The Toyota C-HR was launched in South Africa in February 2017 as manufacturers were diving into the flourishing cross-over segment.
Many were taken aback by a Toyota with such edgy styling breaking with its up until then relatively conservative approach in this department, a decision apparent across the brand’s entire range.
For 2018, an all-new range topping model is available: the Luxury derivative.
Toyota have remained pretty sensible in terms of nomenclature and the Luxury is distinguished from the standard and Plus derivatives by way of a bi-tone design.
A black roof, roof-pillars and side-mirrors create the striking two-tone effect. The black upper section can be combined with four exterior colours, the options being White Pearl, Cinnabar red metallic, Lunar Metallic (a smoked silver hue) or Caribbean Blue.
Customers can also opt for a black exterior paired with a white roof – creating a total of five different colour options.
Unique smoked rear tail lamps and full-LED head and fog lamps are fitted. Daytime Running Lights (DRL) with a contour-hugging light guide complete the exterior package.
Stylish 18 inch alloy wheels are fitted to Plus and Luxury models.
Convenience items for the driver are provided in the form of electrically adjustable lumbar support, a keyless-entry system with push-button start (linked to auto-folding side mirrors), Park Distance Control (PDC) and the high-tech Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA).
The IPA system uses the PDC sensors to accurately check for and measure a potential parking space, where after it resumes control of the Electric Power Steering (EPS) and clinically manoeuvres the vehicle into the parking space.
No more stressful parking predicaments, well at least once you have learned to trust it. The system provides step-by-step instructions and distance indications via the colour Multi-information Display.
A Reverse Camera is provided across the entire range.
Seating in the Luxury grade model is provided by textured leather seats, which include seat heaters for driver and passenger and the aforementioned adjustable driver lumbar support.
The upper dashboard also incorporates soft-touch leather trim with contrast stitching. I had always liked the interior of the C-HR in any event, but the jump in luxury is substantial.
The infotainment system is feature rich, with a touchscreen interface and bright legible graphics. Millennials are catered for with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Plus Show connectivity,
USB interface and of course Bluetooth streaming and telephony.
Occupants can also choose to mirror cellphone apps, providing access to a vast array of music and navigation options such as Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, Spotify, Apple Music and Soundcloud (device dependent).
Satellite Navigation embedded into the system is standard across the range, allowing users to navigate without the need for a cellphone connection.
The C-HR retains its 1.2-litre turbocharged engine, featuring a host of efficiency-boosting technologies such as VVTi-W (Variable Valve Timing – intelligent Wide), direct injection, flexible engine cycle switching (Otto vs Atkinson), 10:1 compression ratio and smart- heat management.
The engine delivers 85kW and a constant torque curve of 185 Nm between 1 500 and 4 000 rpm.
The Luxury model uses a CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission), with programmed steps, which simulate conventional gear ratios.
All the same, I was not approaching nthe drive with much enthusiasm. To my mind, if the engine and gearbox don’t do their thing properly it ruins everything and complements the torquey nature of the turbocharged powerplant.
The last Toyota CVT gearbox I experienced was in the Yaris and I didn’t like it. But with the turbo-charger everything is different and the C-HR with CVT is absolutely fine.
In addition, the driver can access seven pre-defined gear ratios when moving the brushed aluminium shift-lever from D (Drive) to M (Manual) mode, affording a greater degree of control.
Standard and Plus derivatives are also available with a six-speed manual transmission with Toyota’s iMT (intelligent Manual Transmission) system.
Underpinning the C-HR is a variant of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform first introduced on the Prius.
A fundamental characteristic of TNGA is the excellent balance of refinement, ride quality and dynamically rewarding handling.
A McPherson front suspension layout is adopted, while the rear utilises a double wishbone design.
All C-HR variants have a complete array of active safety features, including Vehicle Stability Control, Hill Assist Control, ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist.
The Luxury model ups the airbag quotient to nine with the addition of driver knee, curtain and side airbags.
- C-HR 1.2T R 336 000
- C-HR 1.2T Plus R 365 500
- C-HR 1.2T Plus CVT R 377 000
- C-HR 1.2T Luxury CVT R 422 100