Whenever we test a brand's most affordable vehicle, we usually expect them to have fewer amenities, come with only basic safety features, as well as a design that is neither sporty nor aggressive. But as Bob Dylan famously sang, the “Times They Are A-Changin'”.
Cars today, even the most basic ones, have more standard features and amenities available. Whether it's a touchscreen infotainment system, dual-zone automatic climate control, traction and stability control, a host of airbags, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. More and more automakers are putting modern equipment inside their vehicles.
What's the downside of having too many features in a car? The price can take a hit, resulting in the vehicle possibly becoming too expensive for certain buyers. But Chery Auto Philippines believes that having plenty of features does not mean a pricey SRP.
Enter the 2022 Chery Tiggo 2 Pro. While it may sound like a new smartphone model, the Tiggo 2 Pro is actually an upgraded (and posher) version of the regular Tiggo 2. In fact, we already got to review that exact model back in 2020 which you can read here. While it impressed us with its long list of features, its powertrain, build quality, and fair lack of Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) deadening did not.
With that in mind, was Chery able to work on its shortcomings with the Tiggo 2 Pro? Were they able to actually rectify the powertrain and build quality issues? And just how much will this cost over the regular Tiggo 2?
Let's begin with what I really like about the Tiggo 2 Pro, its face. While there is nothing wrong with the Tiggo 2's front end, it's not exactly eye-catching. Chery decided to change all that by giving the Pro a new face. Now looking a lot like a Hyundai Kona, the new two-tier headlight design provides the crossover a sportier appearance. Combined with the 'Diamond Galaxy' front grille derived from the Tiggo 7 Pro, the Tiggo 2 Pro looks sophisticated despite being one of the brand's most affordable models.
But while the front gets a fresh new look, I wish Chery also did the same for the crossover's rear. Yes, Chery did apply some changes, but they are minor, to say the least. It gets new smoked taillights, a redesigned bumper with faux exhaust finishers, and a new centrally-mounted rear foglight. Don't expect to see a new set of alloy wheels as it continues to roll on 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 205/55/R16 tires.
All in all, I find the exterior revisions of the crossover great. It may be marketed as a budget crossover, but its exterior design will say otherwise. But just as I mentioned earlier, I wish Chery also made some key changes to the vehicle's rear.
Besides undergoing an exterior makeover, Chery was also busy changing up the Tiggo 2 Pro's interior. Some might say it looks the same as before, but it actually gets a new flat-bottom steering wheel, an updated instrument cluster, a revised air-conditioning panel, thinner aircon vents on the corners, and a sleeker dashboard with bolder gloss black panels. The result is a better-looking cabin than its predecessor.
Sitting front and center on the dashboard is a large 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It's bigger by an inch over the Tiggo 2's touchscreen and has additional features. Aside from the usual AM/FM radio, Bluetooth and USB, it comes with Apple CarPlay and QD Link for Android devices – giving drivers better connectivity features.
Other standard amenities present inside the Tiggo 2 Pro include leather seats, rear parking sensors with a reverse camera, a remote tailgate function, an engine start/stop button, as well as cruise control. Not bad for a vehicle that's supposed to be the most affordable model in Chery's lineup.
Despite having a more stylish interior, Chery still needs to work on cabin ergonomics. The control panel for the air-conditioning is placed a bit too low for my liking. Whenever I have to adjust the temperature or fan speed, I have to quickly avert my eyes from the road in order to adjust it correctly. Then there are the controls for the side mirrors. Instead of placing them on the door panel or in the middle of the dashboard, it's actually located below the dashboard which made adjusting the mirrors difficult.
Under the hood of the Tiggo 2 Pro is a 1.5-liter naturally-aspirated inline-four. While it may look like the same engine that powers the regular Tiggo 2, it actually makes slightly more power on the Pro. Instead of having 106 PS with 135 Nm of torque, the Pro version puts out slightly more at 108 PS and 140 Nm of pull. It's not much, but every little bit helps.
