Unfortunately for MotorMartin the opportunity to own the all new Ford GT40 has probably already passed but that hasn’t stopped the top floor of MotorMartin Towers being excited to see that the first road-going version of the all-new 2017 Ford GT has rolled off the line. An event that heralds the beginning of production of the long-awaited halo car from Ford Performance.
In this new, low-volume assembly facility at Multimatic in Markham, Ontario, Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development, and chief technical officer, marked today’s milestone by driving a Ford GT off the assembly line.
“When we kicked off 2016, we had two primary objectives for our Ford GT supercar – to excel at Le Mans, and to start deliveries before year-end,” shared Nair with MotorMartin recently, “We’ve achieved both.”
“For everyone involved in designing and developing this car, including all of our employees and suppliers, this is a moment to celebrate,” he adds. “The all-new Ford GT is a showcase of our strength in innovation and our commitment to delivering more for our customers – especially related to light-weight materials, aerodynamics and EcoBoost® engine technologies.”
Ford GT was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January 2015. Less than two years later, Ford Performance is now delivering the first cars to customers around the globe. And what a New Years present that will be for those lucky few.
For photos and video highlights of the Ford GT Job 1 ceremony, MotorMartin recommends that you click here. For more information on Ford GT, please visit www.fordgt.com it still looks absolutely fabulous. Congratulations Ford and Ford Performance on a job well done.
There’s certainly no denying that Mazda‘s decision to take their evergreen MX-5 back to the spirit and feel of the original Mk1 was the right decision, a fact backed up by its remarkable success out on the forecourts across this green and pleasant land of ours and in the magazines and digital reviews published so far.
And now Mazda is hoping to build upon all of this positivity and for things to turn a little Arctic this winter with the launch of the latest special edition version of the award-winning MX-5 convertible. On sale from February, the new Mazda MX-5 Arctic aims to brighten winter days with its free-of-charge Blue Reflex Metallic paint and contrasting bright silver design cues.
Based on the 1.5-litre 131ps SE-L Nav, Mazda have shared with MotorMartin that the MX-5 Arctic’s striking silver details contrast attractively against the icy blue paint. With 16-inch Silver alloy wheels, a silver windscreen surround, silver wing mirrors and silver headrest hoops the Arctic has the distinctive look you’d expect of an MX-5 special edition and continues the trend of offering sports car customers a striking car at an affordable price.
It’s not just the exterior that has had time spent on it as inside, the stand-out feel continues with silver cup holder rings and chrome scuff plates, while the upgraded equipment tally includes heated leather seats, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and rear parking sensors. Limited to just 400 cars this UK exclusive special edition features a numbered limited edition badge on the dashboard. Best get that deposit sorted pretty quickly then.
MotorMartin has been made aware that this is in fact the second MX-5 to wear the Arctic badge, the latest car revisits a name last used on the second-generation MX-5 in 2005. Available with 1.6i and 1.8i engines the original MX-5 Arctic was offered in a choice of Sunlight silver, Titanium grey or Razor Blue paint and the standard equipment tally included air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, heated dark blue leather seats, blue door inserts and chrome detailing on the window mountings and still looks fantastic today.
Commenting on the launch of the new MX-5 Arctic, Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director of Mazda Motors UK informed MotorMartin that: “We are delighted to offer another special version of the award-winning MX-5 convertible; we’ve had a long history of producing distinctive limited edition MX-5s that allow customers to drive a sports car with stand-out looks and enhanced standard equipment. The new MX-5 Arctic’s exclusive looks and great value mean it’s sure to be a popular choice when it arrives in dealerships early next year”.
Looks like another fantastic addition to the MX-5 family, congratulations Mazda.
The Toyota C-HR has been causing quite a stir since launch with respect to the rather incredible styling that Toyota have seen fit to adorn their all new SUV with and in MotorMartin’s opinion, is absolutely stunning. All of which made it a simple enough decision to take up the kind offer from Charles Clark Toyota of Wolverhampton, tel:01902690044, to pop down to the Midlands to spend the day in two different versions of the C-HR, a 1.2 litre Turbo 6-speed manual followed by the much anticipated 1.8 litre Hybrid e-CVT.
