What in the world?
Boom, after decades of building sensible yet boring cars, Toyota decided that it wanted to go wild on designs and create a car that scares away the older folk and attract fresh new buyers. After all, most people buy a car based on looks first, practicality and what… performance?
Performance from a 1.2? You kidding?
Hmm, yes. No, we have not gone mad, but there is some to like about the 1.2 litre turbocharged plant mated to a boring CVT. 114bhp and 185Nm of torque is not much for a 1.4 ton car, but once you get going, the gearbox ensures that the turbo stays on the boil and delivers the goods for overtaking easily. Hell, if you poke around the dashboard display settings enough, you’ll find a setting that displays the G-sensor.
G-Sensor in a Toyota? Have they gone mad?
The madness continues with the way it drives. It may look big and imposing, but it makes quick work of darting around tight corners with deft. The most un-Toyota drive quality of a sharp steering feel, with a suspension setup that feels agile, yet somewhat comfortable…you may think that they hired the engineer who designed the 86 to work on this.
It isn’t soft and wallowy, neither iis it hard and crashy. It’s quite a pleasing blend of both worlds. However, there is no way you can escape the pretty heft body of the CH-R. High-speed cornering is best avoided, but it does remarkably well for some spirited B-road driving.
What about practicality?
Once again, Toyota throws out all the stereotypes that Toyotas have like space. There is no escaping the fact that the sloping roofline will cause some unfortunate head bonks for the rear passengers getting in and out, and it’s a tight squeeze in the back for three regular Asian men.
The front seats are a nicer place to be but don’t count on bringing too much luggage. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat arrangement doesn’t do much to improve the cargo capacity as they don’t lie flat, and the high boot ledge does mean getting stuff in might be a challenge.
To get or no?
You can shoot us but the CH-R does deserve a good look, or even two, since we’re suckers for styling over actual performance from time to time. We reckon it will look totally radical with a lowering kit, big brakes, a sick sound system, and some nice wheels to replace that twisted 5-spoke bland OE wheels. It’s simply the Toyota that has the most un-Toyota qualities, and it is not ashamed about it – definitely a bold choice.
Toyota CH-R 1.2 Turbo
Engine: 1,197cc, turbocharged inline-4
Power: 114hp / 5,200-5,600rpm
Torque: 185Nm / 1,500-4,000rpm
Top Speed: 185km/h
Fuel consumption: 6.4L/100km
VES Band: C1 Surcharge
Availability: Now (www.toyota.com.sg)