Toyota C-HR Review
The Toyota C-HR is a car that evokes desire, but its appeal is more than skin deep.
Enter the modern urban SUV
Do you fancy bold SUV styling without any of the SUV downsides (high running costs, heavy to drive around town and difficult to park)? Well, the C-HR, launched in South Africa in early 2017, is the perfect option, especially for trendy up-and-coming professionals who can appreciate beautiful design and premium finishes.
When Toyota designed the C-HR they broke all the moulds, creating a crossover SUV built specifically for the urban environment and with a captivating coupe profile. It has the presence and stature of an SUV, as well as the commanding driving position, but manages to also incorporate the best characteristics of a compact city car – nippy and fun to drive, easy to park, light on fuel and with great ride quality on the open road. It couldn’t be bothered with things like ground clearance (which is a very civilised 160mm) because that doesn’t enter the thoughts of the target market.
It is the cutting edge, angular appearance of the C-HR that has won it most of its fans, the striking front-end with its angular lights and prominent air scoop being instantly noticeable on the road. The svelte coupe profile hints at sportiness, which is well supported by the car’s dynamic handling, while sculpted taillights show that the C-HR was the result of countless design hours and the freedom to be daring.
The C-HR doesn’t just look modern though – it is based on Toyota’s latest chassis, the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that was first used for the new Prius, and was also the first Toyota to locally feature the new generation of turbocharged petrol engines. And it’s a great engine at that, producing 85kW and 185Nm from an engine capacity of just 1.2-litres, and using just 6.3 litres of petrol per 100km. This one engine does duty across the range of four derivatives, but there are two transmission options – a six-speed manual that is delightful to drive, with very precise gear changes, and a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) that fills the role of an automatic option. This CVT has to be one of the best that I have driven, and is perfectly matched to the willing little engine. I always say that an automatic gearbox shouldn’t be noticed while you’re driving, and this one accomplishes this with aplomb.
The C-HR’s stylish cabin is undoubtedly one of the best in the market segment, the result of great design work combined with engineering ingenuity and high quality materials. The interior focus across the range is a touchscreen interface, while air-con, a sound system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Plus Show, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, steering wheel controls and electric windows are all standard. The Plus models get a few extras, like automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels, as opposed to 17-inch steel wheels with hubcaps. As the name suggests, the Luxury model is the cream of the crop, so it gets further niceties, such as an effective two-tone paint scheme, heated leather seats, push-button start and electrical lumbar support.
Safety wise, all C-HR variants are equipped with a complete array of active safety features, which include Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Hill Assist Control (HAC), ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). Driver and passenger airbags are also standard, whilst the Luxury model ups the airbag quotient to a total of nine with the addition of driver knee, curtain and side airbags.
Prices for the C-HR start at R346 200 for the 1.2T, go to R376 600 for the 1.2T Plus and R388 400 for the 1.2T Plus CVT, with the 1.2T Luxury CVT priced at R434 800. The entire C-HR range is covered by a 6-services/90 000km service plan and 3-year/100 000km warranty.
Totally desirable and funky
Compact city SUV
Great and economical turbocharged engine
Excellent CVT gearbox