Motoring and Property Editor
3:26 PM 1st May 2019
'Coupe High Rider' - Toyota’s C-HR On Test
The crossover/suv segment is awfully crowded. Almost all manufacturers want a piece of the action and there is a sense that many have rushed their offerings to market.
Toyota has a history of innovation and the RAV-4 burst onto the motoring scene way back in 1994 and offered an elevated driving position, compact dimensions and a sporty driving experience.
The RAV, now in its 5th incarnation has grown substantially in size, leaving room for a new smaller offering. The C-HR is that car and looks-wise it attempts to inject some life into a somewhat staid sector.
The exception is perhaps the over-styled Nissan Juke, sales of which ably demonstrate that many buyers do want to stand out from the crowd.
The C-HR’s looks are slightly less divisive and its interior more spacious – so far so good!
Two familiar engines are offered, lifted from the now discontinued Auris hatch.
The 1.2litre 114bhp turbocharged petrol engine is offered with front or all-wheel drive, manual or automatic gears.
On test here is the rather more interesting 1.8-litre hybrid engine with standard CVT automatic gearbox.
For the C-HR, Toyota has spent time and money making its hybrid system lighter and more efficient. There’s the promise of sharper performance too.
On paper the C-HR’s 0-62mph sprint time of 11 seconds looks competitive, but achieving that sort of meaningful performance is far from easy and it’s not quiet either…
Blame the CVT gearbox which ensures maximum revs are required when sharp bursts of full acceleration are required.
The C-HR favours the more leisurely approach, a style not best suiting this particular tester, nor the hilly environment that I inhabit.
Toyota quote 72.4mpg for the combined cycle and I was disappointed to return mid 40s during my week with the car. Blame the driver, blame the terrain….
Most testers report a much better showing especially in a more urban setting.
The CO2 emissions are a lowly 86g/km, a boon to the company car driver and more likely to be accepted in our city centres, where polluting cars are increasingly being banned.
The ‘Design’ test car is the cheapest way in to hybrid C-HR ownership and costs £26,670 on the road.
For that you get plenty of standard kit including cruise control and satellite navigation. There is no need to spend more unless you cannot live without the likes of leather seats etc…
The interior offers enough space for 4 adults to travel in reasonable comfort, with a 377-litre boot for their luggage.
Toyota has clearly looked back to it original RAV-4 for inspiration for the ride/handling balance for the C-HR. With early RAV ownership still a recent memory, I can happily report that the C-HR can be fun to pilot down a favourite twisting country lane.
The low centre of gravity keeps body roll in check and the steering has more feel than many rivals. The ride is firm, yet controlled and comfortable.
Build quality is up to the usual high Toyota standard and as a long-term owner of the marque, the C-HR will probably last forever.
Should the unexpected happen, a 5 year/100,000-mile warranty comes as standard.
The C-HR is therefore a car to buy with both head and heart. Affordable to buy and run and offering more driving pleasure than many rivals, Toyota’s compact crossover makes a strong case for itself. I’d prefer the smaller petrol engine and manual gears, so I would suggest trying both before committing.
Toyota C-HR Design
1.8-litre hybrid petrol engine (122PS)
CVT automatic gearbox
0-62mph in 11 seconds
Top speed 105mph
Combined economy 72.4mpg
Emissions 86g/km CO2
5 year/100,000-mile warranty