2017 Toyota C-HR Road Test and Review…
Toyota’s latest small SUV, the C-HR, has been one of the surprises of the year for me… surprising in its boppy, hip good-looks, but even more, in how much I enjoyed my time with it.
Remember when Toyota had the reputation for building high quality but somewhat bland cars?
They were reliable, went forever, cheap to run… but lacked charisma.
There’s been a change in recent times.
The C-HR takes that fashion statement to a new level, eye-catching and remarkably practical.
Those sweeping lines are somewhat Renault-esque, and Toyota has named it “diamond” architecture.
Whatever you call it, I find the looks appealing, while the hidden rear door handles give the car the appearance of a coupe – albeit a rather tall one, and that height makes access and exit much easier, especially in tight parking spaces.
Finish in the top of the range Toyota C-HR Koba model I tested was outstanding.
The stitched leather-look dash covering, piano gloss finishes near the cup holders and gear lever, and soft plastics in contrasting colours, gave the cabin an upmarket feel.
The seats are another welcome surprise… they look amazing and more than that, they’re comfortable! What more could you ask?
Interior space is similar to Corolla with room for 4 adults, and the boot is surprisingly spacious for a small SUV – 377 litres of available storage, along with a 60/40 split-fold rear seat.
Driving position is good, the cabin feels spacious, and the infotainment system works well, although I did find the controls, situated on either side of the screen, a bit fiddly to use…better not to try it while on the move.
The car is well thought out. Cup holders all over the place, inside the door panels as well as the centre console.
The parking brake automatically releases when the gear lever is moved from Park to Reverse or Drive – not earth-shattering, but handy – and all C-HR models come with a comprehensive list of safety features.
These include a pre-collision safety system, active cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure alert with steering assist, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert…the list goes on.
I wondered what to expect from a 1.2 litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which produces maximum power of 85kW.
It’s no ball of fire, that’s for sure.
And yet, it only took a few minutes for me to become accustomed to the engine and the accompanying CVT transmission.
The fuel economy is ok, and in Eco mode, Toyota says the C-HR can deliver a combined cycle petrol consumption of 6.3 litres/100km.
I also quickly acclimatised to the car’s handling, delivered via MacPherson strut front and double-wishbone rear suspensions.
It is a small SUV, so don’t expect go-kart style cornering, but the car’s rigidity and low centre of gravity ensure pleasant enough motoring.
You might be like my Behind the Wheel colleague Chris Miller who is no fan of small SUVs.
He is unimpressed by their road holding and what he calls their bouncy ride, even questioning whether there’s any point to them at all.
However, Australians have for the first time bought more SUVs than passenger cars, so they seem to be here to stay.
And if the 2017 Toyota C-HR meets your requirements in the hotly contested small SUV market segment, take one for a test drive.
You might be as surprised as I was at how good it is.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Toyota C-HR
Engine: 1.2 litre turbo-petrol producing 85kW/185Nm
Transmission: CVT auto only
Safety: Five stars
Price: C-HR Koba from $33,290 (2WD) and $35,290 (AWD)