A chance to test-drive a ‘four-wheeled jewel’ from one of China’s leading carmakers sounded like a pretty attractive prospect, even before a road trip to Germany was thrown into the mix. So it was with excitement that I took off to Frankfurt to meet Mr. Aaron Cao, Market Research and Branding Marketing Department Director of Chery Cars, to embark on a test-drive of Chery’s latest offering, the Tiggo 5x.
We met in Frankfurt, surrounded by woods and steeped in green landscape, it was a charming backdrop to the start of our four-day road trip on some of the country’s most scenic Autobahn roads.
Less than 24 hours after our arrival on German soil, we had the big reveal of the cars which would take us on our epic test-drive. In the perhaps unlikely setting of a rest area in Ingolstadt, we were greeted by the sight of two shining Tiggo 5x in vibrant red and blue, I enjoyed being the first to shoot pictures of the big reveal.
Next on our itinerary was a visit to the Bosch headquarters in Renningen. Bosch is a privileged partner of Chery and has been on a journey of its own with the Tiggo 5x. Waiting for us at the main entrance to Bosch HQ was Michael Gaenzler, vice-chairman responsible for marketing and business strategy. He took us to the Bosch test circuit, where we hopped into the Tiggo 5x for our first test drive. While an amazingly photogenic sunset was painting lights in the sky, we put the car through its paces on the track, testing acceleration, grip in curve, brakes, steering wheel, driving position and performance.
Immediate impressions? The Tiggo 5x is a very pleasant car to drive. Technical equipment ,comfort and onboard intelligent equipment are more than satisfactory. With the initial test drive over, I caught up with Mr. Aaron Cao to find out more about the secrets that make the Tiggo 5x such a smooth drive. It is a long conversation. I am especially curious to know whether, how and when Chery is going to sell their cars on the European market. Mr. Cao answers, Chery has no plan to fully put the Tiggo 5x into the European market yet, however it will be put into the Russian market in the near future. It is worth mentioning that Chery already has a stable market share in Russia. The EXEED unveiled in Frankfurt meets the regulatory standards of European countries, and also meets the needs of European consumers, whether or not it’ll enter the market of other European countries in the future will depend on the business and competitive strategy of Chery.
During my video-interview with Mr. Cao I noted some technical specs of the Tiggo5x: 4338 mm length, 1830 mm width, 1645 mm height, 2630 mm interaxle spacing. As concerns the interiors, I would highlight the leather seats, the multi-functional steering wheel and the 9-inch touch-screen with a broad choice of icons, which put the entire car at your service with a single click. Under the hood there is a 1.5 liter turbocharged aggregate, with 147 HP and a 210 Nm Torque.
Substantially, Tiggo5x is not much different from the concept car presented at the Shanghai Motor Show. In the sunset light, the design of the LED-lamps emphasizes the large radiator grille. The load capacity of the trunk is 340 liters which, pulling the back seats down, reaches up to 1100 liters. Furthermore, there are 18-Inch wheels, a panoramic roof, a back-camera. The price of this astonishing crossover, at least for the Chinese market, comes in at between 79,900 and 110,900 Yuan (which, if I am not wrong, is about 12 to 16.7 thousand US dollars).
Night falls and, after the farewell to the Bosch establishment, we stop in Tuebingen for the night. Founded in 1477, this town in Baden-Wuerttemberg is home to a historical university and, with its houses on the Neckar river, looks like a fairy tale city. The next day we are on the road again to an equally attractive destination: Baden Baden, among the most popular thermal cities in Europe. But before reaching this "well-being capital", I am offered a brilliant opportunity to test-drive the two Tiggo5x’s in a gorgeous open woodland setting along our road-trip route. (Stay posted for videos I made there in English and Italian). The next day I fly back to Italy. Am I satisfied about this first Chery experience of mine? Absolutely. In fact, I’ll try to sum up my sentiments in Chinese language, hoping not to make mistakes: 幸福 Xìngfú.