The C-HR looks like nothing else on the forecourt today sporting, as it does, styling that would appear to have come from another time and place. Toyota themselves have said that the C-HR is a completely new type of car: inspired by the multifaceted precision of a diamond with a sculptured look and powerfully expressive lines. You can certainly see where Toyota are going with this simple comparison as the bold creases that adorn the bodywork, particularly those that swoop down from the front wheel arches and along the doors before swooping up and over the bulging rear arches, cleverly drawing your eyes along the car’s profile, no doubt as Toyota intended.
The fantastically brutal front end styling is both aggressive and aerodynamic all at the same time and in MotorMartin’s opinion, presents us with something fresh and exciting amongst the increasingly generic SUV market. I particularly like how the technologically superior headlights, housing, as they do, quite superb triple LED running lights and up to the minute sequential indicators, swoop confidently from the grill right up to and across the front wings.
Not forgetting the rear of the Toyota, the statement Boomerang shaped lights combine perfectly with the rear spoiler, sharply raked rear tailgate and rear diffuser to leave you in no doubt as to the precision and clear thinking applied during all aspects of the C-HR’s design. It really is something new and quite unforgettable.
The Toyota though, needs the performance to match it’s groundbreaking look and fortunately this is an area in which it delivers in abundance. Designed to provide the driver with the dynamic feel and handling of a hatchback whilst offering the advantages of an SUV, Toyota have been able to call on all of their past experience with road and race to give the requisite level of excitement and practicality that a good engine and handling package must have.
The duality of function allows the driver to press on when the road and traffic allow, exploiting the C-HR’s excellent handling when making progress through the bends yet still offering a flexible, economical and efficient package that works just as well when commuting or on the school run.
Driving around Wolverhampton for the first time, I couldn’t have chosen a better car to do so in. The slightly raised driving position offers clear sightlines, whilst the light steering and simple controls allow you to concentrate on the many positive points that the C-HR has to offer. A quality interior is standard across all three specifications of C-HR, providing comfort for five adults whilst the contoured sports seats give excellent support and feel for the driver and front passengers.
The swooping front dashboard feels like it wraps around the driver, providing an up to date mix of technology and styling including Toyota’s excellent Touch 2 Multimedia system with Bluetooth, Go Navigation and rear camera whilst the C-HR also provides Toyota Safety Sense (Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Road Sign Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Automatic High Beam) and in Excel and Dynamic specification, Intelligent Park Assist with Front and Rear Parking Sensors. You really don’t want for anything in this well specified Toyota.
As previously stated, MotorMartin was at Charles Clark Toyota in Wolverhampton to drive two different versions of the superb looking Toyota C-HR, the 1.2 Petrol Turbo producing 115 hp and CO2 of 136 g/km and the 1.8 Petrol Hybrid producing 122 hp and CO2 of 87 g/km, both engines providing the modern driver with a very difficult choice to make as either option provide a gutsy, flexible drive that offers up to 47.9 and 74.3 mpg respectively. Impressive figures indeed.
Highlighting which engine to choose is not as easy as you’d first imagine, especially when looking at the specifications alone. With both engines producing roughly the same power you’d expect their on the road manners to be similar but nothing could be further from the truth. The 1.2 Petrol Turbo revs eagerly and compliments the quite outrageous styling of the exterior, allowing the C-HR to hold its own amongst traffic and away from the lights. In fact, once up to speed, the Toyota is a smooth and willing performer, remaining calm and quiet despite the obvious fun involved when encouraging the Turbo charger to spin up. An activity that the smooth automatic gearbox and quick revving engine positively force you into.
The 1.8 Petrol Hybrid is where Toyota believe most of their European sales will come from, despite the excellence of their smaller Turbo engine, especially as the Hybrid is a development of the engine that has been doing really rather well in the same companies Prius, a car you may have already heard about. The benefits of Hybrid power, especially when it’s as well developed as the Toyota’s, are the savings to be made due to the environmentally friendly nature of the power plant, both in annual Vehicle Tax and at the Petrol pumps as well as the knowledge that you’re driving around in a vehicle that won’t be contributing quite so much towards future issues.
