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A little over a decade ago, Chery was known for being the brand with a barer than basic little car that had the unfortunate reputation of breaking down at the most inopportune times. The previous distributor’s inability to honor warranties with adequate parts stocks eventually led to the brand’s change of hands. However, because of the QQ, the stigma that China-made cars are unreliable has become an on-going challenge Chinese brands continue to aim to surpass.

Hoping to turnaround this stinging perception, United Asia Automotive Group, Inc. (UAAGI) has partnered with Chery Automobile Co. Ltd to become the fourth distributor of the brand. Almost a year into the new distributorship agreement, Chery Auto Philippines is banking on UAAGI’s 25-year experience in the Philippine automotive industry to transform the brand into one founded on trust and reliability without losing touch of its key advantage – affordability.

The Tiggo8 LUX EX is the flagship crossover of the new Chery lineup. As Chery Auto Philippines’ 7-seater entry into the mid-size SUV field, the Tiggo8 is loaded to the hilt to allow it to compete for attention in the crowded crossover class. And compete handsomely, it does.

An aggressive front end with an intricate lattice on its grill gives the Tiggo8 an elegant presence. The side profile, while sleek and sexy, flexes some tension to give the 4,700 mm-long crossover a dynamic presence on the road. Chery made sure its gunmetal-coated 18-inch wheels are in time with current day car fashion. Of course, a generous splash of chrome completes the exterior’s premium ambitions.

Inside, the Tiggo8 continues with its ostentatious vibe. Stitched faux leather is standard fare on the door sidings, the seats and even bits of the dashboard. This elevates the Tiggo8’s black interior to lounge territory. And speaking of lounges, at night, the Tiggo8’s cabin cozies up with ambient lighting all around. Commonly found in high-end luxury brands, the stress-relieving, multi-colored mood lights that line the perimeter of the cabin sure do soothe the senses of those inside. Add a splash of piano black to the interior design and classiness jumps another point or two.

As a flagship, the Tiggo8 takes its role quite seriously. Comfort and convenience features abound. Electric 6-way seats, second row air con vents and a panoramic sunroof make the interiors extra cozy. A 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display plays clear and crisp music even via Bluetooth from a mobile phone. The huge screen also helps in presenting a 360-degree view of the vehicle with its HD Panoramic Camera system strewn around the crossover.

As a family crossover, Chery made sure it is chock-full of safety features such as six airbags, ABS, Electronic Stability Program, Brake Override and Brake Assist, Hill Descent and Hill Hold, and Traction Control. It is also equipped with an Emergency Signal System that flashes the hazard lights during an emergency braking maneuver and an Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Hold for added stop and go convenience.

Motivated by a turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine, the Tiggo8 makes good use of its 145 horses and 210 Newton-meters of torque. Managed by a 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission, the drive remains lively for its size and ample for a loaded ride of seven people.

But perhaps its piece de resistance is one of the simplest and cleverest innovations of all – a smartwatch for the driver that can control basic operations of the car. The Chery Smartwatch is connected wirelessly to the Tiggo8 and can allow the wearer to lock and unlock the vehicle, open the windows, open the tailgate and even start the car. This is one example of using available technology to not only excite the ownership experience, but also to make it more convenient and in tune with the times.

The Tiggo line of crossovers addresses the market’s penchant for taller and more versatile passenger vehicles. With this initial salvo, which includes 3 years of Free PMS, a 5-Year General Vehicle Warranty, and again a 1 million-kilometer (or 10 year) engine warranty, as the brand’s maiden comeback through Chery Auto Philippines, the popular Chinese brand now gains another shot in not only giving the public what it wants, but also in proving to them that they are a new and revitalized brand that has learned from its checkered past.

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