Diamond design for

Toyota C-HR

Toyota C-HR, 2017, front, static
Toyota C-HR, 2017, front, action
Toyota C-HR, 2017, side
Toyota C-HR, 2017, side, action
Toyota C-HR, 2017, rear
Toyota C-HR, 2017, boot
Toyota C-HR, 2017, dashboard
Toyota C-HR, 2017, instruments
Toyota C-HR, 2017, vent
Toyota C-HR, 2017, cabin
Toyota C-HR, 2017, interior
Toyota C-HR, 2017, pair

IF Dame Shirley Bassey's prediction that Diamonds are Forever is accurate then Toyota's latest model to hit the showrooms will have exceptional longevity.

That's because the all-new C-HR - another crossover - has a design ethos based very much on gemstone architecture and it is guaranteed to stand out in an ever-developing crowd.

The crossover market is the fastest growing segment in the UK so it comes as no surprise that manufacturers are flooding the scene with new models these days.

But the C-HR is a little bit special. Very few cars that are shown as concepts at motor shows go into full production bearing any resemblance to the original design. The C-HR does just that with its striking, angular and somewhat quirky appearance similar to when it was initially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 2014.

The lower grille has diamond-shaped grooves and the slim upper grille stretches neatly into the sculpted headlight clusters.

Coupe-like styling is achieved thanks to disguised rear door handles integrated into the rear pillars, a rising door line and sweeping roofline. A rear spoiler is added to give the vehicle a true sporty appearance.

The diamond theme is just as apparent inside the upmarket, spacious and classy cabin with clear shapes on the instrument clusters, steering wheel, speaker grille, door panels, air vents and even the roof headlining. The car has a really premium feel with quality materials incorporated throughout.

There are two powertrains to choose from but no diesel option. The 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid engine is available with front-wheel drive and with CVT automatic transmission. The 1.2-litre derivative can be selected with either a manual or CVT gearbox and with the option of all-wheel drive.

In addition, there are three richly-equipped trims to choose from. Icon models which Toyota believes will account for 30 per cent of sales start from £20,995 (£23,595 in hybrid); the Excel, which is expected to claim 35 per cent of the sales starts from £23,995 (£26,495 as a hybrid) and the range-topping Dynamic which is also likely to account for 35 per cent of sales is priced at £24,495 (£27,995 hybrid).

Even the entry level model is generously kitted out with an easy-to-operate eight-inch touchscreen and all the connectivity set-ups you could possibly wish for.

All models feature Toyota's acclaimed Safety Sense package which adds features such as a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian recognition, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beam assist.

Toyota believes about 70 to 75 per cent of customers will choose hybrid versions of the car and that the range-topping Dynamic trim will be joint most popular grade. So it was that car that we tried on the winding country roads and fast-paced motorways surrounding Madrid.

The car was priced at £27,995 and can reach from 0-62mph in 11.0 seconds with a maximum speed of 105mph. According to official figures it can deliver combined fuel economy of 72.4mpg (on 18-inch wheels) with carbon emissions 87g/km.

First impressions count and the C-HR is definitely impossible to ignore. It looks quite angular in a day and age where smooth, rounded curves are all the rage, so it immediately stands out. The interior is exceptionally comfortable with striking neon blue trim running the length of the dashboard.

The instrumentation is very driver-focused and delivers all sorts of hybrid information about power usage etc. And the elevated driving position results in great all-round visibility. That said; the rear window is quite narrow so the field of vision is a tad limited.

The hybrid model starts up in complete silence and pulls away smoothly and efficiently as the car works its way through the gears.

The C-HR boasts the lowest centre of gravity in its class and that means there is minimal body roll. This is good news when attacking long, sweeping bends at pace.

The road-holding is beautifully assured and the steering nicely precise. There is a fair amount of engine noise and the CVT gearbox tends to scream when the car is pushed really hard, but the vehicle coped admirably with steep inclines, twisting mountain roads and fast motorways.

Back seat passengers are treated to ample leg and head room, but the ultra-narrow windows do make it a little claustrophobic.

Storage options are good too with a boot capacity of 377 litres, which can be increased to 1,160 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.

It's also worth remembering that the car comes with Toyota's extensive five-year/100,000-mile warranty.

The C-HR, which is built in Turkey, is on sale now with deliveries expected mid-January.

And if you're wondering what C-HR stands for, it's Coupe High-Rider which may sound like the title of a gun-toting Clint Eastwood western, but in fairness to Toyota this fabulous all-rounder with its ground-breaking design is a real headline act in its own rights and guaranteed to scoop plenty of awards. In fact, it would be fair to say it's a gem of a car.


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