more special than some other affordable SUVs, especially the fact that it isn’t a “Festival Of Black Plastic” inside.

 

It looks and feels pretty good, with the highlights being those screens and the seats, which – I cannot say this with enough emphasis – get heating and cooling from the base model. That is so impressive. Not so impressive is the rear view mirror which is convex and means you see more of the cabin than you do the outside of the car.

 

The media system takes a bit of learning, but thankfully there’s a panel below the screen for quick interactions with the air-con system so if you’re the sort of person who fiddles with the temp’ (like me), it’s pretty easy to manage.

Space is good up front, and there’s a heap of storage options on offer as well. For those riding in the second row, there’s enough space for an adult to slot in behind a taller driver (I could fit behind my 182cm driving position), and there is enough space for two adults to slot in side by side but three-across could be tight.

 

There are directional air-vents for the second-row, USB charge ports, map pockets, bottle holders and a flip-down armrest with cupholders. And the outboard seats feature ISOFIX points while there are three top-tethers too.

 

Accessing the third-row is done by way of the driver’s side, which isn’t ideal. There’s a flip/slide controller there, whereas the kerb side only folds down. And on the driver’s side the headrest of the seat hits the driver’s seat, so access, all around, isn’t terrific.

 

But in the third row you’ll be able to fit a couple of kids and the mid- and high-spec’ models have vents and a fan controller, too. No ISOFIX or top-tethers in the third row though.

 

With the third row seats up there is 117 litres of cargo capacity on offer expandable to a more road-trip-ready 479L to the seatback (or 739L to the headliner). The seats are quick to flip down and out of the way if you need to expand the boot space – I did it one-handed. One minor annoyance with the boot… the cargo cover doesn’t have a hidey hole under the floor like in some rivals. Thankfully though, there is a space-saver spare wheel under the body of the vehicle.

 

If you’re wondering what ‘Pro Max’ means, it’s the nomenclature for this engine – a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine producing 180kW and 375Nm – and it’s paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmission with 2WD or AWD as mentioned. It is the first model from the brand to offer towing capability, with a 750kg unbraked / 1300kg braked capacity on offer.

 

Fuel consumption for the 2WD models is stated to be 8.1L/100km, while the AWD model is a little heavier and a little thirstier, with a claim of 8.7L/100km. All versions need 95RON premium unleaded fuel, with a 57-litre tank capacity. On the launch drive, I saw a displayed average of 9.1L/100km for the 2WD and 9.9L/100km for the AWD.

 

It just achieved the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating and it has standard gear including autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera system and front and rear parking sensors. Further, there are 10 airbags – dual front, driver’s knee, front centre, front side, rear side and curtain airbags included, but the latter don’t reach the third row.

 

Chery offers a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and there’s seven years of roadside assistance along with seven years of capped-price servicing with intervals every 12 months/15,000km (average cost: $308 for 2WD; $329 for AWD).

 

Driving impressions

 

There’s ample punch from the Pro Max powertrain and it really sings when you need it to hustle. The model is better at open road pace than in urban traffic because the dual-clutch auto can slur and feel a bit confused when you’re on and off the throttle.

 

The steering is fine at urban pace but less enjoyable when you’re asking more of it as it tends to lead to some guesswork in the corners in terms of what might happen next. It’s no big deal really because this isn’t a sports car – but for the eager driver, it makes some of the rivals seem a bit more likeable.

The ride is mostly fine in the FWD models with a decent level of comfort and control at speed but a little bit more of a crashy experience over sharp edges at lower speed. Moreover, the AWD model feels heavier and a bit rougher over bumps than the FWD at all speeds, but you do get the added benefit of all-wheel traction if you need it.

It’s no superhero when it comes to the drive experience, but at this price point and with this level of equipment and warranty cover, I’m not really sure it needs to be.

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