Driving wise, the 1.8 Petrol Hybrid is a little beauty, perfectly developed for ‘real life’ motoring needs. It’s plenty fast enough for everyday life, performing superbly in and around the busy streets of Wolverhampton, a task made much easier using the fully integrated Sat NAV on the intuitive 8-inch touch screen as well as being a relaxing motorway performer, cosseting the driver in a cabin that, according to Toyota themselves: offers luxury as standard. Setting off using electric power only is really rather strange at first but becomes quite addictive as your familiarity with the Toyota increases over time. Becoming somewhat of a mission to extend those periods of electric only power before the Petrol engine chimes seamlessly into the driving experience, all whilst watching the average mpg figure increasing on the clear TFT panel in between the main rev/power dial and the more traditional speedometer. This is a quality powetrain built into a quality car.
Overall this is an extremely enjoyable car, it offers superb value for money, especially when you consider that amazing styling and the technical specification of the C-HR. It offers the modern performance, economy and efficiency that drivers demand combined with something truly original and unique. You’ve the best characteristics of a hatchback and an SUV and If you want to stand out for all the right reasons, I can think of no better vehicle available today. Toyota surely have a winner on their hands here. The hardest decision is which Specification to go for, especially with the 1.2 Petrol Turbo starting at a very reasonable £20,995 and the 1.8 Petrol Hybrid beginning at £23,595.
And if it were MotorMartin’s money?
It would have to be the 5 door Crossover Dynamic, 1.8 Petrol Hybrid (122 HP,) Automatic. The perfect combination.
As regular readers will know, MotorMartin is now back in the saddle and thoroughly enjoying being on two wheels once more, after a break that went on for far too long. So any story regarding motorcycling, road or sport, is now directed toward the top of the pile on the top floor newsdesk here at MotorMartin Towers.
Therefore, when Ducati come calling with news regarding their latest Superbike information, it’s virtually impossible for MotorMartin to ignore. Especially with news that the 959 Panigale is an incredible addition to the Superbike family, sharing, as it does, the same innovative stylistic features that characterise its ‘bigger brother’, the 1299 Panigale. Ducati have now shared with MotorMartin that their ‘Supermid’ 959 is enhanced with Ducati Performance accessories to create a stunning 959 Panigale Ducati Performance limited edition. Fantastic news.
To justify the cost involved, Ducati have made sure that the 959 Panigale Special Edition comes with the best of the best when it comes to parts such as the Akrapovic titanium racing silencer exhaust system, as well as components made from carbon fibre and billet aluminium.
MotorMartin has been informed that a limited number of just 25 bikes will be offered to customers in the UK market only, with each bike being individually numbered by laser etching the steering head and accessorised to truly unleash the full potential of the 959 Panigale.
And that this limited-edition bike is available with two options, the Ducati Performance option at a retail price of £15,995 or with the carbon pack can be added at an additional cost of £1000. Best start saving.
The Ducati Performance option comes with the titanium Akrapovic under-engine racing silencer exhaust system and lower fairings, a billet race tank filler cap, racing articulated levers, brake lever protection, a plastic seat cowl and Ducati Corse oversized screen.
Additionally, Ducati have explained, you can have the carbon pack which comes with a carbon ignition switch cover, carbon shock cover, carbon heel guards, carbon and alloy tail tidy, carbon front sprocket cover, billet aluminium handlebar weights, carbon fuel tank protector, carbon shark-fin chain guard and carbon rear mudguard.
Two very special Ducati’s that continue the tradition of taking standard bikes that are already extremely desirable and making them even better. What’s the secret Ducati?
MotorMartin was fortunate recently to spend a week with Kia’s rather marvellous Picanto 1.0 litre SR7 Edition, a rather superb little City Car that received a positive review due to its do anything and go anywhere personality, which can be read about here as well as MotorMartin’s YouTube review which showed off the Kia’s attention to detail and excellent looks. So the following news, once safely arrived on the top floor of MotorMartin Towers, was received with great excitement. After all, if Kia have managed to improve the looks and performance of the smallest car in their range then it’s going to be very hard to beat.
