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HomeFEATUREDTOYOTA C-HR 1.2T LUXURY CVT: First Drive Impressions

TOYOTA C-HR 1.2T LUXURY CVT: First Drive Impressions

If, for some reason, you are still under the outdated impression that Toyota is the middle-of-the-road, everything-to-everyone kind of brand, you haven’t been paying close attention, argues DEON VAN DER WALT after driving the newest Toyota C-HR on its local launch.

Toyota used to be the obvious buying choice when hardy blue-grey plastics and brown interiors used to be ‘fashionable’. And then through the unfailingly boxy exterior design era. And even today, Toyota remains the firm South African favourite when it comes to buying cars.
What has changed, though?

THE REAL CROSSOVER TRENDSETTER

Toyota C-HR

Well, not the mechanical reliability since we reckon it’s still likely to outlast its first owners.

One thing we noticed that has changed, though, is that somewhere along the line Toyota has stopped observing convention. Instead, the Japanese carmaker opted to shatter the metal mould and started penning cars that are interesting to look at and fun to drive.

The Toyota C-HR which first landed on local shores during the early clutches of 2017 is a prime example of this. Sure, the name doesn’t exactly inspire enthusiasm but, on the exterior front for one, it has more attention-grabbing angles to it than an Arthur Conan Doyle novel.

And now, with the launch of the C-HR 1.2T Luxury CVT, the range is taken to even greater heights in the styling department.

It features two-tone body colours that are available in white, red, silver, and blue, all of which come standard with a black roof. On the opposite end of the colour spectrum, however, the luxed-up C-HR can be specified with a black body colour that is accompanied by a contrasting white roof.

On the lighting front, it has smoked tail-light clusters, fog lamps and LED Daytime Running Lights that are all fitted as standard niceties.

DRIVING C-HR

Toyota C-HR

It retains the 1.2-litre turbocharged engine with the same power specifications as the rest of the range, producing 85 kW and 185 Nm of torque. While it won’t get you to the craft beer tasting any more briskly than either the base or Plus derivatives, it will be a reasonably comfortable drive there with the CVT automatic gearbox.

Despite some negative press about these gearboxes – some of which are often warranted – in the C-HR, it felt as responsive as can be expected coupled to the small turbo-breather engine.

On the launch route between Rosebank and Pretoria, it freely swapped between cogs during relaxed driving, it was only during situations where some right-pedalled encouragement was needed that it wavered in its mechanical duties. Still, the C-HR will likely spend its days in city confines, and here it does exactly what it’s supposed to do.

Unfortunately, though, CVT is the only way to go since no manual gearboxes are on the horizon for this derivative.

FEATURE-RICH

Toyota C-HR

The 1.2 Luxury is also stocked to the brim with a series of features and functions that set it apart from its stablemates. For tight city spaces, there’s the Park Distance Control that works in unison with Toyota’s Intelligent Park Assist system that not only measures a parking space, but also takes care of the manoeuvring job.

It also comes standard with stop-start functionality and leather-wrapped seats while a touchscreen infotainment system with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, navigation and a reverse camera come as standard equipment across the range.

LAST WORD

At R422,100, the range-topping C-HR offers good value for money, since you’d be hard-pressed to find this number of nice-to-haves in and around this price bracket. It’s also charismatic and will even preserve its resale value reasonably well since it wears the much-loved Toyota badge.

If there was only the luxury of choice on the powertrain front, though.

Report by DEON VAN DER WALT | Images © TOYOTA SOUTH AFRICA

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