The small sub-compact SUV segment has always been competitive in Bangladesh. In a country where people are biased towards Toyota, the introduction of the CH-R in the market is not a surprise but it surely is making the citizens scratch their head over the unorthodox body language. In this issue, we find out how the CH-R is holding up and what it has to offer.
Exterior and design
To keep this review relevant, we are taking into account the 2017 C-HR as it is more prone to end up in the reconditioned markets. The C-HR received a slight facelift in 2019 but there were no significant changes apart from a fog light replacement and taillights with a slightly different light pattern. With that out of the way, the highlight of the C-HR is the funky, unorthodox exterior design. Sporting a steeply raked roofline with an exuberant over-sized spoiler at the back, hidden door handles, huge, inflated arch lines, and an angry-looking front fascia that almost represents a stormtrooper helmet, thus, the C-HR does not fail to stand out in regular traffic. Perhaps, the C-HR is Toyota’s answer to the Nissan Juke, Honda Vezel, Audi Q2, and many more cars in this “sub-urban-small-city-compact-SUV” category. Do the fancy words for the category make sense? Well, if the car is good and gets you from point A to point B safely, then sure more words are welcome.
Specification and Features
The C-HR comes with only two options to choose from. A 1.2L Turbo bearing 114HP or a 1.8L Hybrid which bears 122HP. Having the hybrid version in Dhaka traffic would be the right choice due to the funereal speeds a car has to be driven on regular days excluding rush hours. The 1.2L does not do a bad job either but the hybrid system on the 1.8L makes it more suitable for traffic. The CH-R also comes with tons of features such as satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control, and seats with enlarged bolsters that look like racing seats along with an impressive safety suite taking in autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, a reversing camera, and more. Go a trim up (codenamed Koba), and you will get 18-inch alloys and heated leather seats with powered front adjustment.
The interior of the CH-R is unlike any Toyota. It follows a minimalistic design language, unlike its exterior where it runs a single color light beam over the whole dashboard including the 7’’ infotainment system which includes various features such as Hands-free calling and music, Satellite navigation system where you can pair maps from your smartphone as well. Unfortunately, it does not come with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto in this version but later 2019 models have this feature embedded. The seats come half fabric with leather bolsters on the base model but then the Koba trim has heated full leather seats. The steering wheel though does not look anything special; just a plain leather wheel with a couple of buttons to take calls and manage the infotainment system.
Toyota managed to make the CH-R adequately safe where it scored a full five stars on Euro NCAP crash tests with a 95 percent adult occupant safety and 77 percent child occupant safety. Other than that, the CH-R comes equipped with tons of safety features such as automatic emergency braking including pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beam, and traffic sign recognition. Go a trim up and you can also find rear cross-traffic alert (which tells you if there’s a car coming as you reverse out of a blind parking space) and blind-spot assist. The CH-R also comes equipped with 7 airbags including a driver’s knee airbag to make sure passengers remain safe if things go wrong.
The CH-R is quite an interesting unit. We have previously seen Nissan come up with the Juke which had an interesting design language but a lot of people debunked the car due to the design even though it’s fantastic to drive it. The CH-R on the other hand, surely has a distinctive design language but it’s not that off the hook. Having amazing safety features and an acceptable fuel economy, people seem to be interested in these little SUVs even though being a just Toyota plays a major role as well.