Kia Motors have shared with MotorMartin the first design details of the Picanto, the third-generation of one of Kia’s global best-selling cars.
The new Picanto, Kia say, combines a youthful and energetic new exterior and interior design with greater potential for customer personalization, inside and out. Retaining its characteristically compact dimensions, the new Picanto conveys a more assertive stance through bolder body lines and a vibrant colour palette and in MotorMartin’s opinion, looks fabulous.
Inside, the car’s suite of high-tech comfort, convenience and safety features is underscored by a modern and refined new cabin design, with smarter packaging efficiency than ever before.
Kia’s have explained to MotorMartin that their all-new A-segment city car will be fully revealed early in 2017 and MotorMartin can’t wait.
The Kia Niro is one of the cars that MotorMartin is looking forward to driving in 2017 as it looks great, includes some innovative thinking on the technology front and reports already suggest that it is great to drive as well. Combine all of that with a superb potential mpg and you have what could be, in MotorMartin’s opinion, a truly ‘real life’ motor car. So when Kia got in contact with the newsdesk, here at MotorMartin Towers, recently to discuss their impressive Niro, a palpable crackle of excitement could be felt.
Arriving at New York City Hall in downtown Manhattan, the 2017 Kia Niro officially received a Guinness World Record® title for the lowest fuel consumption driving across the USA from coast to coast (hybrid car). The new record-setting mark is an incredible 76.6 mpg. A quite staggering achievement.
“We’re extremely pleased with the Niro’s record-breaking performance,” shared Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning Kia Motors America, with MotorMartin recently. “We set out to build a vehicle that offers real-world utility, great looks and fantastic mileage, and setting the Guinness World Record® title confirms our achievement.”
Kia have explained to MotorMartin that the Niro EX was driven by Wayne Gerdes of Carlsbad, California, and co-driver Robert Winger of Williamsburg, Virginia, 3,715.4 miles from Los Angeles City Hall to New York City Hall using only 48.5 gallons or 4.1 tanks of fuel. The vehicle was not altered in any way for the attempt, which makes this achievement even more impressive.
There can’t be many of us out there that have not seen, or are completely unaware of the classic coming of age movie, the Graduate, released in 1967, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anna Bancroft. Perhaps though, for the petrol heads amongst us, even more memorable than Anna Bancroft slowly and sensually removing her stockings was the bright red Italian car that our hero, Dustin found himself driving, a 1966, Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider Duetto.
And I don’t think that it’s too big a jump to extrapolate that the Alfa’s starring role created and cemented the Spider’s reputation as a svelte, sexy sportster that all young men (and women) should be seen out and about in. After all, this was a car that seemingly had it all, Gorgeous Pininfarina styling married to a 5 speed gearbox and a lusty twin cam 1570cc engine that just begged to be revved. Reports at the time praised the Alfa’s great handling, sharp steering and excellent all-round disc braking. Added to all of the above, the Spider was also quicker than it’s direct rival, the equally good looking MGB.
The original 1966 car was, sadly, not with us for long, superseded fairly rapidly by the incoming 1750 Spider Veloce after only 18 months. It wasn’t even as if the new model was a radical rethink of the Duetto as it was brought out solely to introduce Alfa fans to a more powerful 1779cc twin-cam engine, uprated suspension and better brakes. Then, in 1969, after just three years in production, the 1750 Spider Veloce was uprated and became the 2000 Spider with its 2000cc twin cam engine. Lovely.
Incredibly, the 2000 Spider carried Alfa through the 70s and 80s, before a final restyle in 1990 when Pininfarina was, once again, given the responsibility for making the Spider suitable for the 1990s leading to the ageing two seater being rounded off with smoother bumpers and slimmer rear light clusters whilst adding a new fuel-injected engine as well as power steering to extend the Alda’s life for three more years.
