Toyota C-HR 1.8L test drive review
Toyota Wakes Up & There Is A Segment Storm
Text and Pictures by Daniel Fernandez
Stylish, athletic and filled with technology, the all-new 2018 Toyota C-HR or, Coupe High-Rider represents a leap forward in design, manufacturing and engineering for Toyota. The C-HR serves as a springboard of excitement and wanderlust for its trendsetting drivers.
First shown in concept form at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the 2018 C-HR maintains the concept’s avant-garde physique; modern, comfortable cabin; and bold, outgoing character.
But, the Toyota C-HR doesn’t only look great – it’s got the sportiness to impress thanks to the efforts of Deputy Chief Engineer, Hiro Koba, who is a diehard racer with speed coursing through his veins. Koba-san and team made sure the C-HR exhilarates its driver anytime, anywhere, including around the famed Nürburgring circuit where vehicle development was chiefly executed. Like its uncanny looks, the C-HR’s blend of comfort, control, consistency, and responsiveness is extraordinarily impressive for the competitive paradigm it aims to targets premium customers seeking urban individuality and still its asking price is a reasonable RM145k.
Hot hatch profile
This C-HR is perhaps the best looking vehicle of the current Toyota stable in my opinion and shares its mechanicals with Toyota’s compact car range which is sadly not sold here in Malaysia. The lines of this Toyota crossover are perceived as unpretentious, yet the forward position of its steeply-raked windscreen emphasises its dynamic stance. The combination of its compact volumes, raised ground clearance, large-diameter wheels and sill guards will enable it to take every aspect of everyday motoring in its stride. The C-HR is sold with an original two-tone colour scheme which produces an attractive contrast between the roof and pillars and the rest of the body work.
Toyota’s bold approach to design continues inside the C-HR, where buyers will find an expressive interior that challenges traditional standards of symmetry in automotive design. The beautifully styled, asymmetric surfaces feature wave shapes and dynamic lines that twist apart and flow away from the driver. This ‘dissymmetry’ alters the conventional perception of occupant areas, creating a more pleasant environment in which to spend time. Toyota interior designers have also selected the highest quality materials and processes available to create a modern-looking and luxurious cabin. For example, a soft, highly tactile material lines the top of the dashboard and a individual design feature has been applied to the roof-line and door entry panel.
The cabin is driver oriented and driving focused. Behind the wheel, it offers class-beating adjustability to make the experience a pleasure for people of all sizes. Together with the symmetrical pedals, optimally positioned gauges and controls, it helps prevent fatigue on long drives.
The C-HR comes equipped with a DVD Player working with a 7″ Capacitive Touch Screen, there is Smartphone Connectivity, Wi-Fi, Internet Browser, Voice Recognition, HDMI, USB, Bluetooth® & a clear defined Reverse Camera.
The cabin design echoes the exteriors go-anywhere style in many ways. We liked the 3-spoked leather steering wheel and the seats that provide good padding and there is a dual zone climate control to keep you and your passengers cool.
The priority for Toyota engineers was to strike an ideal balance between ride and handling. Deputy Chief Engineer Koba took full advantage of the C-HR’s adaptable Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) C-Platform to craft an engaging character that goes well beyond just a cool appearance. The Toyota C-HR’s core driving personality incorporates the ingredients of a well-sorted sports car, one that seamlessly melds cunning responsiveness, linearity, consistency, and comfort.
Years were spent developing on-road nimbleness and ride quality on some of the world’s most curvaceous and pitted roads, including the Nürburgring Nordschleife, an iconic racing circuit set in Germany’s Eifel mountains. Doing so took a mix of innovation and trial and error, and as a result, the TNGA C-platform – with an inherent low center-of-gravity, high strength, and low weight – benefitted from extra rigidity through added spot welding, gussets, braces, and adhesives in and on key connection structures.
Feeling connected to the road is characteristic of a sporty drive, and the C-HR delivers with its column-type Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system. As is the case with other EPS systems, a tilt of the steering wheel will return light feedback at low speeds, and at higher speeds, drivers will notice stronger feedback for increased confidence while behind the wheel. The C-HR’s steering system’s feel, however, relies on a highly rigid rack-and-pinion steering gearbox that is installed directly to the front suspension. Braking is handled brilliantly by a pairing of 11.7-inch front ventilated discs with 11.1-inch rear solid discs.
The car stays firm on the road thanks to specially tuned shock absorbers, while the driving remains smooth throughout. Body stiffness has been enhanced to the benefit of the driver, eliminating negative sensations and over our harsh Petaling Jaya roads the C-HR maintains its composure with little feedback to passengers.
Toyota engineers have designed the suspension to be both forgiving and comfortable, without sacrificing agility. Bump shock rates and shock absorber rebound rates have been specially tuned.
The C-HR’s steering has been tuned to deliver a consistent and connected feeling where a light and nimble feel makes the car easy to control in busy city traffic and urban environments, reducing stress and driver fatigue. We test drove this C-HR in the city over a busy weekend. The bright two tone paint was loved by the ladies and with a full load of adults (5 total) we had no issues moving around the city and keeping up with traffic as the C-HR stirred glances from other motorists. It is after all an attractive looking SUV.
This fully imported Toyota is good looking, has 7-airbags, comes with traction control, hill start assist, electronic brake-force distribution, automatic brake hold, built to good standard with high quality paint finish and interior fitment. What more could you ask for with a price of RM145k.
Toyota C-HR Specification
Engine: 4-cylinder 16v, DOHC VVT-i
Transmission: CVT 7-speed
Max Power: 140hp @ 6400rpm
Max Torque: 171Nm @ 4000rpm
Top Speed: 210km/h