2016 Geneva Motor Show: Toyota C-HR baby SUV

Toyota C-HR baby SUV

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. 

Toyota -Ch -R-rear -sideBased 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. 

Toyota -Ch -R-front -sideDrive 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. 

Toyota -Ch -R-sideSize-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. 

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.

Want free access to 5 years of Wheels archive content? Sign up now!