So there you go, a car that became famous through its association with Dustin and Anne, before going on to be recognised as a classic in its own right. After all, this is a two seater sports car that remained in production for nearly 30 years with a shape that remained instantly recognisable throughout.
Where then did this leave the Alfa Romeo Spider fan once the final edition had driven off into the distance? Taking with it, almost three decades of hopes and dreams into the Italian hills. Fast forward then to 1996 where, arriving upon our green and pleasant land, was the groundbreaking Pininfarina styled, all new 2.0-litre 16v Twinspark Spider. And my word, didn’t it just look fantastic.
This was most definitely a worthy successor to the original 60s model, encompassing the same heady mix of Italian styling mixed with a throaty and lustful engine. An engine that provided character as well as go in equal measures. The styling, much like the engine, is unmistakably Alfa Romeo, from it’s trademark triangular grille, through those distinctive twin circular headlamps to the classic curves of the pretty rear. Back in 1996 this was a revolutionary shape and one which, in my opinion, still looks just as good today, a mere 20 years later.
Once again, it could be argued that Alfa did not quite realise what they had created as with a constant cycle of revisions and improvements, the Spider could have remained current and competitive right up to the present, so good was the original. The public though, had to wait until April 2001 to get the 218bhp 24v V6 engine already available in the hard top GTV. The original 2.0-litre models were then made available in Turismo and Lusso trims. Rather swiftly, for Alfa Romeo, it was only a short wait until the summer of 2003 when new 2.0JTS and 3.2-litre V6 engines were announced and a mild facelift was unveiled, chiefly involving a larger front grille.
This version of the venerable Spider continued to be built right up until 2005, delighting fans of the marque as well as those who just wanted to experience that, oh so Italian, mix of style and substance that is associated with the Spider nomenclature.
There have of course been further roadsters from Alfa sporting that evocative Spider designation but for me, it is the original and it’s first descendant that truly deserve to be held in such high regard combining, as they do, all the classic Alfa Romeo traits that you want in a sportscar.
As previously discussed, MotorMartin was fortunate to chat with the ever lovely Karen from the Swansway Group, a large multi franchise operation based in Crewe (01270 419061,) when they rung with the offer of the Scirocco R-Line Black Edition and it would have been extremely rude and remiss to say no, wouldn’t it?
Stepping into the Scirocco the first thing you notice is how far you have to lower yourself down into the sporty leather driver seat, it feels like your sitting on the floor of the Volkswagen and reminded MotorMartin very much of getting into a late MK3 Ford Capri from back in the day. This is by no means a criticism, merely an example of the sporting driving position that the Scirocco places you into. It’s a seating position unlike other hot hatches, which can’t always disguise their more humdrum origins, and gives you a real sense of purpose from the moment you relax into the sporty heated leather seat and begin to make yourself comfortable.
Dominating your eyeline is the positioning of the three dials above the centre console angled towards the driver, the most important of which is the turbo boost. That’s right, turbo boost. Now I don’t know if it’s MotorMartin’s 1980s Essex upbringing, but placing a turbo boost dial in a car instantly and without any argument, makes the car much, much better, faster and, of course, sexier. And make no mistake, as previously discussed in part 1, this is a gorgeous, standout sportscar with styling to match.
With the Scirocco representing the best that Volkswagen have to offer, the feel and quality of the interior is beyond reproach. The steering and seats are infinitely adjustable whilst everything that you touch or press has a reassuring solidity with carefully chosen materials and lighting that creates a quite superior ambience. The result of this careful attention to the details make this a very comfortable and special place to spend time in. In MotorMartin’s opinion, this really does set the benchmark for car interiors that is very hard to beat. Superb indeed.
