Chery is back in Malaysia and the Chinese carmaker previewed a couple of its SUVs yesterday. The returning brand’s range at Setia Alam yesterday comprised the Omoda 5 and a trio of Tiggo Pro models. The latter starts with the 4, before going to the 7 and the flagship 8. Here, we’re focusing on the C-segment Tiggo 7 Pro.

Underpinned by Chery’s T1X platform, the Tiggo 7 Pro is 4,500 mm long and has a 2,670 mm wheelbase. That’s the size of fellow Chinese SUV Geely Boyue (Proton X70), which is 4,519 mm long and has the same 2,670 mm wheelbase length. The five-seater SUV’s boot holds 475 litres, or up to 1,500 litres with split folding back seats down.

The Tiggo 7 Pro is quite handsome. The modern design looks nothing like the original Tiggo that was sold in Malaysia – some might remember that one from the Chery Alado days, which aped the second-gen Toyota RAV4. Contemporary design cues include a hexagon grille with “galaxy-inspired geometric matrix diamond” mesh, slim LED headlamps and T-shaped LED daytime running light and fog light housings.

The blacked-out D-pillars and window kink might remind some of the X70, but the lower line is more pinched and below that is a prominent shoulder line crease and another one that extends from the rear lights into the rear doors. Speaking of rear lights, the Tiggo 7 Pro gets an in-trend full-width LED light bar with the Chery script logo above. Lots of empty space on the hatch, Volvo XC40-style.

The wheels on this baby blue demo unit are 18-inch two-tone alloys, wrapped with 225/60 tyres. Contrasting the paint job are red brake calipers (front and back) and a red T badge on the front wing.

The Tiggo 7 Pro dashboard has the same family style as its siblings and that means a slim, horizontal main piece with a tall centre console. Once again, it’s a good looking and contemporary dashboard, even if it looks a little familiar in places. The AC vents aren’t visually joined, but the sea surrounding the vents are covered in stitched leather for a classy effect.

Like in the Tiggo 8 Pro, there are three screens, including a digital instrument panel and a 10.25-inch infotainment one with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a 360-degree around view monitor. Below this sits a flush monochrome screen for the dual-zone air con (with N95 air filtering) with touch panel buttons.

In the flagship Tiggo 8 Pro, this AC panel screen is a colour unit, but I actually prefer the more “background” effect of this B&W screen. What’s nice is that there are physical controls for fan speed and temperature either side of the stubby gear lever – frequently used functions such as these should never be hidden away inside a touchscreen.

The seats – six-way powered for the driver – are covered in black leather with contrast stitching. Voice control, wireless charging and selectable LED ambient lighting are also available. Also on the kit list are a panoramic glass roof, powered tailgate and the full ADAS suite of driver assist features along with six airbags.

The unit you see here is powered by a 1.5 litre four-cylinder turbo engine. The in-house Acteco unit makes 147 PS at 5,500 rpm and 210 Nm of torque between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a CVT with nine virtual ratios. As with the Omoda 5, a 1.6L turbo with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission can be specified, and AWD is an option too. By the way, this unit does not represent the eventual local specs that Malaysia will get – planning is still in the early stages.

So, what do you think of the Chery Tiggo 7 Pro? I think it looks good both inside and out, and the interior design is way more modern than that of the Chinese SUV everyone knows (X70). You’re getting a lot for sure, but for what money? That’s the unenviable task facing Chery – they have a well-specced and good-looking car, but are surely aware that as a newcomer facing household names such as the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5, you’ve got to undercut in RRP.

And then there’s the Proton X70, which is a Chinese counterpart with Malaysian PR status. It’s not easy to get near to the tiger-badged Boyue’s price, as the Geely has national car benefits, but such a price is probably what consumers are used to, and expect. Reduce the kit count to be price competitive? That will dilute the appeal of a Chinese car, which is expected to offer more for less. As I said, it’s an unenviable task, even with a good product – Malaysia is a difficult car market to enter. Anyway, jiayou.

GALLERY: Chery Tiggo 7 Pro in Malaysia

GALLERY: Chery Tiggo 7 Pro in South Africa

GALLERY: Chery Tiggo 7 Pro, studio images