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Toyota New Zealand has launched its daring new C-HR compact sports utility vehicle that looks set to leave the segment’s ‘me too’ designs in the dust.
The C-HR is a thoroughly European design, with the coupe-like, five-door body poised powerfully on muscular flanks, and extroverted “diamond architecture” providing a mix of sharp lines and smooth curves.
Integrated rear door handles, streamlined A-pillars and a sharply-angled rear present a distinctly new styling direction from Toyota further extending its already broad market appeal.
The trendy C-HR sits on 18-inch alloy wheels, which create the perception that the car is on the move, even when it’s stationary.
“It will appeal to early-adopters and buyers who want an edge over the status quo – something maybe a little more exciting that tempts them outside their comfort zone,” said Spencer Morris, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Product.
With limited supply from the factory paired with worldwide demand, Toyota New Zealand has gone for a single high-specification model, available in both front (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD).
“Every market in the world has strong customer demand for this car,” said Steve Prangnell, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Sales. “It looks dramatic and C-HR delivers a stunning drive, it’s an eye-catching car on the road or even when parked plus its compact size makes it an inspired choice for urban lifestyle use.”
Five hundred potential buyers had already registered for a test drive prior to the launch, said Mr Prangnell.
Introducing a state-of-the-art powertrain, the C-HR is powered by a new 1.2 litre turbo-charged petrol engine with its peak torque of 185Nm developed from 1500 to 4000rpm for instant throttle response. The C-HR achieves a maximum power of 85kW at 5200-5600 rpm.
Spencer Morris says buyers should not be fooled by the 1.2 litre turbo engine which offers the best of both worlds – economy and performance.
“The C-HR engine is ‘torquey’ and flexible, yet quiet and smooth. It’s a fun car that’s enjoyable to drive,” he says.
Both FWD and AWD models come with a Constant Variable Transmission (CVT) which has a sequential shift mode providing seven simulated manual gears, allowing control similar to a traditional transmission.
The AWD system can direct anywhere between 0 and 50 per cent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. C-HR also features eco, normal and sport drive modes that vary throttle sensitivity, steering weight and CVT performance.
Toyota’s new global architecture (TNGA) chassis provides a lower centre of gravity for better weight distribution. This paired with advanced suspension to limit body roll and body movement (typical of traditional crossovers) results in a more driver-orientated vehicle and enhanced driving experience.
Morris says that the C-HR drives like a dynamic hatchback, but with all of the SUV properties drivers covet. “This model offers ease of handling through the most challenging of corners, and an agile, fluid response that is both linear and consistent. With electric power steering, the C-HR offers precise response and fun-to-drive dynamics combined with its superior SUV visibility,” he says.
There are large-diameter stabilisers front and rear, and the trailing wishbone rear suspension combined with rigid steel ball joints, contribute to a crisp driving experience.
The C-HR comes equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense package which features a full suite of driver-assistance and active safety features including all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, a pre-crash safety system with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure alert with steering assist and sway warning functions and automatic high beam headlights. Additional safety features include blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, seven airbags, reversing camera and front & rear parking sensors.
As a result, the C-HR boasts a 2017, five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP).
Attention to detail sees the C-HR’s interior offer a premium feel that is equally eye catching; a fitting accompaniment to the standout exterior design.
“The C-HR has a commanding driving position with the main instruments and controls angled towards the driver to provide a cockpit like feel without affecting their visibility,” says Morris.
Leather trimmed steering wheel with gloss black ornamentation, an Optitron instrument cluster complements a 4.2” colour Multi-Information Display, there is a gloss black and gunmetal grey dashboard ornamentation, chrome and leather trimmed shift lever and chrome door handles, soft-touch arm rests in the front, and a black headlining with diamond motif all contributing to a modern, high quality setting.
A 6.1 inch touch screen audio display includes satellite navigation with SUNA traffic updates. The leather trimmed steering wheel has audio, phone, information display and safety system controls. An ultramodern “Cool blue” back lighting is used for all instruments and controls.
The luggage area can be extended with the 60:40 split folding rear seats.