Toyota’s C-HR recently received a substantial facelift and we were lucky enough to spend two days in the Western Cape testing it.
On the outside, the visual changes are easy to recognise. The lower lip of the front bumper is now body-coloured and both the lower air dam and side air intakes are larger. The headlights on standard and Plus models have been upgraded to premium LED units with daytime running lights. At the rear, the new bright red tail lamps are connected by a gloss black spoiler creating a single clean shape. These changes fit in well with the overall design, which we have to say, still looks exceptional. The C-HR is a striking thing, even now, four years after it first made its debut. It might even be the best looking car in its segment.
The 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine is carried over. It delivers 85kW and 185Nm of torque and can be mated to a six-speed manual or CVT gearbox. Toyota claims a combined fuel consumption figure of just 6.3 litres/100km on the combined cycle.
The only models available for the test drive were the Luxury CVT. A few years ago a CVT gearbox would have ruined the experience, but it works perfectly well in this application. It does what any decent gearbox should – blend into the background well enough so you don’t even notice it. There’s ample power for overtaking and it accelerates briskly off the line in town. Job well done.
But this facelift is more than just a style upgrade. Toyota says the upgrades also include a EPS tune for improved steering feel, as well as an upgraded NVH pack to reduce cabin noise. I never drove the pre-facelift model so I can’t comment on whether it feels any different, but I can tell you that the steering is precise and that noise levels are pleasantly low on the inside.
I also liked the quality of the interior. The touch-points are top-quality and go a long way towards justifying the seemingly steep asking price. It’s likely the best interior in that specific category and it’s now equipped with the one thing Toyota’s have always been lacking – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
That’s right, folks. The new C-HR debuts a new OEM-sourced multimedia system that upgrades Toyota’s connectivity offer.
As part of the multimedia upgrade, the screen size has been enlarged to eight inches. All Toyota models come equipped with Toyota Connect, including a complimentary 15 Gb in-car Wi-Fi allocation, vehicle telematics and enhanced user features via the MyToyota app.
I connected my phone to the Wi-Fi hotspot and used it for navigation and streaming. It’s a brilliant system and I reckon many people will be persuaded to sign on the dotted line purely because of the C-HR’s newer, modern interior and all the goodies that go with it.
Toyota also chose this opportunity to add some additional safety specification across the range. The standard and Plus grades receive side, curtain and driver knee airbags – in addition to the front driver and passenger units – while rear seatbelt force limiters and pre-tensioners have been added to the standard grade derivative.
The flagship Luxury grade model inherits a complete suite of electronic driver safety aids in the form of the Toyota Safety Sense system. These are made up of Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Lane Change Assist (LCA), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Pre-crash system, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Keeping Assist.
The Standard and Plus models are available in six exterior shades, including newly-available Inferno Orange and Oxide Bronze metallic hues. The Luxury grade is exclusively offered in bi-tone configuration – with Passion Red, Nebula Blue and Inferno Orange being the latest tints on offer – all paired with a black roof.
All C-HR models are sold with a 6-services/90 000 km service plan (intervals set at 15 000 km) and 3-year/100 000km warranty. Customers can also purchase a variety of service and/or warranty add-ons at their local dealership.
Toyota C-HR 1.2T – R 371 700
Toyota C-HR 1.2T Plus – R 403 000
Toyota C-HR 1.2T Plus CVT – R 415 100
Toyota C-HR 1.2T Luxury CVT – R 476 600