When the Toyota C-HR pulled up in our driveway, we were eager to see what it was all about. Ours came in a colour called Aztec Green, but maybe they should have named it Colonial Marine, since while covered in metallic greeny-blue it resembled a space buggy out of the Aliens movies. Toyota seems have to found their long lost mojo, quirky designs that sees function flirt with form. And that means a very desirable high-rider that automatically challenges the Nissan Juke and how.
It’s a range of three models here, all powered by the same turbocharged 1.2 litre inline four good for 85kW and 185Nm. Performance is adequate, and handling is entertaining for something you’ll most likely have bought for the looks. Interior space is perfect for a family of five and I even managed to get my 29er bicycle inside but that did require detaching its front wheel. I must warn you that our range topper was fitted with a CVT transmission but in all fairness it doesn’t suffer the constant whine that made these ’boxes infamous to begin with and did a fair job of swapping cogs.
The cabin and cockpit is well appointed, with some of that design quirk translating into the architecture and controls – of which there is a lot, our Plus model being packed to the rafters in comfort and connectivity gear. But perhaps the funnest attribute of the C-HR is watching folks try to open the rear doors with the design-for-design sake rear handles. Together, we can be such trolls.
VERDICT: The Nissan Juke gets a fresh-faced rival which just so happens to be very, very good.
Spec: 1.2L turbo petrol @ 85kW / 185Nm
Price: R318 500 (1.2), R345 000 (1.2 Plus), R356 000 (1.2 Plus CVT)
After sales: 5yr/90 000km service plan