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Taking seven seats in the Chery Tiggo 8 and the best-selling Skoda Kodiaq

Taking seven seats in the Chery Tiggo 8 and the best-selling Skoda Kodiaq

Buyers of the Chery Tiggo 8 are doing without a configurator for now. At the start of sales, the Chinese crossover doesn’t offer an alternative to a 170-horsepower turbo engine, a variator and a front-wheel drive. The only Prestige pack includes all possible options and a third seat row. You can only choose a body color.. There are a dozen models among the competitors of the “Eighth”, but marketers of Chery see the similar in size Kodiaq as the main one. The latter can’t be approached without a configurator.

The largest representative of the Tiggo family (15,4 feet in length) is well-cut and well-built. There is a lavishly draped with leatherette interior behind the heavy door covering the sill. A steering column reach is adjustable: this luxury is not available to other co-platform cars. A seat looks hospitable; a good profile of the backrest tightly hugs a lower back. Although soft cushions weakly support hips.

There are few physical buttons on the front panel, and they are too small. While sensor ones, which control, for example, the climate system, are clearly visible only in the dark. You need to aim properly before changing the volume of the audio system or stream distribution in the cabin, turn on the rear window heating or recirculation.. And where do we put a smartphone? Mine barely fits into the narrow cup holders, and the recess next to the parking brake button can hold only a lighter. I put it in the door pocket.

Visibility is good thanks to mirrors with a wide coverage. While truncated “ears” of the Skoda force you to crane your neck, looking into the blind spots. In addition, a pedestrian or something bigger easily hides behind the Kodiaq’s plump columns. But this is the only miss of the Czech crossover in the organization of a driver’s workplace. The fit is close to the ideal. There are an order of magnitude more buttons on the front panel than in the Tiggo 8, and each one is in the right place. I change the climate, flip through podcasts and switch driving modes without thinking.

None of our test subjects can be blamed for the lack of space in front of the knees or above the head of the second row passengers. But the Chery is still a little roomier. Although the fit is more comfortable in the Skoda due to the good profile of the seat and more space for the feet. Moreover, for an additional fee, original headrests are offered in the Kodiaq: folding “cheeks” keep the head of a dozing passenger in an upright position.

Force majeure logistics on the eve of the press parks’ closure forces us to put two Kodiaqs into the test at once. The driving program is performed by the unassuming five-seat Hockey Edition on plump 17-inch wheels. Its front seats are mechanically adjustable. While in the assessment of cargo and passenger capabilities, the proper seven-seat Skoda in a more expensive Style version with electric seats is involved. Therefore, don’t pay attention to the difference in the trim and body colors in the photos.

The third seat row in the Skoda is an additional option for a different cost depending on the version. For that matter, it’s easier to buy a Family ll pack, where in addition to the trunk seats, extra USB connectors, tables and three-zone climate control are included. However, it is worth remembering that seven adults have a hard experience here: people about 5’11 tall are packed like sardines. The seat has to be moved forward, and the back row inhabitants at the same time rest against the ceiling with their heads.

To place an adult in the far seats in the Tiggo 8, you will also have to crowd the inhabitants of the second row. It is a little more spacious in the larger car, but you shouldn’t count on any relaxed pose either. A couple of extra longitudinal inches makes no difference. And the roof is even more pressing on tops of heads than in the Kodiaq.

Once again, I am convinced that a 2+3+2 seat arrangement is nothing more than an advertising gimmick when it comes to crossovers less than five meters long. Due to the tightness, third row seats are often called children’s ones, but it is not emphasized for some reason what awaits children in the event of a rear-end collision. The glass of the fifth door hangs a dozen inches above the headrests. I’m definitely not going to put my child in such danger.

The driver of the Kodiaq is trapped with an inch step between gas and brake pedals. It’s so easy to stumble, putting a leg over. And sometimes the six-speed robotised DQ250 with “wet” clutches is also weird. After switching from Reverse to Drive, the test car accompanies pressing the accelerator with a tangible blow. And a slight increase in thrust at low speeds — most often with an unpleasant jerk. Although it happens that everything goes smoothly.

