I’m pretty sure you’ve heard that Chery is back. Now under new management in the name of United Asia Automotive Group Inc. (UAAGI), the distributor of Foton vehicles in the Philippines, Chery got a new life and is striving to break the stigma that precedes its name.
To achieve this, the company has brought in a line of crossovers under the Tiggo name. The nameplate promises a more exciting proposition, far from the marque’s previous line of small cars. The company even tapped Coco Martin as its newest brand ambassador, hopefully, to uplift its image to the discerning Filipino buyers.
But of course, Chery’s cars aren’t to be judged by the fame of its endorsers, so we took one for a review to find out what’s hot and what’s not. We started with the most affordable car in its range, the Chery Tiggo 2, priced at P770,000.
Here are our findings.
First off, and probably the first thing you’ll initially notice, is that the Chery Tiggo 2 has an original design. It wants to have its own identity and for a Chinese car, that’s a huge thing. Sure, it’s styled like a typical crossover, wrapped in undercladding and has a bit of height from the cement, but overall, it’s on its own. Now, whether it looks good or not is entirely up to you.
The next best thing about the Tiggo 2 is that it’s relatively spacious in the front, the second row, and in its cargo area. Relative is the operative word here as this is in comparison with other subcompact crossovers out there.
At the mentioned price tag above, the Tiggo 2 already offers a lot of tech toys. It has a large infotainment system that’s easy to use, a pair of projector halogens with leveler, cruise control, reverse camera, and rear parking sensors. Not all of these things are available in cars within this price range.
More importantly, the Tiggo 2 has a superb air conditioning system that works well in keeping the cabin call even at high noon. That’s very much appreciated, especially with our four seasons here: hot, hotter, rain, and more rain.
While we’re on the subject of the Tiggo 2’s interior, it’s one of this car’s downsides. The execution of plastics isn’t flawless, plus the use of carbon fiber-print as an accent to the dashboard and the doors leaves something to be desired. Good thing the orange stitching and leather-fabric combo on the seats work well as its redeeming factor.
There are some issues with ergonomics in the Tiggo 2, as well. The seat is a tad too high, which makes the dashboard controls to be positioned a bit low. The cruise control and headlamp leveler are also buried behind the steering wheel – kind of an after-thought feature, I must say.
The Tiggo 2 is powered by a 1.5-liter gasoline engine that makes 106hp and 135Nm of twists. Compared to a similarly weighed Ford EcoSport, these numbers are a tad short, and that translated on the actual drive. The Tiggo 2’s power delivery was a bit sluggish – even beyond what I’ve expected. Partnered with the loose steering feel, the crossover’s overall on-road performance was lackluster, to say the least.
Probably the biggest drawback with the Tiggo 2 was its dismal fuel efficiency. In light to moderate traffic, I got 8.5 km/L at an average speed of 50 km/h. On the highway, at an average speed of 90 km/h, I only got 15 km/L. I wasn’t expecting these numbers coming from a 1.5-liter mill in a small car.