Toyota C-HR Koba packs ample, style, performance and fun…but is it worth the premium over the base model?
The Toyota C-HR compact SUV was revolutionary product for Toyota, and was perhaps the first in a whole series – read new Camry and Corolla – of new Toyota models that you actually wanted to buy, rather than simply needed as transport from one point to another.
The C-HR boasts unashamedly bold styling, engaging dynamics, an all-new and punchy 1.2 litre turbo engine, generous equipment levels and of course excellent quality.
The Toyota C-HR range is relatively simple: it kicks off with the base C-HR with a six-speed manual and front-wheel drive which is priced from $26,990 and prices extend to $35,290 to the flagship C-HR Koba as tested here. The Koba’s pricing and equipment pretty much place it line-ball with the flagship Mazda CX-3 Akari, too.
We’ve previously sampled the base C-HR with the seven-step CVT and front-wheel drive which is priced from $28,990, and we found that the standard equipment levels were more than comprehensive for most.
So, that begs the following two questions, what does that extra $7,000 get you? And is it worth it? Well, let’s find out. The premium you pay for the Koba buys you 18 inch alloys over the base car’s 17s, the option of a colour contrasted roof, leather trim with seat heating for the front two chairs and perhaps most notably and importantly, the addition of adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist – it stops you drifting out of your lane, basically – and automatic high beams.
On the road, the C-HR Koba drives in a similar manner to the base model C-HR. That 1.2 litre turbo engine produces 85kW @ 5600rpm and 185Nm @ 1500-4000rpm. While those numbers don’t seem overly impressive on paper, that broad powerband means that the engine is an eager little performer and it can be quite enjoyable to punt along.
However, the CVT can dilute proceedings somewhat but handling is tidy and the C-HR is equally competent out on the open road as it is around the town.
Inside, the familiar C-HR interior remains: a dash that is sharply angled towards the driver, a raft of different patterns that have been coloured coded to match the exterior duco and high quality materials throughout. The leather is of excellent quality and the seats are comfortable and there’s more than enough room for four adults. Although headroom might be a little tight for those in the rear.
Whilst the C-HR is generally very well equipped, there were a couple of glaring omissions: the lack of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and wireless charging. Toyota’s infotainment system is easy enough to use and the voice control is relatively effective, but the whole set up looks and feels dated. This is a car that’s aimed at consumers in the 25-35 year old age bracket and they generally command a wealth of technology and connectivity. The rival CX-3 amongst others now has CarPlay and Android Auto. As for wireless charging, this is more of a convenience, and is found in a number of Toyota models. Given the C-HR’s target audience, the Koba should be a prime candidate for this tech.
So is the C-HR Koba worth the extra cash over the standard model? Well, that’s tricky. The thing is the base model is so well appointed that its equipment levels will be more than enough for the majority shoppers in this segment. However, if you’re looking for a touch more tech, luxury and customization, the C-HR Koba could be the C-HR for you.