With so much hype and talk about the Toyota C-HR, it’s hard to believe that this is a car that is yet to go on sale. Not just in Malaysia, but in Thailand as well, which is Toyota’s regional production hub for the model. I wonder how many potential customers have gone the way of the HR-V while waiting. Speaking of the Honda, a facelift is already on the way…

Anyway, order books for the C-HR are now open in Thailand, where the B-segment crossover will launch in the first quarter of 2018. Two engine options will be available there – a naturally aspirated 1.8 litre and a hybrid 1.8 litre. The 1.8 Dual VVT-i motor makes 141 hp and 177 Nm of torque, and is paired to a CVT automatic with seven virtual ratios. As is the norm in Thailand, the engine is E85 compatible.

The hybrid model combines a 2ZR-FXE Atkinson-cycle 1.8 litre engine (98 hp/142 Nm) with an electric motor with 72 hp and 163 Nm. Max combined output is 122 hp, but there’s plenty of torque from rest. The battery that powers the motor is a nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) unit. Toyota claims fuel economy of 24.4 km/l and CO2 emissions of 95 g/km. Toyota’s hybrid system is well-proven, but there’s a five-year warranty for the system and 10-year warranty for the hybrid battery for peace of mind.

Toyota Thailand is also touting the new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that underpins the C-HR, highlighting the new car’s low centre of gravity, good handling, double-wishbone front suspension and excellent visibility. All their words, not ours.

The C-HR can be had with Toyota Safety Sense in Thailand. The suite of active safety systems includes Pre-Collision System (warning and AEB), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Automatic High Beam.

Also part of the tech push is T-Connect telematics, which comes with functions such as WiFi, vehicle tracking, 24-hour SOS and operator service and navigation. All four tech pillars – hybrid, TNGA, Toyota Safety Sense and telematics – are highlighted in videos that we’ve pasted below.

The 1.8L can be had in Entry and Mid trim levels, while the Hybrid comes in Mid and Hi variants. The base 1.8 Entry (9XX,XXX baht) comes with auto halogen projector headlamps, LED tail lamps, 17-inch alloys, black fabric seats, seven-inch touchscreen audio (USB, AUX, Bluetooth) and seven airbags (front, side, curtain, driver’s knee). The top non-hybrid C-HR, the 1.8 Mid (1,0XX,000 baht), adds on fog lamps, leather and keyless entry/push start.

Going for the Hybrid Mid (1,0XX,000 baht) will net one all of the above plus full LED headlamps, full LED tail lamps and T-Connect telematics. The top 1.8 Hybrid High (1,1XX,000 baht) gets the full works, further adding on navigation and the Toyota Safety Sense pack.

Six colour options are available, with the three brighter hues (blue, red and green) contrasted with a black roof. There’s also a free “custom name plate” for Thais who book the C-HR from now till the end of February 2018. What’s that? Video below.

The C-HR is of course coming to Malaysia, and the latest round of teasing happened last month, when the Malaysian-spec car was previewed. We’ll be getting our stock from Thailand, and in 2ZR-FE 1.8 NA form (137 PS/170 Nm) with no hybrid option.

Our C-HR will come with halogen projectors, LED DRLs, 17-inch alloys, front and rear fog lights, keyless entry with push start, puddle lights, leather upholstery with diamond perforations, powered lumbar adjustment (on manual seats), auto lights and wipers, a 4.2-inch colour multi-info display, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a reverse camera. The closest Thai-spec C-HR is their 1.8 Mid.

For safety, we won’t be getting Safety Sense, but there will be a Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, seven airbags and VSC. The estimated local price is RM145,500 on-the-road without insurance. The C-HR will arrive next year, but it surely won’t be before the Q1 Thai launch.

GALLERY: Toyota C-HR, Malaysian spec preview