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Aiming to break into one of the country’s fastest growing car segments, the smallest crossover in the Chery lineup brings in the big guns when it comes to riding comfort and build quality.

Resembling a raised hatchback, you might mistake it for a smaller, shorter version of a popular all-wheel drive Japanese sub-compact crossover. But as you stare longer at it, the Tiggo2’s chiseled profile slowly takes on a form of its own.

Projector headlamps, albeit equipped with halogen bulbs, LED Daytime Running Lights and tail lamps, generous chrome accents, and its two-tone 16-inch wheels give it an air of heightened value. This goes hand in hand with the fender and undertray plastics as well as the fixed roof rails which all attempt to remind people that it is a functional crossover.

This utilitarian vibe permeates through the interiors as modest plastics adorn the cabin. Mind you, the usual human to surface touch points inside the car are amply padded. The driver’s elbow, the seats, and even the premium feeling stitched steering wheel leatherette all fall within expectations of what a proper 2020 car should be. Faux leather and fabric cushion the occupants in relative comfort. And despite its small dimensions, the Tiggo2 can accommodate 4 passengers with ease.

To keep its occupants happy in every journey, an 8-inch touchscreen entertainment system allows the connection of a mobile phone via Bluetooth, plays USB media, and can even handle Mirrorlink connections as well. Steering wheel volume, channel and driving information menu controls keep the driver’s eyes focused on the road with their tactile efficiency. The same goes with the right side of the steering wheel where, surprise, a cruise control switch layout resides.

Aside from cruise control, what really makes the Tiggo2 a notable drive is its ride. Despite the small size and its apparent classification as a subcompact crossover, the Tiggo2 rides like a well-dampened saloon. Able to absorb bumps and ruts, the MacPherson front and Torsion Beam suspension layout is surprisingly well-tuned and uncannily fit for Philippine roads.

One can easily cruise over road imperfections with calm and composure as the Tiggo2 keeps the ride on the straight and narrow. Well-behaved at speed, the Tiggo2 inspires confidence even on fast twists and bends.

But you will most likely not be sprinting from one stoplight to the next because of its Euro5 106-horsepower 1.5-liter VVT gas-sipping mill. The engine, while rated generously, is held back by a 4-speed automatic gearbox. The transmission’s Sport Mode merely holds the four gears longer for a more spirited acceleration. While the Eco Mode makes the gears shift earlier and lower in the rev range for fuel efficiency. While bulletproof, the conventional 4-speed auto does make good on the highway doing 14-15 km/l on a steady pace of about 80-100 km/h. Expect about half of that in the city where the Tiggo2 will most likely see most of its service.

At Php 770,000, the Chery Tiggo2 AT does make a compelling case for a first-time ride, a coding car, or even a basic set of wheels to shelter you from COVID-19 in public transportation. Safety is enhanced with ABS, an Electronic Stability Program, a Brake Override System, and even Hill-Descent Control. And with Chery Auto Philippines’ Free 3-year Preventive Maintenance, 5-Year (or 150,000-kilometers) General Vehicle Warranty, and a mind-boggling 1,000,000-kilometer (or 10-year) engine warranty, the Tiggo2 suddenly becomes a more than decent proposition for the daily commute.

Chery Auto Philippines is surely pulling all the stops to change the way our market sees the brand as a viable and long-term life investment. As it is now, Tiggo2 is turning out to be the first positive step towards a path of redemption and eventual acceptance.

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