Excellent safety features
It’s the excellent suite of advanced safety features, standard across the range, that sets C-HR apart from the majority of models in this class. All variants have seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a pre-collision safety system, active cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist and auto high beam. On most other brands these advanced safety features are usually extra-cost options, if available at all.
Interestingly, C-HR also has trailer sway control across the range. This is a feature usually found on vehicles with heavy-duty towing capabilities, not the likes of C-HR, which has a maximum towing capacity of a mere 600kg for the auto, and a slightly more respectable 1100kg for the manual model.
The 1.2-litre turbo-charged petrol engine, a newcomer to the Australian market, provides the easy-going drivability sought for everyday use around town. Acceleration times, however, are fairly leisurely and it doesn’t have a lot in reserve for passing. With a maximum output of 85kW, the engine is down on power compared with many of its competitors, but in typical turbo fashion a broad spread of strong low to mid-range torque saves the day to some extent. All models have three selectable drive modes – Normal, Eco and Sport – that vary throttle response, steering weight and CVT operation. The CVT has a manual mode with seven-step simulated gears but misses out on the convenience of paddle shift operation.
Hard work on hills
Our two-wheel-drive auto was only really found wanting on steep hills or when rapid acceleration was needed for comfortable overtaking. Working hard on hills, the otherwise smooth and quiet engine gets a touch raucous, while the characteristic CVT whine is a little more noticeable. Official ADR fuel consumption, on 95 RON petrol, is a respectable 6.3L/100km whereas we achieved only 8.0L/100km on our test week.
The TNGA platform provides a solid foundation for the suspension, which utilises MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear, while the engine is positioned in a way that keeps the centre of gravity low for less body roll and better balance.