Chery Auto Philippines has grown tremendously in such a short span of time. With a broad range of crossover SUVs on sale already, the Chinese automaker has resonated pretty well with Filipino car buyers. That’s also helped by the fact that the company has recently hired the freshest and likewise, the most experienced industry veterans to run the company. Therefore, it’s now trying to tap a more upmarket audience with this, the 2023 Chery Tiggo 8 Pro e+. Have they succeeded? Let’s find out.
If you want to make a statement, then the vehicle should play the part from the styling perspective. In that sense, the Tiggo 8 Pro is more lowkey than others at its price point. Sure, it’s well-proportioned and elegant, but nothing that rewrites the midsize crossover SUV rulebook. However, at its price tag of nearly P2.6 million, there are crossovers at the price point that look more stylish. Some design highlights include the large grille, those sleek LED headlights and taillights with sweeping turn signals, and simple but nicely-designed 18-inch wheels do help in making this crossover SUV look more stylish.
Compared to the standard Tiggo 8 Pro, it doesn’t really have a lot of unique design touches. The e+ doesn’t have the faux side vents like in the 2.0T AWD and the 1.6T since that’s where the charge port is located. Your only clues are the not-so-subtle amount of badging in its tailgate, some of which look out of place due to the fonts not matching with the rest of the other emblems on the vehicle. Speaking of which, the “hybrid” badge emits a whole lot of deja vu because the emblem design looks straight out of a Honda prior to the brand transitioning to the e:HEV branding.
Moving inside, there’s no question about how premium it feels. The interior of the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro e+ is finished in premium soft-touch materials on top of the doors as well as the dash, while the overall build quality is actually pretty good. Even if you strip away all the tech and the gizmos, the Tiggo 8 Pro e+’s interior delivers on the fundamentals such as good ergonomics. I would’ve preferred if the steering wheel adjustment had a longer reach adjustment, but it’s still okay for the most part.
Speaking of gizmos, as with every Chinese car, this is filled to the gills with generous features, such as heated and cooled front seats with power adjustment, a panoramic sunroof, a number of USB charging ports on the first two rows, and in the case of this PHEV variant, a premium Sony sound system that sounds good enough. There are also three screens in total, and despite the third one being used for the climate controls, there are still enough redundant physical controls to prevent me from ranting about how manufacturers are buying these functions into a menu.
Features and Infotainment
As for those screens, the main ones consist of two 12.3-inch screens housed in a single bezel. The graphics on both screens are sharp and crisp, though I noticed that the gauge cluster screen has less deep black and contrast levels. Still, the interface response is good enough, and as with most Chinese cars, the menus sometimes contain a bit of awkward English grammar. On the upside, there’s both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a voice assistant that can be summoned by saying “Hello, Chery”. As with systems like these, it can be hit-or-miss, but Chery’s implementation works surprisingly better than some brands could achieve.
Apart from the generous serving of luxury and tech features, the Tiggo 8 Pro e+ also has a full suite of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), ranging from automatic emergency braking, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and a feature that’s similar to Hyundai’s Safe Exist Assist. Called Door Opening Warning, it basically uses the blind spot warning radar to warn and prevent occupants from opening the doors if there’s an oncoming vehicle or cyclist.
Space and Practicality
If you’re seated in the first two rows of the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro e+, there’s plenty of space to go around. It’s wide enough for three adults to sit comfortably at the back, plus there are independent climate controls in the second row as well as seating adjustments for the front passenger’s seat that you can control from the back. On the other hand, the third row seats are best left for kids, or for midsize adults on short journeys. Because this is a midsize unibody crossover SUV, the space on offer is still better than that in a pickup-based body-on-frame SUV. Do note, however, that the Tiggo 8 Pro e+ ‘s third row doesn’t come with aircon vents unlike in the non-PHEV variants.
As for cargo space, there are 193 liters with the third-row seats in place. This increases to 892 liters once these seats have been folded down. If you still want more space, folding the second-row seats will give you 2,101 liters of cargo capacity, and these are numbers that are pretty good for the segment. Oh, and a powered tailgate is standard across all variants.
