The Hit and Miss SUV – Toyota C-HR

The Toyota C-HR has been a long awaited SUV to arrive to local shores since it was first showcased at the 2014 Paris Motor show as a Concept. It took a while for it to go into production after it garnered some rave reviews by the motoring world. Toyota Malaysia brought in the C-HR for distribution last year and it took a while for the model to get the people to desire for it. One of the more underrated models in Toyota’s line-up, we’ve decided to take the C-HR out for a spin.

The Toyota C-HR is a busy looking car. Plenty of crisscrossing lines around the car also splits the opinions of people to either love the SUV or loathe it. The headlights and taillights are conventional halogens, though the fronts are a bit too centralized, which could be a little tricky around bends when driving in the dark or twisty roads. However, the triple LEDs do the trick to enhance the look of the car. As for the wheels and tyres, the C-HR comes with 215/60 R17 tyres that provides a rather decent grip.

The interior of the C-HR is given a diamond-look pattern, for example the front part of the roof liner has a diamond shaped indent imprinted on it, while the dashboard is surrounded by soft touch materials. Reach to the bottom of the dash and door panels, you get hardened materials. The driver stares at an integrated 6.75” head unit that only comes with Mirrorlink. From 2019 onwards, the Toyota C-HR does come with Android Auto and arPlay as standard. At just below the head unit is the climate control switches, in diamond-accented buttons.

Sitting on the front driver seats, the perforated leather is very soft and seating position is comfy and snuggly, there’s ample leg and back support. Grip on the leather wrapped steering isn’t too shabby at all, to go with its diamond-accented design. The instrument cluster is an analogue speedometer and tachometer, fitted with a 4.2” Multi-Information Display. It’s easy to read and crystal clear.

The center console of the Toyota C-HR is what the reviewer’d describe as minimalistic. Apart from the small storage area under the armrest, other storage compartment in the center console is very limited, it only houses two cup holders and not much. There are side pockets by the doors for additional small items storage.

Rear seats of the C-HR are rather spacious, but due to the high shoulder line and small C-pillar window, the rear of this compact SUV feels a little claustrophobic. Head- and Leg-room is okay but shoulder room is somewhat limited especially when you have three adults. The boot space is also rather limited due to the C-HR’s Coupe-like silhouette and the slated rear windscreen, but who needs to put things at the back when you have a fun car to prowl with. If you do need extra boot space, you could fold down the seats.

The standard safety list on the C-HR is plenty: 7 airbags, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, 2 Rear ISOFIX points, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. Toyota also provides a DVR system as standard to keep an extra eye on the road in case of accidents.

The C-HR is powered by a 1.8l inline 4 engine that produces 140PS at 6,400rpm and 171Nm at 4,000rpm mated to a 7 virtual speed CVT transmission. The engine has sufficient power to bring the car up to speed, but make sure you keep your drive at leisure as the engine would start to feel sluggish whenever you floor it suddenly. The CVT while is smooth,it further dampens the power delivery from the engine to the wheels.

Handling is the saving grace for the C-HR from the mediocre drivetrain. The C-HR comes with front McPherson strut and rear double wishbone suspension. The setup is good as it constantly keeps all 4 wheels on the road during corners, while still manages to keep the car’s body roll in check even for an SUV. The suspension is able to iron out the uneven roads with ease. Meantime, the electrical power steering provides sufficient front wheel feedback which gives you confidence when cornering.

Braking is decent for the size of the C-HR. The 4 wheel disc brakes are easy to modulate and able to bring the car to a stop with ease. When cruising, the C-HR is very good in keeping the outside noise away from anyone inside the car. The front and rear parking sensors are a little sensitive, they activate when you’re driving during traffic jam. You could switch it off in the settings of the instrument cluster, but a separate on/off button would be appreciated.

The C-HR is considered a hit and miss because the car has a very in your face kind of exterior. The driving, however, did not really go hand in hand with its masculine exterior. With such a reliable chassis along with rather underrated handling, if they had included a 1.2 turbo or a hybrid powertrain then it would have been a whole different story. Considering you’re paying RM150,000, it is quite a lot of money for ‘not a lot of car’. You do get 5 years/unlimited mileage warranty coverage with the price you pay. There are 6 exciting colors to choose: White Pearl, Attitude Black Mica, Red Mica with Black Roof, Blue Metallic with Black Roof, Radiant Green Metallic with Black Roof and our test car’s Metal Stream Metallic.