Feature: Chery, the new Kings of the Crossovers?

Chery has relaunched in Malaysia with the Omoda 5 and Tiggo 8 in the highly competitive B- and C-segment crossover markets. Well priced, generously endowed with features, could Chery be the next market leaders?

Chery recently launched two crossovers, the Omoda 5 and the Tiggo 8 to take on the highly competitive B- and C-segment crossover markets respectively. While Chinese passenger car makers entering Malaysia have launched electric vehicles, the Chery has launched combustion engine vehicles to appeal to buyers who have reservations about going electric.

What are they?

The Chery Omoda 5 is the smaller of the two. The five-seater Omoda has a four-cylinder 1.5-litre turbocharged engine with a CVT gearbox. The maximum output is 156bhp and 230Nm. This puts the Omoda 5 amongst the Proton X50, Honda HR-V and Toyota Corolla Cross for price, size and power.

The larger Chery Tiggo 8 is a seven seater with a four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine with a wet clutch, dual-clutch gearbox. It is only available in Premium spec. The Tiggo is up against the Proton X90 and Toyota Innova Zenix for seating allowance but not power. The turbocharged, 257bhp and 390Nm output makes it much more powerful than any of its rivals, by 60 to 80bhp, with almost double the torque compared to the naturally-aspirated Innova Zenix.

What are they like?

The Omoda looks very dynamic and was a conversation starter everywhere we went. The very futuristic looks, the massive “diamond matrix grille” which was very eye-catching, it is bold and visually, outstanding. We had the higher-specced Honor variant, differentiated from the lower Comfort variant by red highlights in the rims, under the front bumper and roof spoiler. The red adds even more flair to the already dramatic appearance of the Omoda.

Inside, the upholstery is artificial leather. The interior is predominantly black in various finishes: matt, glossy, textured and satin. The boxy centre console is matt black hard plastic. The carbon fibre-textured dashboard is topped by two 10.25-inch monitors – infotainment unit and digital meter cluster – in a single, large glass panel. There are matt dark grey and satin metal inserts on the doors. The metal inserts on the door, edges of the centre console and the piping on the front seats are a rose colour while other metal bits around the interior are silver. It sounds like a discordant mish-mash of texture and colour elements but it looks well put together.

The Tiggo 8 exterior is lower key with a more conventional, less flamboyant exterior. There is also a massive grille, with a diamond shower pattern, and narrow LED illuminators. Most distinctive are the rear lights which have an LED light bar between them. The interior is premium-looking with conservative good taste: brown leather seats with two memory settings, matt wood-grain, satinised metal highlights. The infotainment and instrument cluster have 12.3-inch monitors. It also feels refined.

Both cars have their indicator stalks on the right, Japanese-style, which is unusual as China is a left-hand drive country. Left-hand drive car makers tend to have their indicator stalks on the left.

Should I get one?

For abundance of features, either Chery is good value and attractive alternatives to the more established car brands in Malaysia. They match their competition almost feature for feature. Drive modes? Snap. Autonomous braking? Snap. CarPlay/Android Auto? Snap. The Omoda and Tiggo also feel solid and well-built with low noise and vibration, and good stability on the highway. Both cars come with a seven-year manufacturer’s warranty and 10-year million kilometre engine warranty, which none of their rivals offer.

At RM118,800, the Omoda 5 is between the Proton X50 and Honda HR-V and Toyota Corolla Cross for price. The Honda and Toyota lower spec variants cost around RM11,000 more. The Omoda has almost identical features. That includes safety (active and passive), comfort and convenience features – with a few practical extras like puddle lights. The phone charging mat is large. It’s in the open, by the gear shift, so you are less likely to go off and leave your phone behind. The Omoda also has our personal top three must-have features: 360º camera, auto-fold wing mirrors as the car locks and automatic headlights. In the B-segment, it has the most flamboyant design and interior. Buyers are assured that they’d be noticed, and not in a bad way.

The Tiggo 8 Premium at RM159,800 is in between the X90 and Innova Zenix, RM144,800 and RM165,000 respectively. It also has the highest horse power and torque output of the trio, almost twice the torque of the Innova Zenix. The Tiggo is also generously specced.It matches its two rivals feature for feature – with a bit extra: more airbags and speakers, the convenience of a 12V socket in the boot and panoramic roof, to name a few.

If you’re looking for a B- or C-segment crossover and want the features but something less conformist, then we highly recommend taking a look at the Cherys, and having a test drive.

Which Chery?

Chery Omoda 5Chery Tiggo 8
Engine4-cyl, 1498cc, turbocharged4-cyl, 1998cc, turbocharged
Power156bhp at 5500rpm257bhp at 5500rpm
Torque230Nm at 1750rpm390Mn at 2000rpm
Gearbox9-spd CVT7-spd DCT
Fuel economy14.5km/L13.9km/L
Top speed
RivalsHonda HR-V, Proton X50, Toyota Corolla CrossProton X90, Toyota Innova Zenix

Chery Omoda5

Chery Tiggo 8 Premium