The technology that Volkswagen have designed into the Scirocco is equally impressive, including, as it does, duel zone climate control, heated leather seats, parking sensors, front and rear, ultrasonic audible with audio volume reduction when activated and an optical parking display via vehicle’s audio system, coasting function in Eco mode (all DSG engines), dusk sensor, automatic driving lights, hill hold function, speed sensitive power-assisted steering, multifunction computer, includes visual gear change recommendation for improved fuel consumption (manual gearbox only), electronic odometer, trip, service interval display and fuel gauge, sports instrument dials, warning ‘lights on’ buzzer, composition media system, 6.5″ colour touch-screen, Bluetooth telephone and audio connection for compatible devices, DAB digital radio receiver, MDI (MultiDeviceInterface) via USB connection – compatible products only, music playback from MP3, WMA and AAC files – SD card reader, simultaneous pairing of 2 compatible mobile devices, single CD player, SMS functionality – read, compose and send SMS messages using touch-screen display (when stationary, compatible Android smartphones only), Title and cover art display. And I could go on, suffice to say that the higher the specification model you find yourself in, the more features you get.
But it’s the driving experience, over everything else, that defines this most sporting of Volkswagen. After all, there are already enough cars out there on the forecourts of this green and pleasant land of ours, whose looks promise so much but ultimately fail to deliver, something that the Scirocco certainly has no reason to worry about.
Rather than spend the weekend pottering between everyday family jobs, the supermarket, swimming lessons and such like, tasks that the Scirocco is supremely capable of undertaking with complete comfort and efficiency but that’s not what you want to hear about. I think that it’s safe to say that this is a car that offers something more, a sense of purpose that envelops you the moment you close the drivers door and switch on the engine. With that in mind, a drive to the superb driving roads and scenery of Anglesey, North Wales seemed like a true test of the VW’s abilities and, let’s be honest, a fantastic day out for MotorMartin.
Heading out from Bradford, West Yorkshire and onto the extended tedium of the M62, showed the composure offered by the Scirocco at motorway speeds, cruising at 70mph (for the few occasions where the Highways Agency have forgotten to set the limit to 50mph for the incredible amount of non existent roadworks that appear to permanently feature across this motorway, the M60, M6 and others.) and the Volkswagen proves itself to be an extremely comfortable and efficient motorway cruiser. In fact, MotorMartin would question why you would need to look anywhere else if you regularly travel further afield and wish to do so in a sporting, yet practical fashion.
Suspension that delivers a superb ride means that the miles pass easily by allowing you the time to appreciate the power delivery from the 2.0 litre TDI 150 PS engine with it’s DSG gearbox. As with most diesel powerplants, the torque available, 251 lbs/ft at 1750, provides a distinctive shove in the back when you put your foot down as the Scirocco delivers so low down in the rev range. And it’s this performance that becomes so addictive once the incredible driving roads of North Wales and Anglesey come in to view.
The six speed automatic DSG gearbox allows for the Volkswagen to decide upon the optimum gear selection for any given situation, a job that the electronic brain does really rather well and yet, for those wanting to be more in control when the tarmac stretches out into the distance, the flappy paddles behind the steering wheel allow for manual selection and a deeper and perhaps more involved connection with the driving experience. The technology works brilliantly, allowing the driver to exploit that torque and get the drive necessary to connect the bends into one, seamless and flowing blend of straights and corners.
Volkswagen’s design department clearly have strong links with their all conquering motorsports programme as, directly or indirectly, the Volkswagen commitment to winning is clearly threaded throughout the research and development that took place bringing all of their ideas to fruition. The way that you can place the car exactly where you want it to be on the road is almost subliminal. Think of the action and before you know it the Volkswagen is ready for more, it’s as if it is working on a whole new level, a tier above its direct competition. It really is that impressive.
And upon Anglesey’s deserted, twisting roads?
The Scirocco was fantastic, not only had it transported MotorMartin, family and picnic in comfort over a three hundred and fifty ‘ish mile day but it had also been the perfect GT car on the motorway and A roads and then, by placing the gearbox into sport, the Scirocco was transformed, just as the roads were upon arrival on Anglesey. As a sports car, the Volkswagen R-Line Black Edition 2.0 litre TDI 150 PS is a genuinely great piece of engineering and excellence, it feels great from the moment that you lower yourself down into those beautiful leather seats and point the front wheels towards the twists and turns ahead. The fact that it does so whilst looking so great is more than just a happy coincidence. Volkswagen have refined and improved their Scirocco since its launch way back in the summer of 2008 and, in MotorMartin’s opinion, they have a stunning, modern sports car on their books.