While earlier we noted the illogical traction control in the Kodiaq at partial loads, this time the direct-shift box quickly finds a lower gear even in response to minor movements of the accelerator. New firmware? Although the response to dynamic commands is recognizable: the Skoda shifts down two or three gears with a noticeable hitch and rushes to the horizon with a roar.

In my opinion, a 1.4 turbo engine with a capacity of 150 hp is optimal for the Kodiaq.It has enough traction in calm conditions. But in the process of overtaking on a narrow two-lane road, the desire to make a chip tuning of the Skoda comes — just to get back to your lane a little faster. Even being 20 hp weaker, it seems faster than the Chery with a very close unladen weight. The two-liter Tiggo 8 accelerates to 2000 rpm without enthusiasm, due to smoothed reactions to the fuel supply.

The Chinese turbo engine produces the same peak 250 N-m as the Volkswagen 1.4 TSI, but 500 rpm later. In the medium speed range, the variator provides more or less linear traction control. With intense acceleration, hysteresis appears, responses are delayed, but the gearbox doesn’t force the engine to voice on one note. Pseudo-gear-stepping appears only if you iterate through nine quasi-gears manually. It is unlikely that anyone will do this with a lever, and there are no steering-column buttons.

The Tiggo retains the softness of reactions even in Sport mode, which allows you to use this most sensitive algorithm in everyday life. The chassis is configured without a twinkle, but, given the crossover’s size, it copes well even with a sharp change of direction, keeping the body from deep rolls. Although the stabilizing force on the steering wheel is always equally viscous, as if the steering shaft leads not to the electric motor, but to a tub of thick honey. But the roughness of the road surface dissolves in it.

On a straight line, the Chinese crossover doesn’t require steering correction and even ignores asphalt ruts, switching lanes without directional troubles and wobbles. However, if a large pit or a deformation joint gets under the wheel, it will kick up as if steel pipes are installed in the suspension instead of shock absorbers. The rear riders, who are near the short-stroke multi-link system, especially suffer.

Ride smoothness of the Kodiaq is also far from ideal — despite the fact that 17-inch tires are mounted on our car. On a relatively flat road, shock absorbers cope with vibrations, but with an increase in the caliber of potholes, they give up, leaving blows pass. And while the Chery suspension is rigid, but energy-intensive enough, there is a bit of flabbiness in the Kodiaq chassis. It manifests itself in vibrations of unsprung masses and repeated vibrations of the stern when passing sections with sagging asphalt.

In regular modes, the Skoda is controlled, though boring, but academically correct. Reactions when changing direction are smoothed, but at the same time accurate. The clear steering wheel sets the correct angle of entry into the turn, like a school protractor. The Kodiaq also doesn’t require corrections on the arc. However, if, having trusted it, you imagine yourself a racer, in the first extreme turn, the crossover will first scare you with a vertical suspension short rest, and then — will stun you with the loss of controlled wheels’ grip, unexpectedly straightening the trajectory. Don’t race!

It seems that the lack of harmony in the Skoda’s driving settings doesn’t bother a client. Mediocre ride smoothness didn’t prevent the Kodiaq from taking the lead in the D+ crossover segment, shifting the Outlander and the X-Trail from the top lines of the rating. Over 25 thousand Czech crossovers were sold last year. In addition, the Kodiaq showed the most active growth, adding 54% to the figure of 2018.

It is clear that it is not only the product merit here (while the advantages include a large range of engines, transmissions, options), but also localization, and the subsequent price reduction. Nevertheless, the sum of the Skoda’s consumer qualities is likely to allow it to stay afloat even after a new price-hike wave rolls in. It would be necessary to improve the driving comfort. A recent acquaintance with the Karoq indicates that work is underway in this direction.

The first crossover “pancake” cooked by Chery for a large family isn’t a mess. It is inferior to the Skoda in dynamics, smooth running and controllability in calm modes. But it holds up better and preserves the unambiguity of behavior in the extreme. It doesn’t look like a pure weakling. Including at the expense of a competitive price tag, which will help people with an average income to close their eyes to some shortcomings. Moreover, just before the invasion of the virus, the representative office promised to make the “Eighth” more affordable due to simplified configurations. For example, folding seats that are not suitable for living will be removed from the trunk.

This is a translation. You can read the original here: https://www.drive.ru/test-drive/chery/skoda/5e9ef34cec05c4c27800001c.html

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