The compact crossover market has been growing for the last few years. Manufacturers like Honda, Mazda, Jeep, and Kia have all had something to offer in this segment. Toyota, however, has remained silent. Their answer is the new C-HR. The C-HR stands for Coupe High Rider and with the wild styling of the car, Toyota has managed to design something that has a lot of presence on the road for its size. The C-HR slots perfectly between the RAV4 and the Corolla.
Exteriors - Toyota has taken a radical approach to the C-HR’s styling especially at the rear. The raked windshield, C-shaped taillights along with the roof spoiler give it a lot of character. The strong lines and curves scream for attention. The C-HR is aimed at millennials with its angular styling, beefy wheel arches, and black cladding all around. It gets LED DRLs and projectors at the front. At the rear the sloping roofline makes it look like a coupe while the 18-inch dual tone alloy wheels give it a sporty appeal.
Interiors - The quirky character of C-HR is followed inside too with the titled dashboard and the diamond shaped buttons. The cabin gets an all-black treatment along with piano-black inserts on the steering wheel. The interior feels premium with the soft-touch plastics on the dashboard. The front seats are wide and comfortable. On the equipment front the car features a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with six speakers. The newer model also gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Other features include a dual-zone climate control system along with heated front seats. The reverse parking camera is displayed on the top mounted rear view mirror while the outside rear view mirrors are electrically adjustable and foldable. It also gets an electric parking brake with auto-hold function.
The door bins are large and there are two cupholders. The central storage bin can is roomy and so is the glovebox. At the rear, it gets only one USB port. There is not enough headroom and under-thigh support is lacking. It also misses out on an armrest. The legroom is average but sitting three passengers will be a squeeze. However, the passengers may feel claustrophobic with the high-set window line. The boot is generous at 538-litres but is hindered by a high loading lip.
Performance - Powering this radical crossover is a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder Valve Matic petrol engine producing 144 HP and 189 Nm of torque. While the specs may look good on paper, on the road it's a whole different story. There is good punch in the low and mid ranges however in the top end, it just doesn’t move. The rubber band effect from the 6-step CVT transmission doesn’t help it either. You can also take charge of the gears by jumping into manual mode. Speaking of modes there are three driving modes- ECO, Sport and Normal. As the name suggests the ECO mode improves mileage in exchange for performance. The sport mode, on the other hand, improves performance trading mileage. Toyota claims a mileage of 11 km/l in the city and 13 km/l on the highway.
Driving Dynamics - Power is channeled to the front wheels only. The ride quality is pretty good. Its noisy but soaks up bumps fairly well. The handling, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. It is stable at higher speeds but the light steering and softer suspension doesn’t connect the driver to the drive. The brakes are soggy but the tyres offer good grip around corners.
Safety and After Sales Service - The Toyota C-HR has scored an impressive 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It has become one of the safest cars on road with the help of 10 airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control along with Traction Control. One can also opt for the Safety Sense package to get features such as Active Cruise Control, pre-collision warning along with automatic braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and steering assist. All this along with Toyota’s remarkable reliability and good after-sales service network makes the C-HR a winner in this category.
Verdict - If you are in the market for a safe and good looking crossover then the C-HR has to be on your list. However, if performance and features are something you take seriously then you should look somewhere else. Its a good daily car with an attractive design but losses out on practicality. The C-HR hasn't been launched in India yet but if it does come here, it'll be a niche product.