Toyota C-HR Touches South African soil

Toyota C-HR Touches South African soil

The totally impressive Toyota C-HR has entered the South African market and everyone wants to know more and drive this SUV newcomer.

This car is more than just a Toyota crossover; the design and engineering of the car are what brings out the best out of it.


For a brand that has been known for its conservative offerings, the C-HR, which stands for Coupe High-Rider, simply does not conform to Toyota’s styling conventions. There is definitely something to be said about how bold the designers have been with the exterior looks. It is really very similar to the concept in terms of its actual form.

Up front, there’s no mistaking the Toyota corporate face with references to the RAV4 and Prius, while in side profile, it looks positively alien with a swooping door line which drops towards the rear, creating a coupe-esque profile. The rear-end meanwhile droops so much that the door handles are located at the top of the door within the C-pillar. That wilting rear-end does mean that rear passenger space is not ideal, though not entirely unpleasant.

Looking at the car from the rear, the protruding light clusters and flared lower bumper gives it an impression of width, creating a sportier look. The word ‘fluid surfaces’ used by Toyota is one marketing term that actually encapsulates the overall design very well indeed.

Interior crossover

The exterior is flamboyant while the interior is certainly not traditional Toyota, it is more restrained. The entire car is centred on a diamond shape theme and diamond motifs around the cockpit.

Besides this, the rest of the interior is quite traditional with dark materials, glossy black plastics and cloth seats, all of which find favour over-the-top interiors seen in crossovers previously. Build quality is solid with an upmarket feel to the switchgear and components.

The general ergonomics are functional and all seem to draw you attention to the infotainment system which features USB, iPod, Bluetooth and CD/DVD compatibility.

The interior is simple as compared to other cars whose cabs are too edgy in the pursuit of being modern, resulting in the final product becoming compromised in terms of functionality.


The C-HR, has the latest 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine that works well with the CVT.

The little motor has a modest 85kW/185Nm on offer, yet there is minimal lag and good overtaking power with either the six-speed manual or CVT. Fuel consumption is claimed at 6.3-litres/100km for the manual and 6.4-litres/100km for the CVT, however on our test route, that figure was closer to 8.0-litres/100km.

Driving impression and local spec

The combination of a peppy powertrain, a solid platform courtesy of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) and a well-tuned chassis makes the C-HR a fun car to drive.

Speaking of spec, all models have 17-inch wheels, two airbags, ABS, USB port, traction and stability control, electric windows and cloth upholstery to name but a few. It’s safe to say that Toyota has come in with a more cost-effective line-up.

The C-HR is a step in the right direction for Toyota. As a brand with such popular products and already established customer base, I feel it is important for them to venture (pardon the archaic pun) into a new segment that appeals to more youthful buyers. The C-HR is certainly a car for this generation, it is refined, looks good, is built well, and has the right powertrain.


C-HR 1.2T – R318 500

C-HR 1.2T Plus – R345 000

C-HR 1.2T Plus CVT – R356 000

Warranty and service plan

All C-HR’s come with a five year/90 000 km service plan and a three year/100 000 km warranty as standard.

Desh Bechan