The Toyota C-HR is due for a mid-lifecycle update soon but the C-HR model range will most likely be dropped for Malaysia. Its vacated slot will be filled by the upcoming Toyota Corolla Cross.
The C-segment Toyota C-HR was launched in Thailand in early-2018 (previewed in November 2017 at the Bangkok motor show) and after nearly 3 years on the market, a facelift is due to be launched in early-2021, reports Thailand’s Headlightmag.com.
The facelifted Toyota C-HR had already been launched in Europe in October 2019 with a new 2.0-litre hybrid engine that’s shared with the Lexus UX 250h. However according to Headlightmag, the Thailand market C-HR will retain the outgoing model’s 1.8-litre hybrid engine that’s shared with the Toyota Prius.
Not only that, Thailand’s C-HR will be re-designated as a hybrid-only model, meaning that the 1.8-litre naturally aspirated variant, which is also exported to Malaysia, will be dropped.
One plus one equals two so it’s not difficult to conclude how this latest development will impact Malaysia.
Since our Toyota C-HR is imported from Thailand (which explains its high price), and its total sales volume is so small, it’s quite obvious that as Thailand switches to a hybrid-only C-HR range, Thailand won’t continue producing the regular 1.8-litre non-hybrid C-HR just to cater for the tiny export volumes to Malaysia.
Importing the hybrid variant into Malaysia is definitely ruled out as our punitive import and excise duties would bump up its selling price even further.
The Thailand-made Toyota C-HR currently sells for RM 144,336 (without 10 percent sales tax, valid until 31-Dec 2020, RM 150,000 with sales tax). It’s only available in one variant, powered by a 1.8-litre Dual VVT-i 2ZR-FBE naturally aspirated engine that’s paired to a CVT-type automatic transmission. Mechanically, it’s identical to the Toyota Corolla Altis, both using the TNGA-C platform.
We believe the upcoming Toyota Corolla Cross will be locally-assembled at UMW Toyota Motor’s manufacturing subsidiary Assembly Services Sdn. Bhd.’s (ASSB) second plant in Bukit Raja.
Local assembly should allow the Corolla Cross to be priced more competitively against the Honda HR-V (RM 108.8k to RM 120.8k, with SST), which despite being based on B-segment City/Jazz platform, punches well above its weight thanks to its very spacious C-segment class interior and good overall package.
The Corolla Cross shares the same powertrain as the C-HR (and Corolla Altis), riding on the same TNGA-C platform, but with a modified rear suspension – torsion beam instead of double wishbone, not just to keep prices low, but also to give it a bigger interior.