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.
Where will you go?