The Star Malaysia - Star2

Compact SUV battle

It’s another shootout time again. Now, we have new upstart Toyota C-HR taking on the highly successful Honda HR-V to be the most desirable compact SUV in the local scene. Turn the pages to find out.


SINCE its introducti­on in February 2015, the Honda HR-V has been the runaway leader in the compact SUV (sport utility vehicle) segment in Malaysia thanks to its stylish exterior and spacious interior as well as having an attractive price-point.

Assembled at Honda Malaysia’s Pegoh plant in Alor Gajah, Melaka, the HR-V is offered in four trims priced from RM92,545 to RM112,111 with zero-rated GST (Goods and Services Tax).

A new challenger that arrived in March this year is the Thailand-built Toyota C-HR, which is priced at RM137,300 with zero-rated GST.

The massive price difference is due to the HR-V getting tax incentives as a locally assembled vehicle as well as by virtue of the C-HR being better equipped in comfort and safety kit.

We chose to pit the C-HR against the top-grade Honda HR-V (V grade) priced at RM110,819 with zero-rated GST.

Of course, our HR-V test drive unit in Dark Ruby Red Pearl was spiced up with optional accessorie­s such as bumper garnishing, side running boards, illuminate­d side steps and door visors as well as window-tint film which brings its cost up by some RM6,300 to RM7,800 (depending on window-tint film package) .

But, even with all that extra kit, the price difference is still around a princely RM18,700 to RM20,000.

It is tough to justify the big price difference even though the C-HR is better equipped with an extra airbag, full leather seats, Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and tyre pressure monitoring system.

Still, the top-grade HR-V is not without its extra attraction­s like LED headlights (C-HR has projector halogen headlamps) and two USB ports (C-HR has one USB port).

Also, it should be noted that while both cars use MacPherson struts for the front suspension, the C-HR has a more expensive double-wishbone rear set-up (HR-V has a rear torsion beam which is less costly, simpler, lighter and more compact).

The double-wishbone suspension is usually preferred by premium and performanc­e oriented vehicles as it provides for a better balance between handling and ride comfort.

What’s also interestin­g about the C-HR is that

it was built using the Toyota New Global Architectu­re (TNGA) platform, which was announced three years ago to help the company build cars without using too much resources.

So, unlike the HR-V which is based on the popular Honda Jazz’s compact platform, the C-HR uses the TNGA platform which means a low-stance design, thus giving it a lower centre-of-gravity and in turn, translates into better stability and handling.

Both cars have the hidden-type-design or integrated rear-door handles, which increases the style quotient.

In terms of size, the C-HR measures 4,360mm (length); 1,795mm (width); 1,565mm (height) and 2,640mm (wheelbase).

The HR-V measures 4,294mm (length); 1,772mm (width); 1,605mm (height) and 2,610mm (wheelbase).

This means the C-HR is a little longer, wider and lower than its Honda rival.

Both are powered by a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol engines mated to fuel-economical continuous­ly variable transmissi­on (CVT), and are also fitted with 17-inch wheels.

The 142PS/172Nm HR-V outputs a bit more power at slightly higher engine speeds than its 140PS/171Nm Toyota rival, and with a 1,267kg kerb weight, it is also lighter by a substantia­l 138kg when compared to the C-HR.

The weight difference probably explains why during impromptu off-the-line sprints, the HR-V was able to outpace the C-HR in accelerati­on.

As for fuel economy, both cars claim nearly similar figures with the Toyota just edging the Honda (6.5 litres per 100km for the C-HR versus 6.6 litres per 100km for the HR-V).

Of course, in the reality of daily commuting, one can never achieve anything close to those claimed fuel consumptio­n figures.

On the HR-V, the rear door is wider and the rear cargo floor is also lower, making it more convenient when loading bulkier items.

The HR-V also wins with much better rear cargo room (437 litres versus 318 litres in the C-HR) and possesses rear Ultra seats that can be folded flat or tipped up (compared with 60:40 split-folding rear seats in the C-HR).

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