First revealed in 2016 in Geneva, the Toyota C-HR took its sweet time to arrive in the UAE. We’ve been waiting a long time for this day to come as we’ve always had a soft spot for the 2020 Toyota C-HR.
How come it took so long?
No one really knows for sure; we could take a shot in the dark and say there was no need to bring a quirky 5-seater into the UAE market as the RAV-4 dominates that area with less quirkiness.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Yaris Hatchback is no longer being sold in the country, does the 2020 Toyota C-HR stand its place?
Probably. The 2020 Toyota C-HR is a low slung subcompact SUV sitting much closer to the ground compared to the RAV-4, so it’s not taking away any of its customers. And with the surge of smaller SUV’s flooding the market and lack of new hatchbacks, this is more than likely the case.
- Exterior style
- Decent handling
- Fuel economy
- Rear visibility
- Rear legroom
- No AWD option
But enough with the boring stuff, let’s see what we’ve been missing out. As always, a big thank you to Toyota UAE.
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Driving the 2020 Toyota C-HR
Hybrids are on the rise, and Toyota has always been ahead of the game when it comes to greener vehicles. Its no surprise the C-HR is fitted with a hybrid system along with a petrol engine.
Connected to an eCVT, the C-HR offers best in class fuel economy (23.9 KM/L), but in terms of performance, the vehicle lacks.
For a combined 121 horsepower, the 1.8-litre engine is nothing write home about. With an estimated 0-100 km/h time of around 12 seconds, you won’t be getting anywhere in a hurry.
The eCVT offers the usual gears to shift into, but there is a slight twist. B. That’s right; you’ve got P, R, N, D and B. It took us a while to figure it out, B stands for Braking.
Shifting to this mode amplifies the effect of regenerative braking and slows the car down more when braking when lifting off the accelerator and when applying the brakes.
Finding the drive mode selector took us a while to find as it was hidden in a menu via steering wheel controls instead of being in the centre console.
Alas, there are three drive modes available – Normal, Sport and Eco. By ECO, select features are cut down to aid fuel economy.
Switching to sport mode makes the throttle more responsive, making it easier to get up to speed faster. Sadly it doesn’t increase engine power.
EV mode is located in the centre console, and when pushed, it switches the vehicle to run on the battery only.
It holds its own in the corners even on tighter bends, and the steering is responsive. After all, it does share the same platform as a hatchback.
Outside the 2020 Toyota C-HR
One of the key talking points about the crossover, and that’s the styling. Toyota went all out with styling and there is nothing quite like it in the rest of the lineup.
Standard models are only available with a single exterior colour, but we tested the VX trim leather (top of the range). With it comes a funky two-tone red and black finish.
Crafted into the angular bodywork, LED headlamps to illuminate the road ahead and on top trims, said lights are adaptive and adjust to the light conditions automatically.
With a sensual sloping roofline, a dark rear spoiler hangs on just above the rear glass.
As we mentioned before, there isn’t anything else in Toyota’s lineup quite like the C-HR.
Inside the 2020 Toyota C-HR
We picked up a trend inside the cabin; there are a lot of trapezoidal shapes. The steering wheel buttons, climate control, door panel trim and roof headline all feature and give the cabin a youthful feel.
Looking around, you don’t feel as if you’re in a Toyota as the cabin layout is also distinct compared to the rest of the Toyota family.
Headroom is ample in the front, and the manually adjustable seats give you enough knee and legroom for maximum comfort.
On the downside, the rear hatch and quirky exterior door handles impact rear visibility. Rear headroom is compromised due to bold exterior styling and legroom in the back could be better. It’s tolerable in the back for short journeys.
Finally, the rear cargo space could have been bigger, and the tailgate is unnecessarily heavy.
On the plus side, the seats get an exquisite stitching unnamed stitching pattern and the dashboard features faux-leather and Metallic trim making for an upscale dash.
Safety and Tech
For safety, the C-HR has amenities to keep all safe inside, some more prominent compared to others.
Poking out of the tailgate, a rear camera offers a sizable view of what’s behind, and the quality is adequate via the centre screen.
Rear parking sensors aid the parking process, but if you prefer the old fashion way of backing up, you’ll have a hard time due to the sloping roofline.
If no seatbelt is clicked into place and the vehicle starts moving, three red indicators flash up on the centre console with arrows indicating who hasn’t buckled up. If no one buckles up, the cabin is engulfed in constant chimes telling one to buckle up.
The longer you wait, the louder it gets.
Front, side and curtain airbags are standard, as is tyre pressure warning system, anti-lock brakes and vehicle stability plus a lot more.
On the tech side, the C-HR gets the essentials – power steering, power windows, keyless entry and wireless locking.
The centre console is driver-focused as do the climate control functions. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available via the 7-inch TFT touchscreen.
The C-HR’s lack of navigation on the options list comes as a surprise. Still, with the added benefit of connectivity features, audio directions can be blurted out the 6-speaker sound system.
The 2020 Toyota C-HR is a breath of fresh air in Toyota’s line up in the UAE and adds something different. While there are certain parts that improvement, the subcompact crossover SUV offers something a little more youthful.
It’s definitely a vehicle to consider for the younger generation and sits atop the fuel economy ladder in its segment.
We could see ourselves behind the wheel of one and use it as a daily driver. But we’ll hold out until a turbo or the GR sport version arrives in the UAE.
While rivals do offer a slightly better package, you can’t go wrong with the unbeatable running costs of the 2020 C-HR.
2020 Toyota C-HR price: Starting at AED 86,900.
Photos – Rajitha Perera (Dubicars)