Motoring Editor, Stephen Smith, attended the launch of Toyota’s funky new C-HR compact SUV. Here are his initial thoughts.
The compact SUV market continues to go from strength to strength, and Toyota is the latest brand to take advantage of this trend.
The C-HR is their new offering to this segment, aimed at the ‘urban individual’ who hankers after a vehicle that fits his active, outdoor lifestyle (or at least his image of that lifestyle).
Made in Turkey and designed in Europe, the C-HR is a far more fun, creative and unique car than we’ve come to expect from Toyota, and one that is definitely going to sell on more than mere brand loyalty.
This is a car that will be desired, spoken about in hip, young circles, and turn heads on the road. In fact, when our cavalcade of 12 or so C-HRs pulled into Cullinan, Gauteng, they spent the next 2 hours with hands on their windows as passers-by peered through the windows, and hands on their bonnets as selfies were taken.
The only engine option at this stage is a 1.2-litre, turbocharged petrol engine that produces 85kW and 185Nm, using 6.3l/100km of petrol to do so. This engine can be had with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed CVT gearbox, both of which are impressive and work brilliantly with the little engine.
Ride quality is also excellent for a vehicle of this size, and even when we mistakenly strayed beyond the speed limit the car felt composed and surefooted on the road.
While it’s the funky exterior that will attract the buyers, it’s the stylish and sophisticated interior, which makes use of high-quality materials that will win them over.
Specification levels are also adequate, and include a touchscreen audio system with USB, iPod, iPhone, Bluetooth and CD/DVD interfaces.
Safety wise there are 2 airbags up front, and this is one area that could be improved upon in future. A full suite of Active Safety functions are embedded into the C-HR and include ABS, Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Hill Assist Control (HAC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). Another nice feature is a full-size spare wheel.
Toyota has another volume seller on their hands. Well, they would have if international demand wasn’t currently outstripping supply. As it stands, Toyota’s 190 national dealers will be scraping together over 150 units a month to keep their customers happy. Prepare for a wait of a month or two if you haven’t already put your name down for a C-HR.
There are three derivatives to choose from, which vary in specification grade and transmission choice.
All C-HR models come standard with a 5-year/90 000km service plan, with service intervals set at 15 000 km. A 3-year/100 000km warranty is provided.
A full review will follow shortly in Country Life magazine.
Toyota C-HR 1.2T 6MT – R 318 500
Toyota C-HR 1.2T 6MT Plus – R 345 000
Toyota C-HR 1.2T CVT Plus – R 356 000