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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor


Chery picked new Tiggo 7 Pro Max and sporty Omoda C5 GT arrive

Tiggo 7 Pro Max becomes the first all-paw gripping Chery model in South Africa, while the GT unofficially opens Omoda's performance model account.


Its stock still very much on the rise after its surprise and subsequent dramatic return to South Africa in 2021, Chery, its premium division, showcased its latest products, the Tiggo 7 Pro Max and limited edition Omoda C5 GT, for the first time in Cape Town last week as part of its increasing product portfolio.

Set to also include the Jaecoo brand from the first quarter of 2024, the introduction of the respective models following in the wheel tracks of the updated Tiggo 8 Pro Max earlier this year, as well as the Omoda brand itself that will be sold separate from Chery in a dual role with Jaecoo to create what the Chinese carmaker calls the O&J marque.

Omoda C5 GT

With the C5 GT, Omoda has taken a first stab at the slightly more performance orientated side of life by enhancing their existing C5.

A more powerful 1.6-litre T-GDI engine in place of the standard 1.5 T-GDI, a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and some aftermarket body accessories and gold-coloured accents, are there to lure you into this crossover SUV.

There is going to be no fence sitting on the styling of the C5 GT upgrade. You are either going to love it or hate it.

ALSO READ: Boost turned up as Chery prices limited run Omoda C5 GT

Locally supplied and fitted front and rear spoilers, side skirts, and a rear wing that should not be there will add R10 000 to the R589 900 retail price of the C5 GT that comes with a gold logo, rear gold GT badge, and the choice of 18-inch high-gloss black or gold sports rims. Minus that rear spoiler, I think a C5 GT with the black wheels is proper looking.

The 145kW/290Nm powertrain promises decent performance with a claimed 0-100 km/h of just 7.8 seconds, and while on the boil, during our short test drive, the urge offered from the C5 GT was more than acceptable.

Chery debuts Tiggo 7 Pro Max and Omoda C5 GT
GT can be had with or without the rear wing as part of the optional R10 000 styling package. Image: Omoda.

But regardless of mode selected, Eco, Normal or Sport, if you punched the throttle to overtake, absolutely nothing happened for a few seconds. It’s not a turbo lag issue, it’s like the electronic signal from the pedal through the computer to the engine, does a bunch of torque and gear selection sums before it decides what must happen.

This, added to what was an overly firm and bumpy ride that saw the C5 GT not handle rough tar well at all, left me a little disappointed in what was promised on paper versus what was delivered on road.

But there is no doubt that Omoda as new brand will continue to evolve and improve, and who actually cares what I think anyway? The first shipment of 100 cars sold out in a few hours.

Tiggo 7 Pro Max

The product offensive continues, and Chery has brought another great looking, high tech, exceptionally well-priced SUV to market, in the Tiggo 7 Pro Max, and we got to sample it on a drive up the West Coast.

I am not going to waste too much time on the exterior styling of the 7 Pro Max, because that is something you can see in front of you and make up your own mind about it. I personally think it is great to look at.

Steeping inside the 7 Pro Max you will be pleasantly surprised by the touch, feel and quality of materials that surround you.

Chery Tiggo 7 Pro Max and Omoda C5 GT South Africa priced
Tiggo 7 Pro Max becomes the first all-wheel-drive Chery model in South Africa. Image: Chery

And if that doesn’t convince you, then the dual 12.3-inch infotainment system and instrument cluster, 50-watt smartphone charger and a smart looking centre console flanked by electric, heated, and ventilated leather sports seats will probably do the trick.

Standard airbags and stability control type equipment apart, keeping you safe in the Tiggo 7 Pro Max are no less than a further 17 safety features comprising Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Driver Monitoring System, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and exclusive to the new all-wheel-drive derivative, Lane Change Assist.

Getting out on the road is where things start to disconnect though. A new owner would be given a proper hand over, and one would have to take some time to figure out how many of these nannies you can and would want to switch off, because they are intrusive, and they ping and pong all the time, which is annoying, even if they are for your own good.

Chery debuts Tiggo 7 Pro Max and Omoda C5 GT
Interior of the Tiggo 7 Pro Max is feature rich. Image: Chery

You have six driving modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, Snow, Mud, and Off-Road to choose from, and the connection and configuration of the punchy 145kW/290Nm, 1.6-litre T-GDI engine paired to the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is good on the two-wheel-drive model, but strangely, the all-wheel-drive had a distinct lack of throttle calibration. It’s almost like driving two completely different cars.

Chery will sell the Tiggo 7 Pro Max like hot cakes, just like they do their other products, because of styling, tech, and pricing as I mentioned in my opening statement, but this lack of refined driveability, and an average fuel consumption that I have seldom seen dip under 10-litres per 100 km when driving a Chery product, remains an issue for me as a hardcore motoring person.

Pricing

Standard on all three Tiggo 7 Pro Max models and the C5 GT is a five-year/150 000 km warranty, a five-year/60 000 km service plan and a 10-year/1 000 000 km engine warranty.

  • Tiggo 7 Pro Max Distinction DCT – R529 900
  • Tiggo 7 Pro Max Executive DCT – R559 900
  • Tiggo 7 Pro Max Executive DCT AWD – R609 900
  • Omoda C5 GT – R589 900

NOW READ: Power turned-up as Chery prices boosted Tiggo 7 Pro Max

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