Toyota C-HR Hybrid road test report and review: With the styling of a Transformer, DAVID HOOPER puts the Toyota C-HR to the test – a hybrid which actually works in the real world.
FEW would argue that Toyota’s C-HR is one of the more distinctive cars to have gone on sale in the last couple of years bringing the styling of a Transformer to the crossover market.
I think it looks brilliant, but with its high waistline and pseudo coupe styling, is it a case of style over function?
Introducing the hybrid electric powertrain to the crossover market, the C-HR is a five-door car which features rear door handles discreetly set high near the tapering rear windows, providing an initiative test for rear passengers to access the car. Once inside, some of my passengers initially found it a bit claustrophobic, but then went on to appreciate its cosseting nature, but the small rear windows may limit visibility for small children in car seats.
Space in the back of the car is quite generous and rear headroom good, while its boot is of generous proportions.
Visibility from the front seats is good, with a light and airy feel to the cabin, and the car I tested was packed with all the latest gadgets, including radar cruise control, rear view cameras and a system which will park the car for you, which it did perfectly when I tried it a couple of times.
The C-HR I’ve been driving features Toyota’s proven Hybrid Synergy Drive system which is based around a 1.8-litre engine, although a 1.2-litre petrol engine option is also offered. This hybrid model impressed me more than most as its fuel consumption in real-world conditions is comparable to that of a diesel. The car achieved 53mpg over a distance of around 800 miles, so a proper test, which saw it tackle the full remit of road and driving conditions, as well as some high speed work, contrasted with some very steadily paced commuting, so impressive stuff.
Many full hybrid systems I’ve driven previously have left me impressed with the technology which works seamlessly, switching between petrol engine and battery power, or using a combination of the two, but disappointed with the overall economy due to the fact that for most of the time they are relying, in many cases, on a large petrol engine which returns no more than 35-40mpg overall.
This C-HR doesn’t, it has a 1.8-litre petrol engine which is much more economical, however official fuel testing figures of up to 83.1 mpg on the urban cycle, or 74.3 combined, are not to be believed.
On the road the car handles well and is quiet and refined most of the time, although the CVT gearbox does allow the engine to race when full power is demanded which can be a bit tiresome. It is dynamically competent when you need to “make progress” and has a top speed of 105mph and a decent 0-62mph time of 11 seconds, but at £27,210 for the model I tested, which includes its metallic paint, it isn’t cheap, but on the plus side, it only costs £95 per year to tax, thanks to its low C02 rating of 86g/km.
The C-HR is refreshingly different in a monotony of jelly moulds, is good to drive and returns respectable economy, so an excellent all-rounder, but do check out those rear seats before you buy one.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Toyota C-HR Design Hybrid 1.8 5-door
ENGINE: 1798cc 4 cylinder in-line 1.8-litre Atkinson Cycle petrol engine and Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive, driving front wheels through an electric CVT transmission.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 105mph. 0-62mph in 11 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 83.1mpg.
Wheel World test average: 53mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS: 86g/km.
FUEL TANK: 45 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 14
WARRANTY: 5 years, 100,000 miles
• All data correct at time of publication.