I have been reviewing cars for nearly 8 years now but I can’t really think of any other car that has created so much interest while I’ve had it then the C-HR didn’t matter where I went in it I was getting looks from people, thumbs up from school kids and lots and lots of questions from people in car parks I was a little taken back at first because I was surprised by the attention it was getting.
The C-HR has been generating lots of interest since it was released on the Australian market and I know a couple of people that have actually bought one so when I picked up the keys I was really keen to see what all the fuss was about.
To be honest when it first arrived on our market I was too crash hot on the looks but over the last few months as I’ve seen more and more on the road the looks have grown on me and after spending a week with it I’d have to say I am now a fan of the looks.
The CH-R comes in 2 flavours C-HR and the top spec Koba, the C-HR can be had in either 2WD which is available with either a 6 speed manual or 7 speed CVT automatic or AWD which is strictly a 7 speed CVT automatic affair. While the CVT auto only Koba is available in both 2WD and AWD. Pricing starts at just $30,500 drive away in NSW for the manual 2WD C-HR and goes up to just over $39,000 for the CVT equipped AWD Koba. But I would check with your local dealer for proper pricing as they may some offers available plus the Koba can be had with contrasting black or white roof (depending on the exterior colour).
For those of you that like to personalise your car there is a shed load of customised options available for the C-HR to help make sure that your C-HR will be pretty unique which I think is awesome idea and something I wish other manufacturers would actually start doing especially when you look at the overseas websites and see a long list of things available that we don’t get but I digress back to Toyota and C-HR.
I’m testing the CVT equipped AWD C-HR which at the moment is just $34,800 drive away in NSW with the brilliant Hornet Yellow paint that this car is finished in not only looks good in pics looks pretty damn good in the flesh and I recon part of the reason the C-HR generated so much interest as it really stands out in the sea or silvers and white that you see most car parks full of these days.
On the inside I think Toyota have done a pretty good job, the controls are easy to reach from the driver’s seat, while the abundance of soft touch materials and black piano finishes give it an up market look and the fit was spot on (as you would expect) .
The seats are comfortable and supportive I put 1100 km on it during the week I had it and was surprised at the comfort of the seats.
The steering wheel is comfortable to hold and has all the buttons for the audio and hands free system so you don’t have to move your hands off the wheel, what I didn’t like however is the cruise control is on a separate stalk on the bottom right of the steering wheel even after 1100 km I still found it a pain to use.
The white lit gauges were easy to see in any light and the 4.2″ Multi Information Display between them can be used to display a wealth of information.
The interior is well set out and all the controls are easy to reach from the driver’s seat not just you need to take your hands off the wheel much thanks to the steering wheel buttons.
The centre stack is home to the 6.1 inch touch screen for the multimedia system and while I found it relatively easy to use I found it not as fluid as some on the market and while I was able to live stream my music from spotify via Bluetooth I found the system would be a lot easier and more user friendly if it had Android Auto capability.
Head and leg room in the front was pretty good and while didn’t have anyone in the bad seat during my test I thought there would reasonable room for 2 people but a squashy for 3 in the back seat.
There’s plenty storage spots with front and rear cup holders, front and rear bottle holders, glove box, lower tray, centre console box and front seat back pockets. Boot space is quoted at 377L but is limited due to the sloping back window, but with no rear passengers for the week we were able to utilise the folding back seats to open up more room for our entire luggage and we did use it as well.
Under the bonnet the C-HR is powered by an 85kW 185Nm 1.2L turbo charged 4 cylinder engine backed by a CVT transmission. Now while I found the engine adequate for driving around the suburbs and found it good keep up with traffic relatively well. Although I found it lacking in power and torque specially when faced with some long steep hills, and while it cruised easy at highway speeds, I found over taking moves had to be planned a head of time. The CVT was relatively good and under normal conditions you didn’t really notice it. However I did try and use the manual mode up a winding up hill section of road and found the shift seemed to artificial so gave up on it after 2 corners.
One thing I noticed on the highway that certain times with the adaptive cruise control on specially when going slightly downhill the transmission would try and down shift to slow the car down to set speed which just resulted in the engine revving and making a lot more noise and nothing else whether that was due to the CVT or engines lack of torque I’m not quite sure. I just found it a touch annoying to have the engine start revving and making more noise out of the blue.
Fuel economy wasn’t bad at all in 1100km I averaged 6.9L for the whole trip mind you a lot of that was spent on the highway but I thought the economy was rather good.
On the road I thought C-HR rode rather well it made a nice and comfortable trip for us on the highway, and didn’t seem to be put off by bumps and imperfections you get on back country roads.
With lots of road works on route back home we did spend quite a bit of time on dirt and gravel roads and despite speed being limited by the conditions it felt rather sure footed when off the tarmac.
I did find however there was a little bit of lean especially on some real tight sections of road but it wasn’t as bad as you would expect for an SUV which could be put down to the double wishbone suspension, I thought it would actually be a really fun drive around windy roads if it had an extra 30 or 40kW.
The steering was direct and the brakes felt adequate even on some tight sections of road that required a lot of braking.
Safety wise the C-HR has achieved a 5 star ANCAP rating as you would expect from a Toyota and comes standard with a long list of safety features including 7 airbags, Toyota Safety Sense (with Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Active Cruise Control and Pre-Collision Safety system with pedestrian detection, Forward Collision Warning, Brake Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking), Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, 3 child restraint anchorage points.
It gained points for having a rear view camera and scored bonus points for the front and read parking sensors.
So after a week and just over 1100km in the C-HR I came away rather impressed and I can certainly see what attracted the people I know who bought them.
It does perform most of the tasks you ask of it and it does come rather well equipped plus it doesn’t look too bad at all as well. I did find a few things that could be improved such as the multimedia system which would greatly improve with the addition of Android Auto and Apple Car play, boot space is not the worlds greatest thanks to it sloping profile.
My biggest complaint was its lack of power and torque, a while a lot of people will find it adequate I would have preferred more and some people might be put off by it’s diet of 95 ron fuel or higher. The only other thing is warranty while most companies are moving towards 5 year warranty Toyota is a bit behind the times by still offering a 3 year 100,000km warranty.
The C-HR does make a good case for somebody looking for a small SUV that looks different from the rest and offers an amount of customisation from the factory that it might take you a while to find one exactly the same as yours.
For more info on the CH-R surf on over to the web site http://www.toyota.com.au and head down to your local dealership to check them out.
2019 Toyota CH-R
Price from: $30,682 drive away in NSW, As tested $34802 driveaway
Engine: 1.2L turbo 4 cylinder (recommended fuel 95 ron or over)
Transmission: Constant Variable Transmission (CVT) 7 speed with paddle shift
Warranty:: 3 year/100,000km
Service Costs: 5 every 12 months / 15,000km $195.00