Toyota’s C-HR 1.8 Mid model offers loads of features but needs more room at the back
Although hybrid models are the top variants in the Toyota C-HR line-up, there are also 1.8-litre petrol versions available at lower prices and with less equipment.
And that is actually a good decision by Toyota, because after driving the 1.8 Mid model for a while, I liked it better than the hybrid.
Priced at Bt1.039 million, it lacks some of the premium features offered in the top hybrid model, such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and pre-collision systems, as well as navigation and T-Connect telematics.
Which was fine for me as the 1.8 Mid still comes with a healthy level of features that you’d expect in a modern automobile. They include smart entry, auto brake hold, sport and eco engine mode, seven airbags, cruise control, DVD player with seven-inch touchscreen, and a 4.2-inch colour TFT screen on the dash.
The C-HR 1.8 Mid is powered by a punchy 2ZR-FBE 1,798cc gasoline engine (with the same displacement as the hybrid’s 2ZR-FXE Atkinson-cycle engine) pumping out a good 140 horsepower and 175Nm of torque. Without any electric motor assistance, the engine, mated to a CVT (continuously variable transmission), still gives the C-HR punchy acceleration that harmonises with its highly dynamic character.
Built on Toyota’s TNGA platform, the C-HR has a low centre of gravity, high body rigidity and rear double-wishbone suspension. The steering is surprisingly responsive too, adding to the driving enjoyment from the C-HR.
Weighing in at 70 kilograms less than the hybrid, the C-HR 1.8 Mid goes through the corners with less resistance, giving the driver even more fun.
While all this is happening, the cabin is well protected from wind and engine noise. In fact at idle speed the engine purrs smoothly like in a luxury car.
The interior is as modern as the exterior, and very stylish too, but the quality of the materials isn’t as impressive as the competition, such as the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. Even with all the impressive upgrades, this is something that reminds you that the C-HR is in fact still a Toyota, and luxury isn’t the name of the game here.
There’s adequate space for the front occupants and the stylish seats are comfortable as well, but as you move back there seems to be less space due to structural design. The small rear windows are stylish and make the C-HR look cool, but aren’t good for avoiding claustrophobia, and there’s less luggage space than the segment leader.
The powered windows are all anti-pinch, but Toyota’s marketing guys should have offered automatic windshield wipers with every variant across the range, including this one. The rear-view camera is nice, featuring guiding lines, and there is also a tire-pressure monitoring system, apart from the usual driver-assistance systems.
Finally, also in the C-HR plus column, is that is comes with a five-year/150,000km warranty, which is a great offer from distributor Toyota Motor Thailand.
While the hybrid version of the C-HR has yet to achieve plug-in status, it would achieve good fuel economy (24.4km/litre average) but not a long EV range as the Ni-Mh battery runs out quickly.
I’m not a big fan of hybrids anyway, so naturally I would strongly consider the C-HR 1.8 Mid for its lower pricing (Bt120,000 compared to the top hybrid variant) and better handling due to the lighter weight (no battery and electric motor).
It would also be beneficial for the customer if the additional equipment offered in the top hybrid model could be ordered for the gasoline variants as well. This would give customers more freedom in selecting the options that best suit their lifestyles.
Toyota C-HR 1.8 Mid specs
Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve
Bore and stroke: 80.5x88.3mm
Compression ratio: 10.0:1
Max power: 140ps/6,000rpm
Max torque: 175Nm/4,000rpm
Transmission: Super CVT-I with 7-speed manual mode
Final drive ratio: 5.698
Average fuel economy: 15.3km/litre
Average CO2: 150g/km
Suspension (f/r): McPherson strut, stabiliser/double wishbone, stabiliser
Steering: electrically-powered rack-and-pinion
Turning circle: 10.4m
Brakes (f/r): vented disc/disc
Track (f/r): 1,550/1,570
Wheels: 17-in alloy
Fuel tank capacity: 50 litres
Price: Bt1.039 million
Distributor: Toyota Motor Thailand Co Ltd