The small and light petrol engine generates 85kW and 185Nm from 1500rpm to 4000rpm, which is considerably more than the 80kW/141Nm produced by the conventional, non-turbo 1.5-litre four used in the Toyota Yaris.
The smaller engine is capable of producing more power and torque via turbo technology incorporating direct injection, water-cooled turbines and expanded variable valve-timing.
Toyota’s two-pint turbo isn’t the first engine of its size to pack such a punch. Volkswagen’s 1.2-litre turbo engine in the Polo city runabout generates up to 81/175Nm, while Renault’s 1.2-litre turbo pumps out 88kW/190Nm in the Polo-fighting Renault Clio and 97kW/205Nm in the size-larger Megane GT-Line.
One difference with Toyota’s offering is expected to be greater economy. Toyota hasn’t released fuel efficiency figures yet but it’s expected to compare well with the 4.8L/100km figures of the Volkswagen Polo, thanks to its ability to alternate between the conventional Otto cycle during normal driving and the highly efficient Atkinson cycle under low engine loads.
In the CH-R the 1.2-litre turbo will be mated to the Multidrive S continuously variable transmission with two modes – fully automatic, seamless shifting or a sequential, stepped seven-speed Sport mode. A six-speed manual transmission will also be available on the C-HR front-drive variant.
The C-HR, which is Toyota’s long-awaited entry into the small SUV market to take on the likes such as the Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke and Mitsubishi ASX, will be offered in two premium grades, C-HR and C-HR Koba – the latter being a tribute to the car's global chief engineer, Hiroyuki Koba.
Local models will come with advanced safety features such as a pre-collision system with autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering control, automatic high beam and a reversing camera.
More details and prices for Toyota’s first foray into the small SUV segment – it will sit in Toyota’s showroom beside the strong-selling RAV4 mid-size SUV -- will arrive closer to launch, expected to be in the first quarter of 2017.