With this news, Toyota’s chances of recapturing its best selling non-national manufacturer title seems significantly more possible. In Malaysia, one of the biggest blows Toyota received was not having a product to compete against the ever-popular Honda HR-V, but all that should change now with the new Toyota C-HR.
Based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), the C-HR shares similar underpinnings as the Prius. In the aesthetic department, the C-HR remains consistent with Toyota’s recent design language, with sharp edges and strong lines that run the side of its body. If you cant find the rear door latch, that’s because it’s integrated within the C-pillar; a coupe-esque design cue that reminds us a whole lot of the HR-V.
Powertrain choices for the C-HR include a 1.2-litre turbo engine (currently powering the European Auris models), a 2.0-litre petrol unit and a 1.8-litre hybrid engine from the fourth-generation Prius. It can be had with a six-speed manual or a CVT, whereas drive is either to the front wheels or all wheels.
The C-HR is claimed to match the driving dynamics of a modern C-segment hatchback, made possible thanks to the refined TNGA platform and its low centre of gravity. Toyota vouches for the C-HR’s fun-to-drive element, a notion its CEO Akio Toyoda expressively envisioned when he assumed the role in Toyota Motor Corporation.
So, the bigger question is, will the Toyota C-HR be offered here in Malaysia? That’s a given, really. Specs wise, we can expect to get the front-wheel drive variant, although the likelihood of it being powered by the 1.2-litre turbocharged engine is as good as none. That leaves us with either the 1.8-litre hybrid or the 2.0-litre lump – the latter seems most promising at this juncture, due to high costs involved in offering the hybrid.
Although details of the 2.0-litre variant remain sketchy at this point of time, we can refer to the two current 2.0-litre engines powering the Corolla Altis (3ZR-FE, 143 horsepower) and Camry (6AR-FSE, 165 horsepower). It would be lovely if we could have the modern 6AR lump, but if the gearbox is going to be a CVT, then our best chance would be the Altis’ 2.0-litre 3ZR engine.
The real secret behind the success of the HR-V is not only its great looks, but Honda Malaysia did an incredible job at its pricing and the equipment it offers. Should UMW Toyota play their cards right by providing a decent kit with an equally competitive price to match, expect not only a really close battle between the HR-V and the C-HR, but also a major sales boost that could rocket UMW Toyota right up to its top spot once again.
After all, wouldn’t you love a high-riding car that looks like this?