When it comes to cars, I must admit that I’m a late bloomer. I learned to drive only in 2004 and I only drive cars with an automatic transmission. My first car was our family car, an older compact 4-door sedan, which was replaced three years later by a newer subcompact 5-door hatchback. Before I joined the business of my husband, Lester, my daily route just took me around our kids’ school and our home, all in Quezon City. I sometimes drove east to Cainta on weekends to visit my mom but I mostly drove short distances, until I got involved in the business.
I loved to drive the subcompact because it was short, nimble and fuel-efficient. I love it when I can park in spaces that are a bit short or narrow and I loved its hatchback functionality because I can easily load groceries, or some office work, or the stuff that I sell in a “tiangge” (flea market) or at a garage sale at my in-laws in Manila. We eventually sold the subcompact hatchback when the kids grew up and our family needed a vehicle with more space. However, I missed driving a fun-sized car.
It Takes Two
Two days before my 50th birthday, Elgie Nunez of Chery Automobile Philippines surprised me with a weekend test drive of the 2020 Chery Tiggo 2. She said that her boss, United Asia Automotive Group, Inc. (UAAGI) Chairman Rommel Sytin, immediately approved the lend-out so I could have some fun on my birthday. They observed that it was always my husband who mostly gets to have all the driving fun just because he’s the editor-in-chief of Power Wheels Magazine. (Sorry, honey. It’s my turn now. Heh-heh-heh.)
After riding in (and driving) the other Chery sports utility vehicles – the mid-range Tiggo 5X, the premium Tiggo 7, and top-of-the-line Tiggo 8 Lux EX – during previous test drives, we weren’t expecting a lot from the entry-level Tiggo 2. After all, it is the most affordable model at P695,000 for the Tiggo 2 with the 5-speed manual transmission, and P770,000 for our test drive unit with the 4-speed automatic. We were expecting a no-frills entry-level subcompact car at that price. Boy, were we in for a pleasant surprise!
Nothing Entry-Level About It
Despite being the most affordable SUV model in the Chery lineup here in the Philippines, there’s nothing “no-frills” or “entry-level” about the Tiggo 2. For its price, it is already loaded with a lot of features like an 8-inch touch screen entertainment system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity plus a Screen Mirror function that can link it to my mobile phone. I was pleased to see that the touch screen also functions as the monitor for the reverse camera so it’s easier for me to park this car.
There’s nothing “entry-level” about the leather seats with fabric inserts and red double stitches, either. They’re quite comfortable and supportive but because of the short length of the car and the dark color of the interior, it feels a bit confining inside. I think that the Tiggo 2 is good for single people or young couples who are just starting a family, especially with its driver and passenger airbags plus ISOFIX tethering attachments for child seats. Lester thinks that the carbon fiber-like finish on the dashboard adds a dash of class and sportiness, too.
Easy to Drive and Fun, Too!
I love the fact that from the driver’s seat, the controls of the Tiggo 2 are all within easy reach. The steering wheel is light and easy to maneuver while the controls mounted on it are easy to identify and use. The instrument panel is simple and easy to read while the gear selector is straightforward and falls easily to hand. I love that the aircon control has just three rotary knobs for fan speed, temperature and direction, plus two push buttons – one to turn it on and the other to recirculate the air. Everything’s simple and easy to use.
With cool air-conditioning, comfy seats and a nice selection playing over the speakers, the Tiggo 2 is a nice car to get caught in traffic in. It’s short and narrow enough to fit in traffic gaps unlike my husband’s full-size SUV, and it’s nimble enough to keep up with more expensive cars. The fuel economy is comparable to my current subcompact 4-door sedan, which is good for those who are always conscious of their household budget, like me. I particularly like the rear seats that can fold to accommodate more load so I can transport more stuff.
