Toyota’s compact crossover, the C-HR, has made its debut in the United States, following market debuts elsewhere such as Australia, Europe and in its native Japan. The United States appears to demand that there is no replacement for displacement – a 2.0 litre, naturally-aspirated engine produces 144 hp at 6,100 rpm and 188 Nm of torque at 3,900 rpm.

Engine output is sent to the front wheels via Toyota’s Continuously Variable Transmission with intelligence and Shift mode (CVTi-S). No manual gearbox option is available here unlike in the UK, which also gains all-wheel-drive, albeit in the CVT pairing. No 1.2 litre turbo for the US, and no hybrid variant either.

Toyota USA claims the C-HR is “a hit when it comes to thrilling fun and impressive ride comfort.” A newly-developed front MacPherson suspension with Sachs dampers feature angled strut bearings with a large-diameter stabiliser bar for responsive turn-in, while at the rear, a new double wishbone setup is partnered with a 26 mm stabiliser bar, and Sachs dampers with urethane upper supports.

The urethane supports, together with aluminium-cast upper support housings, improve the dampers’ efficiency, thereby producing benefits for ride comfort, cabin quietness and agility. Elsewhere on the C-HR, the electronic power steering system employs a rack-and-pinion steering gearbox which is mounted directly to the front suspension, for optimum feel. Braking is handling by 297 mm ventilated discs in front, and 282 mm solid discs at the back.

The C-HR’s structure itself is built from Toyota’s TNGA C-platform, with the company citing low centre-of-gravity, high strength and low weight as inherent attributes. The structure’s rigidity is further enhanced by additional spot welding, gussets, braces and adhesives in and around key connection structures, Toyota says.

The C-HR gets a comprehensive safety suite in the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), including a pre-collision system with active braking, in addition to a full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control; the latter claimed to be a first in the compact crossover segment.

Also included in the TSS-P suite are the pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beam. Full-speed dynamic radar cruise control is designed to work from 0 to approximately 176 km/h, while on the passive safety front the C-HR gets 10 airbags.

In the United States, the Toyota C-HR starts from US$22,500 (RM100,338) for the base XLE model, while the XLE Premium is tagged at US$24,350 (RM108,599).