The brand new Toyota C-HR small crossover launched in Australia today, with the express mission of “disrupting” a segment led by the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V despite severely restricted supply out of Japan.
Aggressively styled, turbocharged and spun-off Toyota’s more dynamically engaging new architecture, the C-HR is a case of ‘better late than never’ for Australia’s biggest brand.
Global demand well above supply means the Japanese factory is maxing out, limiting Australia’s supply to 6000 units this year — about one-third of what the CX-3 will manage.
This has led Toyota Australia to limit the C-HR range to two variants, both well-specified with ample active safety technologies and pitched upmarket. There’s no $20k base variant here. However, two- and all-wheel drive, plus manual and automatic transmissions, will be offered.
The price kicks off at $26,990 plus on-road costs for the base manual. A CVT auto adds $2000, as does the CVT-only AWD system. Stepping up to the Koba spec level adds $4300. This means the Koba AWD CVT tops out at $35,290, and is expected to account for about half of C-HR sales.
Toyota says that 83 per cent of petrol-powered small crossovers sold in Australia last year were level-two specification or above (meaning above the base variant such as the CX-3 Neo and HR-V VTi), justifying its decision to focus at this end of the segment.
Reflecting the C-HR’s younger-buyer focus, it also has a plethora of accessories (pictured below in red), second only to HiLux, and eight colours with the option of a contrasting roof for $450. It’s also the first Toyota to get five years of capped-price servicing, with superior new 12-month/15,000km intervals, at $195 a pop.
So, what’s under that aggressive and polarising — high-shouldered, concave and angular — skin?
Power comes from a new 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 85kW of power and 185Nm of torque from 1500rpm. It features direct-injection, an exhaust manifold integrated in the cylinder-head and advanced heat management, including a water-cooled turbo and intercooler.
Gearboxes are a six-speed manual with rev-matching, or a CVT with stepped ratios for $2000. The front-biased on-demand AWD is auto-only and a $2000 option. Fuel use is from 6.3L/100km on 95 RON.
Toyota’s rigid and light new TNGA platform that premiered on the new Prius gets its first use in a crossover model. This is the reason for the delayed launch, given development started in 2010. Toyota opted to hold this development until it had the new architecture ready.
Up front is MacPherson strut front suspension while at the rear is a double-wishbone setup, while the turning circle is 10.4m.
Despite the aggressive looks, the C-HR isn’t tiny. It’s bigger than a Suzuki Vitara and even a Corolla, similar to the Nissan Qashqai, and about the same as the previous-generation RAV4. Dimensions are 4360mm long, 1795mm wide, 1565mm high and has a 2640mm wheelbase.
Interior space is similar to Corolla, offering 377 litres of luggage space along with a 60/40 split-fold rear seat. It’s no HR-V, but it’s not as impractical as its looks suggest.
Keep an eye out for our 2017 Toyota C-HR review, coming soon.
C-HR 2WD manual $26,990
C-HR 2WD CVT $28,990
C-HR AWD CVT $30,990
C-HR Koba 2WD CVT $33,290
C-HR Koba AWD CVT $35,290
C-HR FWD manual
C-HR FWD CVT
C-HR AWD CVT (in addition to FWD CVT features)
C-HR Koba spec FWD & AWD CVT (in addition to standard C-HR features)