The Chery Tiggo 5X Might Just Be The Under-P1-Million Subcompact Crossover You're Looking For

Chery’s subcompact crossover knows what it is and what it can do.

Whether it’s the improving economy or the fact that there are those who managed to save up some cash during the pandemic, it seems people are beginning to loosen the purse strings and making big purchase this year. Like, cars, for example. No less than three people have asked me in the span of a week about which car I would recommend for them, and while I would never presume to be an expert, I did have some thoughts about what they can consider buying given their needs.

Like a crossover for a friend who just sold her decade-old sedan and looking to trade up. She’s single and uses the vehicle to drive to the office on weekdays and goes on the occasional trips with her parents after-hours or on weekends. She’s concerned about flood damage and needs a vehicle a bit bigger and higher up than a regular sedan but isn’t too pricey.

Photo by PJ Cana.

Maybe it was timing but I had the Chery Tiggo 5X the weekend right after she asked for my advice. And I couldn’t help thinking it checked all the items on her list.

As a subcompact crossover, the Tiggo 5X is right on that sweet spot between the old sedan she’s used to driving and a big SUV that might be a bit too intimidating for her diminutive frame. Its 1.5 liter naturally aspirated engine provides a max power of 114hp and 141Nm of torque—not particularly jaw-dropping but it’s no pushover either. It gets the job done. 

And that it did the weekend I had it. The cabin is surprisingly spacious and not cramped (as some of the vehicles I’ve tried in this class). I’ve met my friend’s parents and they would have no trouble stretching their legs in the back seat. (It seats three although I only counted two headrests). The eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system is a breeze to operate, and it churns out decent sound (not tinny or something like the music came from a pirated or low-class recording). And I thought that making the parking brake electronic is a nice touch.

Photo by Chery Motors Philippines.

The exterior is no less polished, with features like a roof rack and a chrome side panel that gives it a modern and sporty look. It feels like a vehicle a young person would own (which, of course doesn’t mean other, more mature people can’t own one).

Driving around the city, the Tiggo 5X felt solid and capable. It was small enough that it wasn’t difficult to maneuver in and out of urban traffic, but also big enough to provide more breathing room for the driver and occupants. It features Eco and Sport Driving Modes, which you can choose depending on your needs. I was able to squeeze out about nine kilometers per liter, which wasn’t bad. I wasn’t able to take it out of Metro Manila, but I would imagine fuel economy would improve in less congested rural roads.

Overall, it proved to be reliable and delivered just enough power and performance for a brand that’s still trying to attract its share of believers in this country. It knows what it is and doesn’t overpromise on what it can do.

Photo by Chery Motors Philippines.
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There’s no denying the crossover craze these days. Combining the best of two worlds seems to allow carmakers to appeal to a much wider demographic, and that includes my friend, who, like nearly every other car buyer, has very specific needs for a vehicle before she parts with her hard-earned money. Will I recommend the Chery Tiggo 5X to her? It’s certainly a viable option, and one that I feel is a good value for its price.

The SRP of the Chery Tiggo 5X is P950,000.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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