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02 Mar 2018

What We Dislike
Not enough power
Compromised rear legroom
Not your typical Toyota

From its design to its powertrain, and its dynamic behaviour to the entire concept, the Toyota C-HR is unordinary in so many ways.

Ah, the Toyota C-HR. This car has been quite a long time coming. First shown at last year's Singapore Motor Show, the C-HR has been getting a lot of buzz, largely due to its sharp, bold looks, we reckon. Parallel Importers (PI) have already been selling the C-HR for months now (albeit the hybrid variant), but this particular one comes from Toyota Authorised Dealer Borneo Motors.

The C-HR's rather busy exterior design is best admired from afar

What's the difference?

The most obvious difference is the drivetrain. This one has a turbocharged 1.2-litre engine (as opposed to the 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain in the PI variant), which produces 114bhp and 185Nm of torque. It's not particularly powerful, and you do have to give it some extra gas to get moving (the car does weigh 1,440kg). However, once on the go, acceleration comes a little more easily, thanks to the continuously-variable transmission.

For a crossover, the C-HR drives quite well. The problem with several of these compact crossovers is that the ride tends to be too crashy. The ride in the C-HR, however, is well-damped. While firm, it is definitely still pliant, soaking up bumps better than many of its competitors.

The steering also feels notably different from other Toyotas we've driven. Toyota cars tend to always have extremely light steering, but in the C-HR it's notably heavier, offering better feel on the roads. The overall driving sensation (less the engine) feels more grown up, and almost European. 

The car's compact design means that rear legroom is compromised

It's a good-looking car, yeah?

Well, yes and no. The car's looks is probably its most divisive quality. From up far, yes we do agree that it looks quite striking, and even good-looking. However, this falls apart when you come up close and personal with the car. It's all just too busy, a collection of sharp lines, curved sheet metal and pointy bits that never feel fully connected or congruous.

How does it fare as far as practicality is concerned?

This is where the C-HR definitely runs into some problems. The biggest issue is with space, especially at the rear. It feels pretty narrow and cramped, more compact hatchback than compact crossover
Also, because of the car's design and the sloping roofline, the rear door cavity is quite tight. Even for an average 1.7m-tall Singaporean guy, this writer had to dip his head just to slide into the rear seats. The door also doesn't open quite wide enough to allow easy entry and exit. Boot space? 316 litres. Not particularly impressive, either. 

The car is very well-equipped, though, especially in this Luxury trim level. You get a pretty comprehensive suite of equipment and safety technologies. The C-HR is equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense P package, which includes Lane Departure Alert, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam, and Pre-collision System.

The C-HR comes equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense P Package

How does it stack up to the competition?

It turns out that the C-HR isn't as bad as we thought it would be. It's pretty well-equipped, and drives better than we expected. That said, it's still not the best crossover out there - there are just too many compromises (space being the key one).

However, what's most striking about the C-HR is how unordinary it is, compared to any other Toyota. Everything about it feels strangely 'un-Toyota', in both good and bad ways. It looks radically different from anything else in the Toyota lineup, it drives quite differently, and the level of equipment is also quite different. And yet, it also lacks the intuitive daily usability and practicality that you'd commonly associate with a Toyota.

Toyota is banking on the C-HR's striking looks and engaging drive to reach out to a new group of buyers

The big issue then, is how the typical Toyota owner will take to this car. Not too well, we suspect. It's not a car that speaks to what we'd term 'typical Toyota sensibilities'. It's a car that wants to reach out to a new group of buyers by embracing its unordinariness. Will it work? Well, only time will tell.
Car Information
This model is no longer being sold by local distributors


: -

Engine Type


4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC Turbocharged with VVT-iW

Engine Cap





85kW (114 bhp) / 5600 rpm



185 Nm / 4000 rpm



7-speed (A) CVT

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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