Toyota’s first entrant into the small SUV market, the C-HR is set to make its Australian debut in the first quarter of 2017, but before the Mazda CX-3 rival lands here an eagle-eyed TMR reader has spotted it undergoing local testing.
Wrapped in a heavy layer of camouflage, the C-HR was spied in metropolitan Melbourne and while the look of the production version is no secret, with Toyota having released a variety of images of its funky new crossover, it seems Toyota Australia would like to keep the in-the-metal look from Aussie eyes for just a little bit longer.
The coupe-like C-HR marks a bold departure from Toyota’s traditionally sombre styling as the brand attempts to lure new, younger buyers a brand better associated with reliability than design prowess.
Following the example set by Nissan’s bug-eyed Juke, the C-HR ditches traditional SUV styling cues and blends a bluff front end, slim headlamps, sequential front indicators, couple-like glasshouse with concealed rear door handles, and a fastback profile atop high sills and heavily flared wheel arches for a rather unique set of proportions.
Under the bonnet the C-HR will run a new (for Australia) 1.2 litre turbocharged engine - Toyota’s first turbo petrol locally since the demise of the Supra in 1998. The 1.2 litre engine will be capable of 85kW and 185Nm, mated to either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission with all wheel drive available on CVT-equipped models.
Exact pricing has yet to be announced but the two-model range will comprise the C-HR Active and up-spec C-HR Koba loaded with extras including 18-inch wheels, privacy glass, and keyless entry and start.
The camouflaged vehicle pictured is likely to be undergoing last-minute validation checks to ensure that suspension, electronics, cooling and sealing systems are all up to scratch for Australian conditions.
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