From £21,2847
New 2.0-litre powertrain gives crossover a healthy amount of additional pep, while infotainment gets welcome updates

Our Verdict

Toyota C-HR

Toyota takes on the Audi Q2 and Mini Countryman with its own ‘fashion’ crossover

Simon Davis
7 November 2019
Toyota C-HR 2.0 VVT-i Hybrid 2019

What is it?

There’s an odd sense of amusement that comes from reminding yourself that the official name for the Toyota C-HR is the Coupé High-Rider. It’s the sort of slightly clunky yet strangely endearing name only a Japanese car maker could be expected to come up with.

Quirky name aside, however, the European-developed, Turkish-built crossover has gone on to do pretty good things for Toyota since its 2016 launch. Across Europe, more than 400,000 examples have been sold, with 50,000 of those finding homes in Britain. In fact, it has helped Toyota account for nearly 40% of the UK’s entire alternatively fuelled vehicle market - provided your definition of alternatively fuelled is flexible enough to include regular old hybrids.

Anyway, the C-HR has been facelifted for 2020, so all the token visual tweaks these sorts of things usually entail are present and correct. They’re subtle (the front grille is slightly wider, the foglights have moved and so on), but – to these eyes, at least – it’s still a strikingly handsome car. More important, however, is the rationalisation of the engine line-up. The 1.2-litre turbo petrol has been dropped in favour of a new 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain closely related to that in the new Corolla and RAV4, the consequence being that, with the existing 1.8-litre powertrain, the C-HR line-up is now 100% hybrid.

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Along with a smaller electric motor, the new 2.0-litre four-pot makes for a total system output of 181bhp. Suspension tweaks such as new shock absorber have been introduced with a view to making this new quicker C-HR that much more engaging, while its noise, vibration and harshness-reducing measures have supposedly been improved, too.

What's it like?

Toyota expects the 2.0-litre model will account for just 25% of total C-HR sales but should satisfy the desire for a peppier, slightly swifter variant that it says its customers have expressed. This sounds like a fair shout, given we thought the 1.8-litre hybrid could feel a bit too weedy a bit too often. 

In any case, while the new 2.0-litre is by no means the quickest car on the planet, its additional poke is welcome. It’s brisk without exactly being rapid, but there’s enough in the way of urgency behind the way it accelerates to make its 8.2sec official 0-62mph time seem entirely credible.

Of course, being paired with a CVT does mean it falls into that old pitfall of requiring a good thrashing to make swift progress, but the NVH improvements seem to be doing their job. That typically gnawing four-cylinder buzz is absolutley audible in such instances, but it remains nicely muffled. And really, the times you need to use all of the throttle pedals travel are fairly few and far between in the real world anyway. Employ a gentler touch and the C-HR is typically smooth and refined in the way that most Toyota hybrids are. No surprises here.

It handles sensibly, too. The steering is light, reasonably quick and accurate. The car takes on corners in a manner that balances an appealing level of responsiveness with laidback nonchalance; it changes directions swiftly, grips assertively and doesn’t feel too rolly-polly. It’s not exactly thrilling, but there is at least a thin veneer of likable engagement on offer.

The ride is suitably pliant, only really becoming agitated on particularly broken surfaces. Interior isolation is also fine, aside from a notable amount of wind noise around door mirrors at motorway speeds. The interior feels typically well made, too, with a seemingly equal focus being placed on both function and form.

The asymmetrical fascia makes for a pleasingly driver-focussed layout, everything is within easy reach and the vast majority of surface materials used look and feel rather swell. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is now standard, too, which is excellent news, considering the standard Toyota infotainment suite is utter pants.

Should I buy one?

There are some issues, though. While rear leg room is plentiful, the C-HR’s sloping roofline eats into head room somewhat, so particularly tall adults may find they have to come over all adolescent and slouch. Also, the boot has a capacity of 358 litres, which is really quite poor. For perspective, the Seat Ibiza supermini has 355 litres.

Then there’s the question of price. Admittedly, this particular car is the top-flight, limited-edition Orange Edition (of which just 500 will come to the UK), so some premium is expected. But even so, £32,595 is quite a lot of money. In fact, in its cheapest form,  the 2.0-litre C-HR still costs £29,645.

It is frugal, though, and when used primarily in urban environments, its ability to run for extended periods on battery power only means there’s every chance you’ll get close to its reasonably lofty WLTP fuel consumption claim. And who’s going to have a problem with that?

Toyota C-HR 2.0 VVT-i Hybrid Dynamic Force Orange Edition specification

Price £32,595 Engine 4cyls, 1,987cc, petrol, plus electric motor Power 181bhp at 6000rpm (combined system output) Torque 140lb ft from 4400-5200rpm (combustion engine only) Gearbox CVT automatic Kerb weight 1485kg 0-62mph 8.2sec Top speed 112mph Economy 52.3-53.3mpg (WLTP) CO2 118-120g/km (WLTP) Rivals Seat Ateca, Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen T-Roc

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Comments
11

10 November 2019
gavsmit wrote:

No thanks.

 

Shame, as Toyota REALLY wanted your business...

7 November 2019

why did they design it to stick up so high?

10 November 2019
Overdrive wrote:

why did they design it to stick up so high?

 

Oh dear, CLEARLY, although not as far as you're concerned, it is safety related, so that drivers eyes are taken as short a distance away from view through windscreen as possible...presumably, you would not agree even now. 

7 November 2019

Really? Why, how many throttle pedals does this car have?

I suspect you mean "the throttle pedal's travel"

See? English isn't that hard. Just a few rules to watch out for. Or just let the technology auto correct. I had to override mine to recreate Autocar's mistake. Robbo

A view from Down Under

10 November 2019
Aussierob wrote:

Really? Why, how many throttle pedals does this car have?

I suspect you mean "the throttle pedal's travel"

See? English isn't that hard. Just a few rules to watch out for. Or just let the technology auto correct. I had to override mine to recreate Autocar's mistake. Robbo

A view from Down Under

 

Needlessly sarcastic post...SO...THAT particular car has FIVE. What you going to do about THAT?. You "SUSPECT"...you then mean you are not completely sure about the so called correction you made to this piece?. Or is it that with your criminally colonial past, you inadvertantly are telling us that you are a SUSPECT?. What misdemeanor did you commit...oh yes...posting to these discussion areas, without knowledge, experience or any semblance of common sense.

 

English isn't that hard...what in terms of grammatically correct language does that mean?. It, like you, makes NO SENSE.

 

English is known to be one of the hardest languages to learn, for non native speakers and as you were typically vague regarding what you meant, I took it upon myself to respond just how it suited me.

 

Go back down your burrow, or where-ever it is that ill educated antipodeans appear from.

 

 

7 November 2019

 If your over six foot you'll know what cars t look at, and if some of your friends are over six feet, then what's a little discomfort matter?

8 November 2019

..for a car with that god awful interior.  Also, 2.0 and a 1.8 surely they could save money by just having the 1 engine with 2 differing power outputs.

10 November 2019
xxxx wrote:

..for a car with that god awful interior.  Also, 2.0 and a 1.8 surely they could save money by just having the 1 engine with 2 differing power outputs.

 

Lovely to see you returning from your stay at her majestys pleasure...so in terms of your beyond stupid suggestion...which particular engine and which two outputs?. FOOL.

8 November 2019

"a strikingly handsome car" ...should have gone to specsavers.

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