2023 Chery Tiggo 8 Pro SUV launched in Malaysia – 7-seater X90 rival with 2.0T, 256 hp, 390 Nm; RM160k

Finally, Chery’s return is official. Moments ago, Chery Malaysia officially launched the Omoda 5 and Tiggo 8 Pro SUVs as the first models in a new era of the brand in Malaysia. Click here to read about the Omoda 5 – this post focuses on the Tiggo 8 Pro. TLDR: there’s a single Luxury variant priced at RM159,800.

It has been a long gestation – our exclusive in December 2021 broke the news of Chery’s re-entry into our market, and the Chinese carmaker’s first official event here happened in October 2022. Since then, we’ve brought you previews of what’s coming next from the company’s base in Wuhu, as well as first look posts of the local spec Omoda 5 and Tiggo 8 Pro. All of that culminates in tonight’s ‘grand launch event’.

In case you’re wondering about the ‘return’ part, or aren’t old enough to remember, Chery was brought in by Tan Sri Cam Soh Thiam Hong’s Alado in the noughties and we had models like the QQ minicar, Tiggo SUV and Eastar MPV in the ‘Chery Alado’ era. We even had a world debut of a Chery here in 2015!

No local partner this time around, as Chery has decided to do things its own way in a market that’s very difficult to penetrate. Even the mighty BYD has the backing of major player Sime Darby. Also, there will be 31 dealerships at launch, with more opening by the end of 2023. That’s a staggering number that’s probably unprecedented in the Malaysian auto market, based on our memory.

Another sign of bravery is the fact that the Omoda 5 and Tiggo 8 Pro are launching in CKD form, with no initial small CBU batch to ‘test the waters’ but local assembly at Inokom in Kulim right from the start. This is no small undertaking, as even Proton – with its huge plant, established vendor network and national car status – kickstarted sales of Geely SUVs with CBUs.

We’ve had a few looks at the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro now, and it still looks really good, both inside and out. We first brought you live coverage from Wuhu, Chery’s hometown, before covering the SUV’s local debut at the Malaysia Autoshow in May. We then gave the D-segment SUV our usual 360-degree outdoor gallery and walk-around video treatment.

2023 Chery Tiggo 8 Pro SUV launched in Malaysia – 7-seater X90 rival with 2.0T, 256 hp, 390 Nm; RM160k

By the way, we’re getting the latest improved version of this seven-seater SUV, which is badged Tiggo 8 Pro Max in China, although the ‘Max’ suffix is dropped for Malaysia to simplify things – it’s the only Tiggo 8 we’re going to get anyway. Under the hood is a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 256 hp and 390 Nm of torque. Power from the GDI engine goes to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and there are three drive modes – Eco, Normal and Sport.

By the way, today’s Tiggo 8 Pro differs from the one that was previewed in Malaysia last year. The SUV gets an updated look that features a new “galaxy” grille and the rear end sports a full-width LED bar and fancy T-shaped third brake lights. The wheels are now 19-inch items, an inch up, wrapped with 235/55 tyres. We have some night shots for you to see the LED signatures, and the illuminated logo.

It’s a fair bit nicer outside now, but it’s inside that the latest Tiggo 8 shines. The big SUV gets a horizontal dash design featuring contemporary cues such as conjoined screens (24.6 inches in total), inline AC vents and a high centre console. It’s all much neater now, and there are places where you’ll find Mercedes-esque details – check out the switches, open pore wood-style trim (no texture though) and speaker grilles that mimic Merc’s Burmester items.

Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Interior

The steering wheel is also new, with Chery spelled out instead of the logo. Speaking of logos, there are Tiggo signatures on the side of the central screen and the rear AC vent area, in classical font. Kit wise, the airbag count maxes out at nine now (we’ll explain the odd number later), and there are a total of eight Sony speakers.

As for the rest of the kit, the list includes an electronic parking brake with auto hold, automatic LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights, LED tail lamps, welcome lights and multi-colour ambient lighting, electric front seats with ventilation/heating, driver’s seat memory, dual-zone auto air con with rear vents, hands-free powered tailgate, electronic panoramic sunroof, wireless phone charger and (wired) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s also proximity sensor keyless entry, like Honda’s walk-away auto lock.

That very long list of kit is bolstered by a full ADAS suite that includes functions such as lane departure warning/keeping, blind spot detection, door open warning, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and front collision warning with auto braking (AEB). Parking is aided by an all-around camera.

A note on airbags – on top of the usual six, the Tiggo 8 Pro adds on a driver’s knee bag and rear side airbags. The latter is very rare in Malaysia, and is typically seen only on luxury cars.

For those wondering how this compares to the Proton X90 – which is also a three-row SUV designed in China – the tiger-badged car tops out at RM152,800 for the Flagship, but it’s powered by a 1.5T three-cylinder mild hybrid system with 190 PS/300 Nm. The Chery’s 2.0T outguns it with 256 hp/390 Nm.

Size wise, the Tiggo 8 Pro is 4,722 mm long and 1,860 mm wide, which is 108 mm shorter and 40 mm narrower than the X90. The Chery’s 2,710 mm wheelbase is 95 mm shorter than the Proton’s. So, the X90 has a bigger footprint, which this writer wouldn’t have gueesed – the Chery looks beefy. As for boot space, it’s 193 litres with all three rows of seats in place, or 892 litres with the third row folded. Max volume is 2,101 litres with all seats down.

Click to enlarge brochure

Colour options are limited to Dark Black and Khaki White, which means that we miss out on the gorgeous deep green colour of the preview unit, which shimmers under the sun. Once again, the Tiggo 8 Pro is priced at RM159,800.

Chery Malaysia also unveiled its warranty package tonight, and it’s seven years or 150,000 km for the vehicle, plus five years of ‘free service’ (alternating, free labour). The engine warranty is a whopping 10 years or one million km. But the catch is that the headline-grabbing engine warranty is for the first 3,000 customers. After that it reverts to seven years/150,000 km, joining the rest of the vehicle. But if you really want the 10y/1m package, top up RM2,000 for an extended warranty package.

Proton X90 aside, the Tiggo 8 Pro’s local rivals include the Mazda CX-8, the just-launched Toyota Innova Zenix and fourth-gen Kia Sorento, although the latter starts from above RM200k. The next-gen Honda CR-V too, when it comes. The C-SUV stalwart has grown in size and is available elsewhere with an optional third row. So, what do you think of the Tiggo 8 Pro’s looks and price/package versus this bunch?

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