Don't expect to find a four-speed automatic on the Tiggo 2 Pro. Instead, it has a new continuously variable transmission (CVT). This is perhaps one of the most important upgrades the crossover received. That's because whereas the four-speed robbed so much power from the engine, the CVT actually helped deliver the power to the road more efficiently which I'll get to later.
So what's the Tiggo 2 Pro like on the road? While it's not exactly the fastest crossover on the road, we're glad to say that it performs better than the non-Pro version. As I mentioned earlier, the CVT improved the crossover's driving performance. It's no longer as sluggish and actually picks up on the power better. And if you do want to extract every bit of pull from the engine, you can set the CVT to manual mode which allows you to play with 9 simulated gear ratios.
Despite being the smallest crossover in Chery's lineup, it's easy to see out of the Tiggo 2 Pro thanks to its commanding driving position and large side windows. As for the riding comfort, it's neither too stiff nor too soft. When seated at the driver or front passenger seat, ride quality is average. But once you sit at the back, there's a fair degree of stiffness.
This might have been deliberately done for cargo carrying. After all, Chery claims it can hold 420 liters worth of luggage in the back. In case you need to load more stuff inside the Tiggo 2 Pro, the 60:40 split rear seats can be folded. They don't fully fold flat, however, so one might need to get creative when loading long items.
When it comes to fuel consumption, the Tiggo 2 Pro is more fuel-efficient than the regular Tiggo 2. It was able to return around 10 km/l in normal city driving. Out on the highway, it was able to average around 17 km/l. With this in mind, maybe Chery should completely ditch the four-speed automatic and just equip all the Tiggo 2s with CVTs from here on out.
Despite the upgrades and changes, there is still room for improvement with the Tiggo 2 Pro. For starters, I wish it had better brake modulation. Every time I have to step on the brakes, I have to give the pedal a good press in order to slow down or stop the vehicle entirely. This doesn't exactly inspire confidence when driving at highway speeds.
Another thing that I wish Chery would improve on the Tiggo 2 Pro is its steering. Sure it's light and easy to maneuver, but it could do with more road feedback. But then again, the Tiggo 2 isn't exactly designed to deliver a sporty driving experience.
Last but definitely not least is its NVH. Like the standard Tiggo 2 we tested before, the Pro version needs to have better NVH. Outside noise from loud motorcycles, jeepneys, as well as from other vehicles can easily permeate the cabin. Then there's the tire noise which also greatly affected its riding comfort.
With a sticker price of PHP 818,000, the Tiggo 2 Pro is actually PHP 48,000 more expensive than the regular Tiggo 2. However, it does come with more features, a slightly more powerful 1.5-liter engine, a more efficient CVT, sleeker looks, and a nicer-looking interior. It also has plenty of safety features too, which include anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, hill-start assist, electronic stability control, traction control, as well as dual front airbags.
Letting the Tiggo 2 Pro down, however, is its lackluster NVH, mixed ergonomics, spongey brakes, and use of cheap plastic in its interior. Yes, the Tiggo 2 Pro was built to meet a certain price point, but as we mentioned in our previous review, better refinement would greatly improve the vehicle's appeal to new car buyers.
So the Tiggo 2 Pro has more equipment and has a snazzier design than the regular Tiggo 2. While that's something to write home about, we believe Chery can further improve the vehicle. Sure it's relatively affordable compared to budget sedans or hatchbacks that might have fewer features, but customers also look for how a vehicle feels to drive on the road.
Chery's certainly going in the right direction, but they still need to work out a few quirks.
- Make: Chery
- Model: Tiggo 2 Pro 1.5 CVT
- Engine: 1.5-liter DOHC 16-valve Inline-4 MPI
- Max Power: 108 PS @ 6000 rpm
- Max Torque: 140 Nm @ 3000 rpm
- Transmission: CVT
- Price as Tested: ₱818,000