This Car Review Is About: The 2019 Toyota C-HR. It can be seen as an alternative companion to the RAV4. Alternative because it’s a different option, companion becuase it’s a five door SUV that seats five. It’s a two-model range, with the Koba as the other entry. Under The Bonnet Is: A turbocharged 1.2L petrol engine. There is a manual transmission or CVT for the entry level, CVT only in the Koba. Opt for the CVT and it’s front wheel or all wheel drive for a choice. Peak power is 85kW between 5,200rpm to 5,600rpm. Torque is a bit more useable, with 185 of them between 1,500rpm and 4,000rpm. Economy is quoted as 6.3L/100km on the combined cycle. On our urban drive we saw a best of 7.4L, and a worse of 7.9L/100km. Recommended fuel is 95RON. There is no paddle shift in the base model, just the transmission selector for manual shifting.What’s It Cost?: Toyota’s website says the 2WD starts from around $30, 500 in Hornet Yellow. Head to a metallic colour and that goes to just over $31K. The AWD will start from around $34,700. You’ll get a five year and unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing can be booked via the myToyota app.
On The Inside Is: A reasonable amount of standard equipment and safety features for the ask. It starts with something basic but useable in the shape ofI an auto dimming rear vision mirror. There are auto headlights, dual zone aircon, but no DAB in the overly boomy audio system. The 6.1inch touchscreen system has a CD to make up for the lack of digital radio, plus USB & Bluetooth connectivity. Satnav and voice activation are also standard is the ToyotaLink app function.SafetySense is the name Toyota give to their suite of driver aids, and the C-HR has Lane Departure Warning, Auto High Beam, Blind Spot Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Autonomous Emergency Braking and Active Cruise Control are standard as well, as are seven airbags.Trim material in the C-HR is black and black. This may make the interior somewhat claustrophobic for some, as there is a hunchbacked look thanks to the rear window line being steeply sloped. There is some triangular shaped embossing in the roof lining which matches the interior light above the manually operated front seats and mirrors the rear light design. For the driver there is a sense of having their own office space. the dash sweeps around from the window to the centre stack, and this faces towards the driver’s seat. Trim here is of a piano black and there’s some smartly integrated buttons for the aircon controls.
On The Outside It’s: Not unpleasing but definitely one example of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is down to the profile. The rear roof line slopes dramatically forward from the tail lights, which can compromise interior headspace for taller people. There’s a huge roof-lip spoiler too, which in the Hornet Yellow is noticeable. The wheel arches and guard are pumped out from the body and these are defined by strong crease lines coming down from the windscreen and rear window.
Overall length is 4,360mm, with a wheelbase of 2,640mm. Height is 1,565mm and width is 1,795mm.
The rear doors have a severe upwards kink to meet the roofline which means it looks like boot space is compromised. However, there’s enough boot space to house a week’s shopping for a family of four. It’s a high floor though, meaning a bit more of a lift to get items in. The front end bears (bore) a striking resemblance to the now outgoing RAV4 and features a triangular LED driving light cluster inside the angular headlight design. Alloys are 17 inch in size and on the C-HR have a design that somehow emphasizes the spinning when underway.
On The Road It’s: One of the few vehicles with a CVT that benefits from using the “manual” part of the gear selector. Programmed with seven ratios to mimic a standard auto, it’s far more responsive to using it manually. Use the C-HR in auto and it becomes what a 1.2L engine suggests. It suggests nothing special, it suggests sluggish, needing a heavy right foot. Move the lever to the right, pull back for M1, hit the go pedal, and tip forward for upshifts, and it comes alive. Forward movement seems to have far more sizzle and pizzaz than leaving the transmission to do it all by itself.Changes are swift, crisp, and really allow the driver to take advantage of the torque delivery.The engine itself is quiet though, with no audible appeal and neither is there anything at the exhaust’s end to suggest anything exciting. No rasp, no fizz, no….well, anything.
Ride quality though is average at best. The MacPherson strut front seems indecisive; should I be soft or should I bang on bumps? The steering rack didn’t help. There would be input at the same velocities having more response than others. The trailing arm double wishbone rear end also had issues, with a harder than expected setup banging away on otherwise normally non-intrusive bumps. On the road the steering feel is numb. There’s no real sense of communication from the front and although it’s not a guess where it’s pointing proposition, it doesn’t really provide a chance to converse with the front either. The Bridgestone Dueler rubber wasn’t a fan of the wet too. The front end had noticeable push-on understeer on wet roads, meaning that throttle usage had to be carefully weighed up. The AWD mode is automatic, meaning the driver can’t select any drive mode at all. There is a graphic for the driver that’s displayed on the 4.2 inch driver’s display screen. It’s a combination G-Force and drive apportion graphic, and a hard launch shows the drive being sent to the rear wheels and easing off in conjunction with the accelerator being eased off.
At The End Of The Drive: The C-HR is, for AWT, a conundrum. It’s a vehicle that offers an alternative but at the point of being why so. The RAV4 does everything the C-HR does and now offers a hybrid. But in terms of market alternatives Toyota have to have something that competes against what Mazda, Hyundai, Nissan et al have. the problem here is that the C-HR is a case of doing nothing terribly bad, it simply doesn’t do anything outrageously special. Make up your own mind here.