BETTER late than never to the hottest party in town, the 2017 Toyota C-HR finally gives the Japanese SUV specialist an entry-level crossover.
Aimed squarely at the big-selling Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, the small SUV has surprised observers by keeping true to the preceding two concepts’ daring design language, revealing the brand’s desire to lure a new or younger audience.
To that end, the C-HR will also usher in the era of downsized forced-induction powertrains for Australia’s number one selling carmaker, when sales commence in early 2017.
Based on the modular TNGA (Toyota New Generation Architecture) about to debut in the fourth-generation Prius hybrid, the C-HR is described as being slightly longer and wider than the current Corolla hatch.
The only engine confirmed is Toyota’s all-new 1196cc four-cylinder turbo petrol unit. In European spec, this 8NR-FS engine pumps out 85kW between 5200 and 5600rpm, and 185Nm between 1500 and 4000rpm, making the direct-injection unit eligible for substantial tax benefits due to a claimed 90 gram per kilometre carbon dioxide emissions rating.
Drive will be delivered to either the front or all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or CVT auto.
European reports suggest that an as-yet unconfirmed 2.0-litre atmo petrol engine may also be in the pipeline, making that a more logical competitor to the CX-3’s 109kW/192Nm powerplant.
Pricing, of course, is still a long way off, but a low-$20,000 start is almost a certainty if Toyota intends to make inroads against the CX-3. Among the standard features confirmed are autonomous emergency braking and a reverse camera.
Size-wise, the T-brand’s all-new crossover is actually larger than the original RAV4 of 1994 that helped revolutionise the SUV segment worldwide, measuring in at 4350mm (+190mm), 1795mm (+100mm), and 1550mm (–100mm), while the 2640mm wheelbase is a mammoth 230mm longer than the five-door equivalent of 22 years ago.
Toyota has big hopes for the C-HR in Australia, as it will enter a market that has grown by almost 30 percent annually since 2011, from 40,000 to over 110,000 registrations last year.
We're giving away the last great Aussie Holden V8! Enter here for your chance to win!
Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.