The phrase “cherry on top” is a metaphor that means adding something small and special to something that is already nice to make it much more enriched. It comes from the idea that a bowl of ice cream topped with whipped cream is made even more wonderful when a maraschino cherry is put on top of the sweet concoction.
Our subject test vehicle is the “cherry on top” of Chery Auto Philippines’ model line-up. It cannot be described as “small”, but it is definitely “special” and it helps enrich Chery’s brand image in the country. It has the same engine displacement as one of its smaller siblings but offers more space with a slightly bigger, longer and wider body. It is the most luxurious, and, predictably, the most expensive model in its stable. It is the 2020 Chery Tiggo 8 Lux EX.
Top of the Line
A fully-loaded top-of-the-line mid-sized sport utility vehicle (SUV) may be the proverbial shot-in-the-arm that United Asia Automotive Group, Inc. (UAAGI) needs to reinvent the Chery brand here in the Philippines. Focusing on just the brand’s line-up of the Tiggo 2, Tiggo 5x, Tiggo 7, and Tiggo 8 is the right idea, since most buyers nowadays prefer a 5-door crossover or SUV because of the larger and more usable interior space plus the higher ground clearance.
For a vehicle in its price range, the Tiggo 8 packs a lot of features and technological innovations that can rival more expensive SUVs. For starters, it comes with a free Chery Smartwatch that functions like the standard Smart Key, albeit one that wear on your wrist. With it, you can remotely open all the windows to let the hot air out, and then switch the engine and the air-conditioner on to cool the vehicle before you get it. Only a few luxury cars can offer that same convenience.
Lux is for Luxury
Once the smartwatch or the smart key gets into this Chery, you’ll be welcomed by the rich aroma of leather. After all, this is a Tiggo 8 Lux, which connotes luxury. The three rows of seats are all covered in sweet-smelling double-stitched perforated leather. The front sports seats, in particular are supremely comfortable and are amply padded and bolstered. The leather perforation is arranged in a diamond pattern, which shows the model’s amazing attention-to-detail.
The driver is treated to a spacious and ergonomic cockpit. He faces a 3-spoke steering wheel with multi-function control buttons, a modern and informative 7-inch LCD instrument panel, and a plethora of controls that are easily within reach. The infotainment system utilizes a large 10.25-inch display monitor with Phone Mirror Link for Android users and CarPlay for Apple IOS users. The display also serves as the monitor for the reverse and blind spot cameras.
Sunshine and Space
Like the Tiggo 7 that we tested in July, the cherry on top of this top Chery is its huge panoramic sunroof. A push of a button opens the power interior cover panel either half-way or all the way to allow the occupants to luxuriate in the view of the moving sky above them. The front area of the sunroof opens to let the air come in, or tilts to let the warm air come out, especially when you parked the Tiggo 8 under the sun. The climate control system has its own LCD display and blows enough cold air to immediately cool the interior.
There are vents to cool the occupants of the second and third rows, the seats of which may feel a bit cramped for taller people. The third row features a 50/50 folding seatback that can accommodate luggage and cargo of various sizes. Carrying capacity is greatly increased with the third and second row seats folded while loading is easy with the large tailgate opening and low loading height.
What Makes This Cherry Sweet
Open the hood of the Tiggo 8 and you’ll find a transverse-mount Euro 5-compliant turbocharged 1.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 145 horses at 5,500 rpm and 210 Newton-meters of torque between 1,750 and 4,400 rpm. Power is delivered to the front wheels after passing through a 6-speed double clutch automatic transmission (DCT). A softly-tuned front McPherson struts and rear multilink independent suspension system combine to provide a rather luxurious ride.
The ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes are complemented with an anti-lock (ABS) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD) system to make little work of stopping this 1,541-kilogram SUV. Other features that make this Chery safe are ESP (Electronic Stability Program), EBA (Emergency Brake Assist), BOS (Brake Override System), BAS (Brake Assist System), HDC (Hill Decent Control), HHC (Hill Hold Control), TCS (Traction Control System), and ESS (Emergency Signal System).
More Driver Aids
The Tiggo 8 is equipped with an electronic parking brake with an auto hold function that prevents it from moving when you lift your foot off the brake pedal, especially when you’re trying to get out of parking in an inclined street. It comes with six airbags and ISOFIX anchors to keep the occupants safely in their seats while real-time driving aid and information systems such as cruise control, tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), rear camera, front and rear sensors, LED daytime running lights (DRLs) and automatic headlamps provide peace of mind.
We drove the Tiggo 8 south from our base in Quezon City to Santa Rosa, Laguna and found it to be a capable highway flyer and a comfortable one at that. The turbocharged 1.5-liter easily propels this SUV through the toll ways while our passengers leisurely watched the world go by through the Tiggo 8’s large windows and panoramic sunroof. With all these features, a smooth ride and a suggested retail price (SRP) of P1,340,000, we think the Tiggo 8 is a bargain.
As it is, the 2020 Chery Tiggo 8 Lux EX is already a nice concoction. A 5-year, 100,000-kilometer warranty and a 10-year 1,000,000 km warranty for the powertrain seems like the cherry on top of this top Chery. Our good friends at Chery Auto Philippines have their work cut out for them. It’s just a matter for the buying public to know about this Chery on the top.
Classification: 5-door mid-size SUV
Engine type: Liquid-cooled turbocharged inline-4 DOHC 16V
Capacity: 1498 cc
Maximum power: 145 hp @ 5500 rpm
Maximum torque: 210 Nm @ 1750-4400 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed DCT
Length: 4700 mm
Width: 1858 mm
Height: 1746 mm
Wheelbase: 2710 mm
Ground clearance: 210 mm
Curb weight: 1541 kg
Fuel tank capacity: 51 liters
Maximum load space volume behind 1st row – 1930 liters
Maximum load space volume behind 2nd row – 892 liters
Chery Auto Philippines
United Asia Automotive Group, Inc. (UAAGI)
728 A. Bonifacio Avenue, Balintawak, Quezon City
Tel. Nos.: (+632) 8442 4076 to78