Subtle updates fettle Toyota’s funky C-HR into an even greater attraction

Just a few years ago, sexy crossovers like this Toyota C-HR did not exist. Today it’s a very different world and C-HR must compete in among the hardest-fought niches in the motor industry. One that calls for carmakers to be daring. Toyota succeeded from the get-go with C-HR. And now it’s gone another step forward too.


If this C-HR looks different, well that’s because it is. That bolder, more handsome new look heralds C-HR’s midlife nip and tuck. To keep the funky Toyota just that necessary head and shoulders above the rest. And it’s not just the nose that went under the knife to cut that wider, larger, lower grille out. It sits atop a new body colour spoiler lip between fog lamps shifted upward and outward in taller side vents.

Add premium DRL projector LED projector headlight tech. A gloss black spoiler links the brighter red tail lamps too. So this baby now looks even that much more the part. C-HR also gains Toyota Safety Sense along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

C-HR continues with the engine that proved the revelation of the original car. The little 85 kW 185 Nm 1.2-litre turbo petrol four-pot was a huge step forward for Toyota. It finally replaced the market leader’s dated naturally aspirated tech. The downsized turbo turns Toyota’s slick and smooth CVT in our grey test unit. As a genre, CVTs are not our favourite gearbox, but this one is among the better of them.


The little power plant certainly was worth the wait. It performs so well you’d be forgiven for thinking that it actually was the 2.1-litre lump out of the RAV4. It runs jus as well too. Especially at Reef altitudes where it easily outguns those dirty old tech engines. Talking fuel C-HR sips 6.3 litres per hundred kilometres at 141 g/km CO2. Slightly better than the pre-facelift car, interestingly enough, but lagging a touch versus some rivals.

If the engine did not need any fettling, this latest C-HR certainly packs a lot of other novelty. Starting with a re-tuned electronic power steering brings a more balanced and much improved feel. And an enhanced noise, vibration and harshness pack not only beings improved refinement, but significantly dulls cabin noise too. Our sample C-HR comes with 18” turbine-shape alloys.

This top-end luxury version stretches as far as Toyota’s most recent fad — a blacked-out roof. We think its pretty cool too.


A little lighter then before inside, funky is a good word to describe this car’s cabin. The tech savvy buyer will also be happy to learn that C-HR now packs Toyota’s very latest infotainment techn. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirrors onto a bigger 20cm infotainment screen. It’s backed by a new 10 cm Multi-info Display among the dials too.

So, that opens up a whole new world of mobile connectivity options. From music streaming to navigation solutions and all form of in-car entertainment. And all Toyotas of course now come equipped with Toyota Connect. That includes a complimentary 15 gig in car Wi-Fi allocation, vehicle telematics and enhanced MyToyota app user features. All of which has just been broadened to include streaming and other personal use advantages too.

Another key step forward in this lifecycle refresh comes in the way of additional safety specific across the range. Starting with side, curtain and driver knee airbags in addition to the front driver and passenger units. And rear seatbelt force limiters and pre-tensioners. Add the full Toyota Safety Sense suite from Blind Spot Monitoring to Lane Change Assist. And Rear Cross Traffic Alert a Pre-crash system and Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Keeping Assist.


One area where C-HR may be open to criticism is a small boot. But we managed to move two sets of 17″ racing wheels and tyres around with no trouble at all. Just pop the read bench down and it becomes a faux van.

Not that it never defined itself as different. The rather un-Toyota C-HR is now even classier, better equipped and more attractive. Most of all, C-HR is a Toyota. So not only do you stand out in style driving one, but it comes with all those plusses and virtues. Which make a Toyota, well a Toyota in the South African market. – Michele Lupini

Images – Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Toyota C-HR 1.2 Luxury
Engine: 95 kW 185 Nm 1198cc turbo petrol I4
Drive: CVT automatic FWD
0-60km/h:         4.69sec
0-100km/h:        10.84 sec
0-160km/h:        29.71 sec
400m:             17.3 sec @ 121 km/h
80-120km/h:       7.03 sec
120-160km/h:      14.74 sec
VMax:             185 km/h
Fuel:             6.3 l/100km
CO2:              141 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y 100K/6-service 90K km
LIST PRICE:       R519K
RATED:            8
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