By Otsile Kadiege
We recently jetted off to the Mother City where we joined Chery South Africa for the local launch of the updated Tiggo 7 Pro Max 290T range which now boasts subtle exterior updates, a completely new interior with new technologies, improved advanced driver assistance systems and a welcomed AWD system for the top-spec derivative.
Updated exterior styling
The Tiggo 7 Pro Max has always been a good-looking SUV. The updates introduced with the facelifted model makes it look more charming, thanks to a diamond-patterned grille, which we’ve already seen on the Tiggo 8 Pro Max range. Additionally, it features a redesigned lower bumper with vertical blue stripes and new wheel designs. The entry-level and mid-spec derivatives come with 18-inch wheels, while the range-topping grade gets slightly larger 19-inch wheels.
New interior design, styling and tech
Climbing aboard the updated Tiggo 7 Pro Max, we were greeted by a modern and premium interior. A dominant 24.6-inch curved display nestled atop the redesigned dashboard. The new display integrates both the digital instrument cluster and the infotainment touchscreen. This setup makes use of a new infotainment system that features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
The new operating system has quite a steep learning curve because of a plethora of menus and sub-menus with jargon some might find difficult to understand. On the positive side though, it is quite easy to operate on the move thanks to large buttons.
Other noteworthy interior features include redesigned door panels with soft touch materials and a centre console with a new gear lever and shortcut buttons. Also new to the updated model are front-row bucket seats which are both comfortable and supportive.
The range-topping Executive derivative features a large panoramic sunroof which creates a pleasant ambiance, especially when it’s 64 colour ambient lighting has been set to your preferred colour. Adding to the list of impressions is a decent sounding 8-speaker Sony sound system.
Performance and driving impressions
At the heart of the updated Tiggo 7 Pro Max 290T is a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine making 145kW and 290Nm. It’s paired with a 7-speed DCT gearbox and depending on which derivative you opt for, it sends its power to the front wheels or via the new AWD system which has been reserved for the Executive grade.
Driving from Cape Town to the West Coast, the Tiggo 7 Pro Max 290T impressed us with its on-road comfort and a well-insulated cabin despite it being quite windy outside. It’s also quite potent and the AWD system eliminates wheel spin when driving off in a hurried manner.
That said, there are quite a few gremlins Chery South Africa needs to eliminate. These include the fuel range you get on a full tank, high fuel-consumption, assistance systems that can get overbearing when switched on, jerky movements in bumper-to-bumper traffic and an awry auto start/stop feature.
The updates done to the Tiggo 7 Pro Max definitely ups the ante and makes the mid-size SUV a more compelling buy. While it looks great, feels premium and has all the tech you’ll ever need, there are few creases which need ironing out before it becomes a threat serious threat to some of its rivals.
Tiggo 7 Pro Max Distinction 2WD – R529,900
Tiggo 7 Pro Max Executive 2WD – R559,900
Tiggo 7 Pro Max Executive AWD – R609,900
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