Review: Toyota C-HR

Review: Toyota C-HR
Review: Toyota C-HR

Some cars you get out of and walk away from without a second glance, others demand a quick peek back over your shoulder every time you leave them. The Toyota C-HR is undoubtedly one of the latter.

The rest of Toyota’s range is largely sensible and inoffensive looking. This thing looks like it’s landed from another planet. You have to go back to the days of the mega-winged Supras and special edition Celicas to find a Toyota as close to eye-catching as this.

The exterior is a riot of straight lines, sharp angles and deep slashes, with headlights that extend halfway along the flanks, a diving coupe-like roofline and wide, muscular haunches. It’s far more akin to a Lexus than anything else from Toyota and is a welcome breath of fresh air in the largely staid crossover arena.

The interior, too is a world away from the bland, functionality of other Toyotas. There’s a diamond motif evident all over the car, from the dimpled headliner to the switches and the beautifully textured door cards. It works well, especially in the raised isometric pattern of the door trim.

Toyota C-HR Excel door detail

The eight-inch media system sits proud of the dash, wrapped by a metal trim line that appears to glow as it follows the contours of the clean, uncluttered dashboard across its width. It’s just a shame the system within isn’t as slick or attractive as its packaging.

In the crossover world the C-HR may be close to a Nissan Qashqai in external dimensions and price but it feels more of a rival for the smaller Juke and its ilk. As well as sharing some outrageous styling with the baby Nissan, from anywhere inside the C-HR feels far smaller than a Qashqai.

In the front that translates into a cosy and enveloping feel but in the rear it just feels claustrophobic. The roofline that looks so dramatic from the outside dives sharply over the rear pew and the high beltline and thick C pillars mean the back seats feel even more cramped than they really are.

Toyota C-HR Excel interior

If you want the space of a Qashqai then you should be looking at a Rav4 but if you want something outrageous looking and fun to drive then the C-HR is the one to go for.

Because, the C-HR is fun. It’s handling is more lively and engaging than most mid-sized crossovers and the steering is light but quick and precise. The test car’s 1.2 petrol engine is the one to have rather than the lacklustre hybrid. It’s revvy and willing without being quick enough to get you into trouble. You need to make good use of the smooth six-speed gearbox to get the most out of the package but if you do there’s plenty to enjoy. I’m just hoping they produce a Gazoo racing version with a bit more poke.

Toyota C-HR Excel 1.2T

Price: £26,455
Engine: 1.2-litre, four-cylinder, turbo petrol
Power: 114bhp
Torque: 136lb/ft
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
Economy: 55.4mpg
CO2 emissions: 136g/km

Being a modern Toyota, the C-HR is packed to the roof with safety technology. The bundled Safety Sense system includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise, control, lane departure alert, automatic high beam and road sign assist, while our car also had blind spot and rear cross traffic alert.

It’s a strong package and complements a decent kit list that includes park assist, sat nav, online connectivity, auto lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control and keyless entry and start.
All that kit, plus fancy paint, leather upholstery and an upgraded stereo comes at a price – £26,455.

While a Juke or Captur is cheaper and a Qashqai or Ateca offers more practicality the C-HR is about more than either of those. It’s a striking, engaging car for those who want to stand out from the crowd. And stand out you will.

Toyota C-HR Excel

 

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