Toy­ota C-HR


Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Contents -

Let’s be frank about some­thing. In this day and age, you won’t find too many peo­ple flock­ing to Toy­ota deal­er­ships – par­al­lel im­porters in­cluded – to part with pre­cious ring­git for a sportscar like the GT86. In­stead, you’ll of­ten see more opt­ing to drive away with one of the mar­que’s many cross­over mod­els.

The ap­peal of Toy­ota crossovers, re­gard­less of size and price, is sim­ple: they’re large and prac­ti­cal enough for fam­ily chores, easy and eco­nom­i­cal enough for daily driv­ing, not to men­tion their renowned has­sle-free main­te­nance. It’s a no-brainer choice to many.

With the ar­rival of the C-HR, how­ever, you can now have all that and the one thing miss­ing in its sta­ble­mates, that be­ing style. One glance is enough to con­firm it. The com­bi­na­tion of its steeply swooped roofline, our tester’s at­trac­tive blue con­trast­ing with its black roof and body panel colour scheme, snazzy 17-inch al­loy wheels, and sharp head and tail lights de­sign, the for­mer sport­ing dis­tinct LED DRLs too, makes this cross­over a head turner wher­ever it goes.

The in­side feels as good. The Malaysian model UMW Toy­ota of­fi­cially im­ports gets plush black

leather seat cov­ers paired with soft-touch plas­tic and high-end fab­ric in all the right places. Cou­ple that with the snazzy de­sign mo­tif and the con­trast­ing yet sub­tle brown leather trim and door cards, and it’s easy to see this cross­over is in sync with cur­rent times.

Sim­ply ex­plained, the Toy­ota C-HR makes many of its ri­vals look rather bland. Of course, looks aren’t ev­ery­thing. Cer­tainly, what came af­ter the awe caused by its looks was the cu­rios­ity about its prac­ti­cal­ity and per­for­mance. Well, it does stand up to the test, al­beit with a few quirks.

Start­ing with the most ob­vi­ous, you can’t ig­nore the rather small rear doors and win­dows, and the thick C-pil­lar. Taller folks will find it a tad dif­fi­cult to climb in and out there, while, in­side, it’s rather cramped. Per­haps that’s the price one needs to pay for the pretty styling.

If you can live with those quirks, the C-HR packs enough crea­ture com­forts and fea­tures to make any com­mute, long or short, less mun­dane. Things like key­less en­try and

ig­ni­tion, au­to­matic cli­mate con­trol, neat in­fo­tain­ment with USB and Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, and re­verse cam­era func­tion sup­port this car’s cre­den­tials as an easy daily ride.

As ex­pected of any Toy­ota cross­over, the C-HR de­liv­ers a smooth, easy drive. There’s plenty of go from the 1.8-litre twin-cam four-banger mounted up front. Primed with dual VVT-i vari­able valve tim­ing, it sends 138bhp and 171Nm to the front wheels through a CVT au­to­matic box.

Say what you will about most CVTs, we’re sure many agree Toy­ota has one

of the most re­fined ones out there. Not only smooth on all oc­ca­sions in the C-HR, it’s also ef­fi­cient, es­pe­cially in Eco mode and when one fol­lows the in­ter­ac­tive eco driv­ing guide on the multi-info, full colour 4.2-inch dis­play in the in­stru­ment clus­ter.

The C-HR has two other modes, Nor­mal and Sport, but lacks a ded­i­cated tog­gle switch or but­ton for it. In­stead, you’ll need to use the right-side steer­ing wheel con­trols and the multi-info dis­play to switch be­tween drive modes. An­noy­ing, yes, but not as big a deal­breaker as its rather small 388-litre stan­dard boot might be.

The C-HR’s sav­ing grace lies in its de­cent on-road man­ners. While not as ag­ile as its GT86 sportscar cousin, it does feel sur­pris­ingly sportier than most of its peers with­out sac­ri­fic­ing too much on com­fort. En­sur­ing the com­fort is its com­bi­na­tion of a slightly lifted ride height, long-travel sus­pen­sion with good damp­ing and de­cent noise sup­pres­sion.

Equally de­cent are its safety fea­tures: VSC (Ve­hi­cle Sta­bil­ity Con­trol), seven airbags, ISOFIX child seat an­chors, ABS, and RCTA (Rear Cross-Traf­fic Alert) that sup­ple­ments the re­verse cam­era.

Per­haps, to most, meet­ing this fully im­ported com­pact cross­over’s pre­mium price tag of RM150,000 might be the big­gest stretch. It can’t be de­nied the C-HR is pricey for its size, but if you’re one who seeks some­thing truly stylish with de­cent sub­stance to match, the C-HR is sec­ond to none. Sud­denly, school runs with the kids don’t look so bad af­ter all… THORIQ AZMI

“…it does feel sur­pris­ingly

sportier than most of its peers with­out sac­ri­fic­ing too

much on com­fort.”

The full-colour, multi-info dis­play screen is a neat ad­di­tion in the in­stru­ment panel

De­spite lack­ing elec­tric power ad­just­ment fea­tures, the seats are both plushand sup­port­ive

01 There’s an op­tional dash cam mounted just be­hind the rear-view mir­ror – a wor­thy op­tion to con­sider02 Smooth-op­er­at­ing CVT auto box also boasts a sporty metal­lic knob de­sign03 Elec­tric power steer­ing makes this one cross­over that al­most any­one in the fam­ily can eas­ily mas­ter 04 Pi­ano Black trims are a lit­tle clichéd these days, but it doesn’t look too bad in the C-HR though 05 7-inch touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment dis­play of­fers plenty of other fea­tures too be­sides smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity

An­other tasty op­tion to con­sider is this built-in SmartTAG sys­tem

The tasty metal­lic blue hue and con­trast­ing black ac­cents bode well with the C-HR’s sharp lines

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