FIRST DRIVE | 2020 Toyota C-HR gets new shades and more toys
Buyers in the market for a crossover or sport-utility vehicle are not short of options. Nearly every manufacturer has representation in this burgeoning space. Conversely, the sedan, once the go-to vehicle, is seeing a slow and sad demise.
In light of this, Toyota opted to give its C-HR a customary refresh in a bid to stay to the fore of shoppers’ minds in a constantly evolving market. It feels like yesterday that the brand introduced the C-HR to the world, though that was nearly four years ago.
Its edgy design was a breath of fresh air in the category from day one. You will need to get up close and personal to inspect the touch-ups to the 2020 model. They are of the standard, mild cosmetic variety — tweaks to the lights and bumpers add a slightly sharper air to proceedings. Two new shades were added to the palette: “inferno orange” and “oxide bronze”.
Luckily, the athletic appearance translates meaningfully on the road, too. The wizards at the Japanese automaker fiddled with the steering set-up in the C-HR. The outcome is a more responsive tiller and improved feedback. This, combined with a fairly well-resolved suspension, makes for an enjoyable drive and an overall premium feel. The components beneath the C-HR’s bonnet have remained unchanged.
You still get a 1.2-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit (85kW and 185Nm), with either six-speed manual or continuously-variable transmission (CVT). In the latter, two-pedal choice, the combination works well, the engine throwing a solid punch for its size.
A simple button to switch through driving modes would have been welcomed, rather than flipping through the menu on the instrument cluster. Aside from surface-level enhancements, specification has been bolstered. The full range (comprising three trim grades) is now equipped with LED headlamps and the infotainment offering gains Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, as well as the Toyota Connect suite of services, which includes in-car Wi-Fi.
A larger multimedia screen looks at home in what has always been a cabin with a decidedly upmarket feel. The starter and middle-range models gain curtain, side and driver knee airbags, while the top-level Luxury version is kitted with blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and a pre-crash safety system.
Even before the subtle refresh, the C-HR boasted the right stuff to take the fight to chief rivals, such as the Nissan Qashqai (from R368,100), Mazda CX-3 (from R315,400), Honda HR-V (from R376,700) and Hyundai Creta (from R364,900). Aesthetic appeal and impressive refinement are its biggest trump cards.
Pricing is par for the course. The range begins at R371,700, with the Plus at R403,000, the Plus CVT at R415, 100 and the range-topping Luxury at R476,600.