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Currently, we're inundated with what seems like an endless smorgasbord of new car choices - another new hatchback, sedan or popular crossover. The varieties are endless. Choice is great but lined up for a buffet at the Holiday Inn, your taste buds are left lingering with bland sentiments.
Thankfully, there is something a lot tastier from Toyota. So much so, it has me all excited inside. My mouth’s even salivating. Bland is out; spicy is in - introducing Toyota's newest family member, which also happens to be their best-looking member too, the crosshatch run-about, also known as, C-HR - a compact crossover.
It looks like a jewel. That's probably why the marketing team penned the phrase "diamond design motif architecture" which stands for very good-looking. More than just a phrase, every angle of the C-HR is angular, bold and almost as sparkly as a beautifully designed diamond. The compact crossover also features flared wheel arches that give the C-HR great road presence.
Toyota is launching with three C-HR models initially. Each of the derivatives is driven by a turbocharged 1.2 four-cylinder petrol unit. This is the first turbocharged petrol motor in Toyota SA’s local line-up, which happens to be a little gem of a motor. I'd comfortably say it's better than Nissan/Renault's 1.2 turbocharged option. It provides the front wheels with 85 kW and 185 N.m, that's numeric for, "more than enough get-off-your-ass-and-go” power! Toyota claims if you plant your foot flat for zero, you'll hit 100km/h 10,9 seconds. That's pretty decent.
It's not too small nor too big either. The sexy crossover measures 4 360 mm long, 1 795 mm wide and 1 555 mm high, which makes it around the same size as a Nissan Qashqai. This gives it nice proportions, making it easily translatable as a millennial's family car.
Better yet, pricing is good. The entry-level C-HR comes in at R318 500. At that price, it undercuts Nissan's Qashqai 1.2T Visia - also their entry-level model - by almost R7500.
The Plus model has added extra features to the C-HR and is mated with a slick-shifting, easy to use 6-speed manual transmission. Here are some of the Plus extras you'll find: cruise control, fog lamps and dual-zone climate control, and this baby is priced at R345 000. Driving the manual in a combined city/highway cycle, you should achieve frugal fuel figures. Toyota claims 6,3 L/100 km. Interestingly at the launch, which was mostly on the highway, we got the figure down to 5,2 L/100 km.
The range-topping model (R356 000) features the same trim level but swaps the manual gearbox for an automatic gearbox, technically referred to as a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Claimed economy for the CVT is 6,4 L/100 km.
In the future, we may also see a 1,8-litre hybrid version that is borrowed from the Prius, but – initially, at least – this does not appear to be on the cards for South Africa. What are, though, are higher spec models.
Toyota C-HR 1,2T: R318 500
Toyota C-HR 1,2T Plus: R345 000
Toyota C-HR 1,2T Plus CVT: R356 000
If the C-HR doesn't whet your appetite and you still want a compact crossover, you could consider the C-HR's direct competition, the Honda HRV or the Mazda CX-3. But if it does, Toyota SA are limited to 150 units per month. This is a small number so expect a waiting list.
All C-HR come standard a 5 year / 90 000km maintenance plan and their standard warranty.
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