The 2023 Chery Tiggo 8 Pro e+ comes with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 156 horsepower and 230 Nm of torque. This engine, however, is mated to two electric motors, with the one at the front producing 74 horsepower and 160 Nm while the motor driving the rear wheels produces 95 horsepower and 155 Nm. it outputs a total of 320 horsepower and 545 Nm of torque. With these impressive numbers, Chery claims a 0-100 kph time of less than seven seconds, making this one of the fastest midsize crossovers you could buy.
Out in the city, where hybrids generally excel, the Tiggo 8 Pro e+ cruises with smoothness and refinement. Since this is a plug-in hybrid, the 19.27 kWh battery is big enough for you to commute in pure electric mode. Based on my testing, I was able to do around 70 kilometers before the drivetrain reverted to normal hybrid mode, charging or powering the wheels as a typical series-parallel Toyota hybrid would do. Driven in pure electric mode, there’s the usual joy with the instant torque as you cruise in silence in the city.
Right off the bat, the electric motors already produce enough power to propel the vehicle, but if more power is needed, then the gasoline engine kicks in to provide more boost. There’s a bit of a muted rumble when this happens, but it’s not too bad. Interestingly, the drivetrain is handled by a Chery-developed Dedicated Hybrid Transmission (DHT). It’s an interesting three-speed gearbox that combines with a CVT, which based on their computation is similar to having 11 gears.
The combination of a CVT and fixed gears means that there’s a direct throttle feel when accelerating hard, which is something you can’t always say if it would purely be a CVT. At the same time, the CVT enables the engine to have lower revs on the highway. However, this is the point where I think this is where the PHEV drivetrain could use a bit more refinement. Whenever you transition from coasting to easing on the gas pedal there’s a bit of a perceptible jolt that occurs, especially when the regenerative braking effect is quite strong. It’s not enough of a deal breaker, but once you notice it, it’s a tiny chink in its armor that’s worth noting.
As for the other aspects of the vehicle, the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro e+ unsurprisingly skews towards comfort. Even when the vehicle was loaded with seven people, I was surprised at how settled the suspension remained, avoiding the nauseous vertical motions that usually occur if a vehicle is fully loaded. The steering is also typical of Chinese cars, which means it’s extremely light and devoid of feedback. It’s not a vehicle that’s meant for sporty driving despite the sheer performance the PHEV drivetrain offers, but for its intended market, the comfort orientation is spot on. The large panoramic sunroof introduces more vibrations at the top half of the vehicle structure, but overall, the T1X platform is very rigid and rock solid.
Lastly, as for fuel economy, when driven as a hybrid, I achieved around 14.5 km/l in mostly highway driving. This figure is less than a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, but if you regularly top up the battery of the Tiggo 8 Pro e+, you’ll probably barely use the gasoline engine if your daily commute falls within the 70-kilometer real-world range I achieved. You’ll also be happy to know that the Tiggo 8 Pro e+ uses the more commonly used Type 2 charging port standard and not the GB/T that Chinese PHEVs and electric cars usually have.
Is the 2023 Chery Tiggo 8 Pro e+ a good representation of the brand’s upmarket aspirations in the Philippines? Well, that depends on your perspective. Priced at P2,698,000, that’s a hard pill to swallow, especially since it’s priced alongside cars like the Mazda CX-8 and high-end variants of the Toyota Fortuner. Most people with this amount of money would probably go towards these two Japanese vehicles, but for those who want to dive into the world of electrification, the Tiggo 8 Pro e+ is the only three-row PHEV at its price. The amount of tech under its hood relative to its competitors is also mighty impressive.
For the most part, though, I think that the Tiggo 8 Pro 2.0T AWD (review coming out soon) is a better representation of Chery Auto Philippines’s upmarket goals. That’s because while the high-tech PHEV drivetrain is great, the 2.0T AWD feels perfectly polished. From that model’s smooth drivetrain, well-behaved dual-clutch transmission, locomotive-like copious amounts of power, and an easier-to-digest P1,998,000 price tag, the 2.0T AWD is at a better position in introducing the Filipinos to premium and upmarket Chery models.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Safety and Driver Assistance: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★☆
Value For Money: ★★★☆☆
Overall: 4.2 out of 5