BIG EN­TRY IN COMPACT MAR­KET

NO LOOK­ING BACK FOR TOYOTA WITH THE C-HR

Cockburn Gazette - - DRIVEWAY - Matt Calvitto

TOYOTA'S C-HR is de­signed to com­pete in the compact SUV seg­ment, up against the likes of the Honda HRV, Mazda CX-3 and the Nis­san Juke.

The seg­ment is a rel­a­tively new, but tough one.

As such, Toyota has pulled out all stops to snag its own chunk of the mar­ket.

The C-HR is pow­ered by an all­new 1.2-litre turbo-charged en­gine, a class-crush­ing amount of stan­dard equip­ment, ex­cel­lent build qual­ity, and wild styling in­side and out.

The C-HR range is rel­a­tively sim­ple. There’s the base C-HR and the more stylish and gen­er­ously equipped C-HR Koba.

All are pow­ered by the afore­men­tioned 1.2-litre en­gine, which is mated to ei­ther a sixspeed man­ual or seven-step con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion (CVT). Power is sent to the front or all four wheels.

The range starts with the CHR front-wheel drive man­ual, priced from $26,990, and stretches all the way to the Koba CVT all-wheel drive, which has a sticker price of $35,290.

We tested the C-HR CVT front-wheel drive, which re­tails at $28,990.

A high level of stan­dard equip­ment is one of the C-HR's key party tricks. The amount of stuff you get for un­der $30k is pretty damn in­cred­i­ble.

There's blind-spot mon­i­tor­ing, adap­tive cruise con­trol, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, lane-keep as­sist, au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, front and rear park­ing sen­sors, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, a heap of airbags – in­clud­ing a driver's knee airbag – and lots more.

The 1.2-litre turbo en­gine chucks out 85kW and 185Nm. Not the sort of power and torque that'll ruin your face with gforces, but the C-HR gets along con­fi­dently enough.

Rolling ac­cel­er­a­tion is more than ad­e­quate thanks to that broad power band and the en­gine is re­fined and rel­a­tively quiet.

The CVT keeps it on the boil too. In­ter­est­ingly for a car tar­geted at younger cus­tomers, flappy pad­dles aren't avail­able.

Toyota claims a com­bined fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure of 6.4 litres/100km but we found 8.5 to be closer to the mark. It is worth not­ing that the en­gine has an ap­petite for pre­mium un­leaded petrol too.

Han­dling is de­cent. The C-HR turns in well, giv­ing rea­son­able feed­back through the steer­ing wheel. Body roll is kept in check and ride qual­ity is plush with­out feel­ing flac­cid.

It dares to be dif­fer­ent and adds some much needed ‘wow!’ fac­tor to the Toyota range.

The in­te­rior is an er­gonomic de­light. All the main con­trols are an­gled to­wards the driver and the driver can reach for pretty much any­thing with­out tak­ing their eyes off the road. Voice con­trol is stan­dard, too.

All the switchgear is be­spoke, and all in­te­rior ma­te­ri­als of a high cal­i­bre, adding to the pre­mium feel­ing.

The seats are soft, com­fort­able and sup­port­ive, mak­ing the C-HR the ideal com­pan­ion on road trips. Rear vis­i­bil­ity isn't that great, but it does have a re­vers­ing cam­era as stan­dard

The boot has a large sur­face area, but a low lug­gage cover means that you are quite lim­ited as to what you can carry.

Ver­dict: Buy one if you're feel­ing bold. We haven't been this ex­cited about a Toyota since the 86 was launched.

Toyota's C-HR is an ex­cit­ing new­comer in the small SUV sec­tor.

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