Motoring journalist Sue Cooke took the new Toyota C-HR out for a spin – read her review of this latest hybrid below
Research by Kwik Fit found that 17% of motorists estimate they hit more than 30 potholes over the course of just one month – an average of one a day. And it’s comes at a cost to our vehicles. In fact, the cost of pothole damage reported by motorists has risen by 77% in just three years. Tyres, suspension and wheels are taking the brunt of the damage, along with steering, bodywork and exhausts.
So it’s no surprise then that the state of our roads, battered by floods and unrepaired potholes, is one reasons why the sales of SUVs are soaring. They are robust, offer a commanding view of the road ahead and provide an overall feeling of safety. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful too, and the Toyota C-HR has the most attractive exterior design of any of the SUVs I have driven.
An individual ride
Toyota says the C-HR (Coupe High Rider) has been designed specifically for people who want individuality and seek to be the first to try new experiences and products. My ride had a gorgeous bi-tone paint finish, shark fin antenna, projecting wheel arches, and disguised rear door handles that are uniquely integrated into the rear pillars at the top of the door.
The keyless entry gives access to a premium quality interior which is airy and spacious. I found it easy to see what is displayed on the 8 inch touchscreen, which stands proud of the dash as switches and dials are all angled towards the driver. The needles on the analogue instrument dials are illuminated in a bright blue and air conditioning, sat nav and audio are simple to operate while on the move.
I pressed the stop/start button, pushed back into very comfortable seats and relaxed in the extremely quiet interior. There are three equipment grades: Icon, Excel and Dynamic. The C-HR has more accessories available than any other Toyota passenger car with 20 accessory packs and more than 200 individual items that can be fitted by Toyota centres. It creates thousands of potential permutations but of course also adds to the overall price.
Safety must be a priority for buyers of the C-HR and there is a very long list of functions, but the ones that owners might find the most useful include: a Pre-Collision system with pedestrian warning; adaptive cruise control; lane departure alert with steering control; automatic high beam; and road sign assist, which uses the front camera to recognise speed signs and reminds the driver on the multi-information display. This display will also analyse the driver’s driving style, showing progressive fuel economy.
The top-hinged tailgate gives access to a large boot, coping with 377 litres. I found some very useful hooks for keeping shopping bags upright.
I road tested the mid-sized crossover powered by a hybrid motor and the revised 1.8 litre engine, which is built in the UK at Toyota’s Deeside plant. There is also a 1.2 litre turbo petrol engine. There is no difference in driving a hybrid compared to any other car. The SUV will creep silently and at low speed around your local shopping centre and automatically fires up when you accelerate. The difference is in the fuel gauge. I drove 70 miles to a car launch and the indicator remained on full. The difference is also in your pocket as the road tax band is 18/19.
Fifty one per cent of people travelling on UK roads believe potholes are worse now compared to a year ago but Toyota C-HR owners can look forward to comfort, a serene driving environment – and saving money.
Facts at a Glance
- Model: Toyota C-HR hybrid Excel
- Price: £28,120 otr
- Engines: 1.8 litre CVT and hybrid motor
- Performance: 0-62mph in 11seconds and on to a top speed of 105mph
- Combined fuel consumption: 41.54-60.48mpg (WLTP)
- CO2 emissions: 86g/km
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