The Chery Tiggo 4 PRO could well compete with some top offerings in its segment
Muscat – Chery Automobile’s return to Oman was in the grapevine long before the announcement in September. Following the distribution agreement with Saud Bahwan Group, the build-up to the official launch has industry watchers riveted. And for good reason. The partnership between the top exporter of Chinese brand passenger vehicles and Saud Bahwan’s strong sales and after-sales service network throughout the sultanate is reckoned to be a significant market development.
In production for over 25 years and exported to 80 countries, Chery has been in the ascendant. The 2023 Chinese Global Brand Builders Top 50 list jointly released by Kantar and Google in August ranked Chery as the best marque from China and 14th in the overall list.
Chery also emerged top-of-the-list in J D Power’s 2023 China Initial Quality Study, a benchmark for new car quality in the Chinese automotive market. A much-anticipated report, it ranked Chery as the frontrunner among all domestic Chinese brands, with the Tiggo 4 PRO claiming the top spot in its segment.
The 2024 iteration of the Tiggo 4 PRO – one in red given to us to test drive – cuts a striking figure at first glimpse. In particular, its geometric matrix diamond front grille is a standout feature. The pattern doesn’t just look good, but is designed for enhanced heat dissipation efficiency.
The car sits squarely on the tarmac making for a solid appearance. In side profile, the dynamic streamlined body is punctuated by muscular flanks. Side moulding below the beltline present a sporty and fashionable look. Contours on the Tiggo 4 PRO create a sense of athletic power, besides channeling airflow to ensure stability.
It’s surprisingly spacious inside. The passenger behind a tall driver with his seat pushed back will still find plenty of leg room. The leather upholstery has red contrasting stitching, complementing the red detailing on the exterior on the side skirts and above the front and rear skid plates. Bits and bobs like this add to the aesthetics.
There’s ample storage space, too, to meet the driver and every passenger’s need of loading, holding and packing. A cavernous space under the driver’s armrest stores essentials and some more. The rear seat folds down in a 40:60 split making room for more luggage for weekend outings or airport pickup/drops.
The interior is well-designed and the seats are firm yet comfortable, particularly the driver’s, who gets a sense of command over the car and the road ahead thanks to the driving position and minimal blind spots. The driver’s power seat can be adjusted for all body size and shapes for the long haul.
A seven-inch digital instrument display sits behind the steering wheel, while there’s a 10.25-inch HD touch screen with a user-friendly interface neatly integrated into the dashboard; it doesn’t give the impression that it has been simply put there as an afterthought.
The feeling in the well-insulated and quiet cabin is one of good quality and very usable space, all ergonomically designed.
HANDLING AND DRIVE
For a car weighing over 1,300kg, its 156hp power plant has a fair amount of enthusiasm, owing in part to the nine-speed CVT transmission that keeps revs well above 5,000rpm when you floor the accelerator. The CVT is almost precognitive; it knows what you want to do next. It prepares itself for what you’re about to ask it to do. Chery has got the CVT right in the Tiggo 4 PRO.
Overtaking is no problem at all at highway speeds. The nippy 1.5 turbo engine doesn’t skip a beat when ripping into Qurm roundabout. The ride quality is impressive; the car handles the patchy roads of Darsait and Mumtaz extremely well, dealing with speed breakers and potholes with elan.
While responsive, the steering wheel also gives a good sense of communication between the front wheels and the tar. The D-shaped, leather-encased, adjustable steering wheel offers good grip and comes with controls for the infotainment system.
Boosting safety, Chery has for good measure equipped the Tiggo 4 PRO with cameras for a 360- degree view, allowing the driver to manoeuvre easily in and out of tight spaces.
Chery has a car that can realistically compete against some top offerings in this segment. The marque has come a long way since those initial models when it first entered the market. By any standards, the Tiggo 4 PRO is a good-looking compact family car. For a little over RO8,000 (including VAT) for the top-of-range Flagship trim, it comes with a lot of bang.
After spending a couple of hours behind the wheel on a variety of paved as well as unpaved roads, besides lunch time traffic, we’ve come to the conclusion that we’d be happy to commute in it Sunday to Thursday, and drive out with family on the weekend.
ENGINE – 1.5 Turbo
TRANSMISSION – 9-speed CVT
POWER – 156HP
MAX TORQUE – 230Nm