Chery is one of the oldest, most established car manufacturers in China, but its range of vehicles doesn't exactly set pulses racing. If the Tiggo Sport Coupe SUV Concept is anything to go by, that could be set to change. It's only a concept for now, but the bright blue SUV hints at a future where Chinese cars can give the best from Japan and Europe a run for their money.
Just like the Skoda Vision and Audi e-tron launched alongside it in Shanghai, the Tiggo is a high-riding SUV with a coupe roofline. The trend started with the BMW X6 and, in spite of the inherent impracticality of sloping-roofed family cars, shows no signs of abating. Along with the aggressively sloped roof, a set of suicide doors add a touch of concept car drama to the mix, although Chery is adamant they also make entry and egress easier.
Coupled with squinty headlights and edgy surfacing, the sloping roofline makes for a seriously handsome car. According to the company, the design language on show highlights a "forward-looking and unique DNA." Sounds good, but we'll reserve judgement until it can put a car that looks like the Tiggo into production.
Slip through the suicide doors, and the Tiggo interior is a showcase for all the technology Chery hopes to slide into its autonomous cars – when they actually arrive, of course. The steering wheel works normally when the driver is in charge, but switch to self-driving mode and it becomes a gaming controller. Coupled with a vibrating seat and Bluetooth headphones, this is designed to make the concept into a rolling gaming lounge.
The driver sits behind a widescreen display, and the materials used all look to be high quality. Designers have taken inspiration from the world of fashion, with shiny finishes and bright materials chosen to make the cabin feel light and airy.
Along with the Tiggo, Chery used the Shanghai Auto Show to highlight the technology it wants to integrate into its future cars. If the company is to be believed, its cars should be integrating vehicle-to-x communication, eye-tracking, facial-recognition and augmented reality by 2020. Some of that is plausible: vehicle-to-x communication is being rolled out in Germany at the moment, and plenty of manufacturers are playing around with AR as a smart way to give drivers lots of information with minimum distraction. But some of the other goals may be harder to achieve, so we'll temper our enthusiasm until any production vehicle eventuates.
The Tiggo Concept is currently on show at Auto Shanghai.