Still a Cherry When It Comes to These
Lester explained to me that the 106 horsepower coming out of the 1.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine and passing through the 4-speed automatic is more than enough to propel the Tiggo 2 up to the legal speed limit and beyond. He also told me that the 210 Newton-meters of torque of the engine is coursed through the front wheels, which can accelerate this 1,215-kilogram subcompact car quite quickly. I learned that its front McPherson struts and rear torsion bar suspension works together to provide the comfortable ride that I feel when driving the Tiggo 2.
I felt safe with the front and rear disc brakes, which are complemented with an anti-lock (ABS) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD) system. Lester explained that the driver aids like ESP (Electronic Stability Program), EBA (Emergency Brake Assist), TCS (Traction Control System), and HAC (Hill Assist Control) make driving the Tiggo 2 a lot easier and safer. But of course, I’m not into these alphabet soup of technological features. I just like to be assured that the car I’m driving with my family is safe and secure. Thankfully, the Tiggo 2 is all that.
Form and Function
I find the light metallic blue color of our test unit quite attractive and cool to the eyes. The front end has just the right amount of bling to make it look more expensive than it really is. The rear end features a chrome strip that positions the Chery logo in the center of the rear hatch while connecting it to the taillights, which has integrated a “C” design. I’m not a big fan of mixing angular and curvy designs but those two-tone 16-inch magwheels add a dash more class and sportiness to the car. (Wait… I’m beginning to sound like my car-crazy husband!)
I didn’t know what LED daytime running lights or rear fog lights are for until Lester pointed them out to me in the Tiggo 2. I also like the door handles, which I can grab and open easily even when I’m holding a bag. While remote door locks are now quite common, it’s always a plus when a car is equipped with it along with a built-in electronic anti-theft and immobilizer system. I began to appreciate all these features of the Tiggo 2, which are not commonly found on “entry level” cars or even on cars that cost much more.
Confidence in Ownership
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the 2020 Chery Tiggo 2 comes with a warranty that covers 5 years or 100,000 kilometers, whichever comes first, PLUS an engine that is covered by a 10-year 1,000,000 km warranty. I had to do a double-take – a MILLION kilometers for a powertrain warranty is a great indicator that Chery Automobile Philippines is confident of the quality of their cars, which is an added assurance that trickles down to the car buyers.
Ever the editor, my husband pointed out that the Tiggo 2 is not merely a “car” but, more accurately, a subcompact crossover vehicle. He explained to me what a crossover vehicle is but I told him that I like simple, uncomplicated stuff. As far as I am concerned, the 2020 Chery Tiggo 2 is a fun-sized car that is ideal for first-time car buyers, single people, young couples, and working moms like me. I’m just thankful that I had such a fun-to-drive, small and nimble car, err… subcompact crossover vehicle to drive during my birthday weekend. Thanks!
About the author:
Shariffa Merhattra Awab Balan Dizon is the better half of Power Wheels Magazine EIC Lester Dizon. Shawie, as she is more popularly known, is a licensed nurse but she instead got into sales, marketing, events organization, and eventually management when the couple went into business. She has driven most of the vehicles that we’ve tested in the magazine but she leaves the editorial work to her husband, except in some cases where she really enjoys the drive, like this one. Almost everyone thinks that she’s the BETTER HALF of the Power Wheels Power Couple, and we’re inclined to agree.
Price as tested: P770,000.00
Classification: 5-door compact crossover
Engine type: Liquid-cooled inline-4 DOHC 16V VVT
Capacity: 1497 cc
Maximum power: 106 hp @ 6000 rpm
Maximum torque: 135 Nm @ 2750 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Length: 4200 mm
Width: 1760 mm
Height: 1570 mm
Wheelbase: 2555 mm
Ground clearance: 186 mm
Turning radius: 5.25 meters
Curb weight: 1215 kg
Fuel tank capacity: 50 liters
Maximum load space volume behind 1st row – 950 liters
Maximum load space volume behind 2nd row – 420 liters
Chery Auto Philippines
United Asia Automotive Group, Inc. (UAAGI)
728 A. Bonifacio Avenue, Balintawak, Quezon City
Tel. Nos.: (+632) 8442 4076 to78