2017 Toyota C-HR Koba with optional black roof

After Europe, Japan and Singapore, Australia is next to get the much-awaited Toyota C-HR. The B-segment crossover, built in Japan, goes on sale Down Under with one engine, two transmissions and two trim levels – standard and top-spec Koba. The latter is named in honour of the car’s chief engineer Hiroyuki Koba.

Prices start at $26,990 (RM92,200) for the base manual, rising to $28,990 (RM99,000) for the CVT and $33,290 (RM113,700) for the Koba CVT. All-wheel drive CVT models retail at $30,990 (RM105,800) for the standard trim and $35,290 (RM120,500) for the Koba.

This makes the base two-wheel drive CVT around $4,000 more expensive than the more powerful Honda HR-V, which doesn’t come with a manual or an all-wheel drive option. That one starts at $24,990 (RM85,300) for the 1.8 VTi, although it doesn’t have the kit of the Toyota. At the top end, the HR-V 1.8 VTi-L with ADAS driver assists is priced at $33,990 (RM116,065), making it slightly pricier than the 2WD C-HR in Koba trim.

2017 Toyota C-HR Koba with optional black roof

Toyota talks a lot about the CH-R’s extroverted design, so let’s look at that first. The styling carries a “diamond architecture” theme that mixes sharp lines and smooth curves, with gemstone-like shapes, a sleek, coupé-inspired upper body and a more rugged SUV-like lower body.

At the front, the slim upper grille flows into the swept-back headlights; LED daytime running lights are standard, while Koba models get full LED headlights with 12 sequential LED indicators. Along the side, pumped-up fender flares sit either side of the large, concave surface of the doors, while black rocker panels and a strong shoulder line give the car a more dynamic look.

Extending out of the tapered rear end are C-shaped LED combination tail lights – the ones on the Koba are full LED. Buyers can choose between eight colours, including Atomic Rush (red), Bionic Bronze, Electric Teal and Shadow Platinum (silver) that are new to the market. Koba models also gain a two-tone option with either a white (with bronze, blue, yellow or teal cars) or black (on white, yellow or silver) roof.

2017 Toyota C-HR Koba

Aerodynamics have been optimised through the use of underbody panels to reduce turbulence together with front wheel arch air spats and suspension arms which have been shaped to minimise airflow disturbance. The tailgate spoilers have a real function too, reducing drag and increasing high-speed stability. All-in-all, the C-HR features a drag coefficient of 0.34, or 0.35 in Koba trim.

Step inside and you’ll find a layered interior design that Toyota says is oriented towards the driver. The freestanding 6.1-inch touchscreen – which features navigation and Toyota Link online services – enables the dashboard to be lower, which aids visibility in concert with the positioning of the slim A-pillars. Koba models are differentiated via mocha brown inserts and silver trim.

Standard kit is fairly generous and includes 17-inch alloy wheels, puddle lamps projecting the C-HR logo, front and rear parking sensors, auto wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 4.2-inch colour multi-info display, a multifunction steering wheel with tilt and telescopic adjustment, the aforementioned touchscreen navigation system, a reverse camera and six speakers.

2017 Toyota C-HR Koba

The Kobe adds 18-inch machine-finish alloys, keyless entry, push-button start, leather upholstery, heated seats, driver’s side powered lumbar adjustment, privacy glass, ambient lighting and a nano-e air ioniser. Safety-wise, all models come with Pre-Collision System (PCS), Active Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Automatic High Beam (AHB), Blind-spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA).

Power comes from a 1.2 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with D-4T direct injection and VVT-iW that enables the engine to switch between Otto and Atkinson cycles. Output figures stand at 114 hp from 5,200 to 5,600 rpm and 185 Nm between 1,500 and 4,000 rpm.

The engine is mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT – all-wheel drive is offered as an option on the latter. Combined fuel consumption is rated 6.3 litres per 100 km with the manual, while the CVT gets 6.4 litres per 100 km; the all-wheel drive model pushes it up to 6.5 litres per 100 km.

2017 Toyota C-HR with Toyota Genuine Accessories

Under the skin, the C-HR is built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) – the global architecture for compact vehicles (GA-C) platform provides a low centre of gravity and greater rigidity, while also enabling components to be positioned lower, making the low-slung design possible. The lower seating position afforded by the platform also means that headroom isn’t compromised by the sweeping roofline.

Suspension is handled by MacPherson struts with a large-diameter anti-roll bar at the front and double wishbones at the rear. The C-HR also adjusts torque delivery when going over bumps and dips detected by the front wheel sensors, smoothening out the ride.