Toyota C-HR Hybrid - A crossover SUV with a difference
The Toyota C-HR is a hybrid only crossover SUV which dares to be different from the majority of others on the market today. Its body design is what you would generally expect to find on a low down sports car, not an SUV. It is visually stunning and slots in nicely to the modern-day fashion trends, giving you a pleasant alternative to the standard 'boxy' design of most compact crossover models.
The C-HR began production just four years ago in 2016 and sales have exceeded expectation during this time, thanks to its fresh and contemporary design, combined with efficient and eco-friendly hybrid engines. The C-HR has been a hit with company car drivers due to its low tax rating, practicality and fuel economy. In 2019 Toyota gave the C-HR a mid-life shake-up, installing upgraded software, a new engine line-up and minor tweaks to the body styling.
There are many strong contenders in the compact crossover market all with their own USP like the Volkswagen T-Roc, Nissan Juke, Renault Kadjar and the new Ford Puma. The Toyota C-HR offers something different to all of these not only in looks but in performance, build quality and value for money.
There are five trim levels to choose from when selecting a C-HR; Icon, Design, Excel, Dynamic and Orange Edition. All come with an impressive array of standard equipment and features, many of which are optional extras in equivalent rival models.
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Engines, Power and Performance
Toyota has added a new hybrid engine to its line-up from 2019 offering more power and performance. The C-HR is now strictly a front-wheel-drive (FWD) car and both engines are mated to a CVT Automatic Transmission, with no manual options available at this time. As with other Toyota hybrids, it features self-charging battery technology, so there is no need to plug-in to charge the batteries.
The battery recoups its energy through regenerative braking. This is where the power of the wheels turning through braking or cruising creates energy, which in turn, passes through the electric motor/generator which produces electricity and stores in the battery for use at a later time.
There are two hybrid engines available to choose both of which offer excellent fuel economy figures claimed to be above 50mpg.
The first hybrid system links a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery. It develops 122hp and 142Nm of torque which allow it to sprint from 0-62mph in 11secs and go on to a top speed of 105mph.
We then move onto the new hybrid system which combines a 2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and Nickel Metal Battery. The new engine creates 184hp, and 190Nm of torque and will hit 0-62mph in just 8.2secs and race to a top speed of 111mph.
Part of the mid-life upgrades was to improve the C-HR's drivability, to help connect car and driver, therefore, enhancing the driving experience. I would say job well done in this respect. The new C-HR now acts, performs and feels as you would expect from its looks, sporty, bold and powerful. When you tackle sharp corners and bends, the steering is responsive with just the right amount of weight, while the suspension works a treat to absorb any lumps and bumps in the road.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the C-HR is pleasant and well thought out with the controls and touchscreen all angled towards the driver. There is plenty of soft-touch plastic, trim accents and premium materials to be found throughout the cabin and dashboard, all of which feel sturdy and well built.
All trim levels come with an impressive list of standard features including the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia infotainment system with an 8-inch colour touchscreen. Other features include; Bluetooth connectivity, DAB Radio, smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a reversing camera. Opt for the Design trim and above and you will also get built-in sat-nav, voice recognition, Wi-Fi Connectivity, front and rear parking sensors and power-assisted lumbar support on the driver's seat.
The front seats and extremely comfortable with a good range of manual or power-assisted adjustment depending on the trim level selected. The steering wheel and column also have a generous amount of adjustment, allow for nearly and shape and size occupant, to find a great driving position.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The interior space of the C-HR is not its strong point, although those in the front will find more than enough legroom and headroom. It is when you move into the rear things begin to go downhill, thanks to the sloping roofline, due to the sporty coupe-esk design of the C-HR. Although it will seat a couple of adults in the rear anyone over 6ft will find legroom and headroom very limited.
There are various useful storage compartments including; a glovebox, a couple of cupholders, door pockets and centre console cubby ideal for wallets and mobile phones. The boot is decent, not class-leading but not too bad. It has a maximum capacity of 443-litres which rises to 1164-litres with the rear seats folded down. If you are planning on putting heavy items in the boot, you will need to be extra careful as the lip of the loading bay is fairly high to get up and over.
The Toyota C-HR redeems itself when it comes to providing safety with a long list of safety features and assists included as standard across all trim levels. It scored an impressive 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests. Some of the standard safety features include; Lane Departure Warning, Road Sign Assist, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, multiple airbags and Vehicle Stability Control.
As you move up the trim levels, additional features include blindspot monitoring, Simple Intelligent Parking Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Auto Braking.
The Toyota C-HR is a gorgeous looking crossover SUV combining a sporty and rugged style with a modern and contemporary interior. It is a crossover SUV which dares to be different, and for that, you have to admire it. Toyota has done a fantastic job in improving the C-HR while maintaining its original appeal. If you're looking for your next family car or company car, the Toyota C-HR deserves your consideration.