MotorMartin is about ‘real life’ motoring, that ability of a car, no matter the type or style, to put a smile on the face of the driver. To offer that difficult to achieve combination of fun and practicality that MotorMartin looks for is surely the holy grail of the mainstream manufacturer, after all, that is surely what we all want, other than the aspirational cars that we can only dream about.
The Scirocco, particularly in R-Line Black specification, is a car that does everything that you could possibly want or need. A starting price, according to the wonderful Swansway Volkswagen, of £21,040 must surely go down as a bargain, whilst a call to Crewe Volkswagen on 01270 449164 or Wrexham Volkswagen on 01978 800554, both members of the Swansway Group, will show the wide range of finance packages and offers available and are well worth a call.
Relaxing in the opulent, marble covered reception area of MotorMartin Towers last week was interrupted by a very interesting phone call from the impressive Charles Clark Toyota based down in Wolverhampton and who can be contacted on 01902690044 and I’m certainly glad that they did. On the table was an offer to drive the all new Toyota C-HR, an incredibly styled hatchback crossed with an SUV, and to give some feedback as to first thoughts and impressions. A job that MotorMartin was more than happy to do. All of which is how MotorMartin and the mysterious Mr S, found themselves heading down through the darkness and mist, finally arriving in the faraway, strange and exotic lands of the Black Country late one morning last week.
All of which, brings us rather nicely to this, the Toyota C-HR, a crossover that has been causing quite a stir since launch with respect to the rather incredible styling, the C-HR looks like nothing else on the forecourt today sporting, as it does, styling that would appear to have come from the far future. Toyota have said that the C-HR is: inspired by the multifaceted precision of a diamond with a sculptured look and powerfully expressive lines.
With bold creases adorning the bodywork, particularly those that swoop down from the front wheel arches and along the doors before swooping up and over the bulging rear arches, the C-HR looks spectacular in the flesh whilst the brutal front end is both aggressive and aerodynamic. I particularly like how the headlights, housing as they do, quite superb triple LED running lights and up to the minute sequential indicators, swoop confidently from the front grill right up to and across the front wings. The rear of the Toyota with it’s Boomerang shaped lights, combine perfectly with the rear spoiler, sharply raked rear tailgate and rear diffuser to leave you in no doubt as to the precision and clear thinking applied during all aspects of the C-HR’s design process. This Toyota really is something new and unforgettable.
The Toyota gives the driver the dynamic feel and handling of a hatchback combined with the advantages of an SUV, giving the excitement and practicality that a good engine and handling package must provide. Of the two engines tested by MotorMartin, the 1.2 Petrol Turbo giving 115 hp and CO2 of 136 g/km and the 1.8 Petrol Hybrid producing 122 hp and CO2 of 87 g/km, means that both engines offer the modern driver with a very difficult choice to make as either option provide plenty of gutsy, flexible drive giving up to 47.9 and 74.3 mpg respectively.
Driving around Wolverhampton for the first time, I couldn’t have chosen a better car to do so in. The slightly raised driving position offers clear sightlines, whilst the light steering and controls allow you to concentrate clearly on the road and traffic ahead. A quality interior is standard across all three specifications of C-HR, providing comfort for five adults whilst the contoured sports seats give excellent support and comfort for the driver and front passenger.
The swooping front dashboard provides an up to date mix of technology and styling including Toyota’s excellent Touch 2 Multimedia system with Bluetooth, Go Navigation and rear camera whilst the C-HR also provides Toyota Safety Sense (Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Road Sign Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Automatic High Beam) and in Excel and Dynamic specification, Intelligent Park Assist with Front and Rear Parking Sensors. You really don’t want for anything in this well specified Toyota.
Overall, this is an extremely enjoyable car, it offers superb value for money, being available from just £20,995. It offers thoroughly modern performance, economy and efficiency combined with styling that is truly original and unique. You’ve the best characteristics of a hatchback and SUV combined in a stunning package. Toyota surely have a winner on their hands.