Driven: Toyota has upped its game with refreshed C-HR

By Pritesh Ruthun Time of article published Mar 9, 2020

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Cape Town - The first time I drove the Toyota C-HR, I came away highly unimpressed. Wafty steering. Noisy when on the move. A gearbox that would drone on and on… 

Fortunately, Toyota’s given the 2020 C-HR a complete once-over, underneath and on top and the results are quite remarkable. 

What's fresh for 2020?

To save you some time, here’s what you get as new compared to last year’s C-HR line-up:

- Sharpened front-end styling 

- Safety feature upgrades on all models 

- Toyota Safety Sense system now available on C-HR n Apple CarPlay and Android Auto added

- New colours including Inferno Orange and Passion Red

One of the best additions to the facelift is that the headlights on standard and Plus models have been upgraded to premium LED technology (bringing it in-line with the Luxury model), with the daytime running lights (DRLs) and indicators combined into one frontal projector emitting a single smooth line above the main beam. At the rear, the new bright red tail lamps are connected by a gloss black spoiler creating a single clean shape too. 

Boosted performance

Toyota’s 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine continues as the anchor of the range, delivering admirable midrange punch and cruising ability paired to either a CVT or six-speed manual transmission. It delivers 85kW of power and 185Nm of torque across a broad rpm range, while using just 6.3l/100km (claimed). 

On the launch drive, we found it a joy to drive and rev out. The CVT box had some decent “steps” built into it to make it feel as though actual cogs were being swapped, and in the SPORT driving mode, it kind of felt it wanted to drive in the mountains. 

Find a used Toyota C-HR on Drive360

Overtaking will require planning, as it takes some time to gain pace, but once you’re in boost and the CVT is working in the right ratio space, you’ll make haste without breaking a sweat. 

It was thirstier than the claimed 6.3l/100km on launch though, closer to 10l/100km, but we were leaning on the accelerator more than you would on a morning drive to work. 

Dynamic upgrades include a modified EPS tuning for improved steering feel. It’s not a gimmick either, as the car feels so much more natural in the hand thanks to the steering tune. It will still understeer if you chuck it into a corner, but there’s a great sense of confidence that comes with a car that steers well, contributing to safety more than anything else at the end of the day. Well done, Toyota. 

Scrumptiously appointed

We sampled the high-end LUXURY models, which showed off the new OEM-sourced multimedia system that amplifies Toyota’s connectivity offer. 

This system now allows full smartphone integration and supports even the latest versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system also allows occupants to mirror their cellphone on the vehicle screen – opening up a world of connectivity options, including music streaming and navigation solutions. 

Also of interest, all new Toyota models including this new C-HR you see here come equipped with Toyota Connect, including a complimentary 15Gb in-car wi-fi allocation, vehicle Telematics and enhanced user features via the MyToyota app. 

Is it worth buying?

If you’re looking for a compact family car, you’ll really appreciate what the latest C-HR brings to the table in terms of keeping occupants safe. The standard and Plus grades receive side, curtain and driver knee airbags – in addition to the front driver and passenger units – while rear seatbelt force limiters and pre-tensioners have been added to the standard grade derivative. 

The flagship “Luxury” derivative gains a complete suite of electronic driver safety aids in the form of the Toyota Safety Sense system. It’s a good buy if you want a stylish, but tried-and-tested brand in the garage. I can appreciate the levels of engineering and refinement that have gone into making it drive really well. 

All C-HR models are sold with a six-services/90 000km service plan (intervals set at 15 000km) and threeyear/100 000km warranty


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