By Stewart Smith on 2016-11-20 - Stewart was the former motoring editor of the Coventry Telegraph and is now a freelance contributor to Eurekar. He is based in Scotland and specialises in First Drive reviews.
Toyota C-HR a real
WHEN concept cars appear at major motor shows they nearly always have the "wow" factor, but when they eventually appear in the showroom their design is usually well toned down.
That's not the case with Toyota's latest crossover, the C-HR which is now on sale in the UK with first deliveries in January.
The C-HR, which means Coupe High-Rider, is designed to stand out both within the Toyota line-up and in the crossover market where nearly every auto manufacturer is expanding.
As for as looks the C-HR is a motor that will stand out from the crowd and at the car's launch in Spain it gained a lot of attention.
Toyota designers developed it with a diamond shaped theme with prominent, projecting wheel arches, a powerful lower body and raised ground clearance with slim, sleek cabin profile of a coupe.
The coupe-like theme includes disguised rear door handles and the sweeping roofline ends with a rear spoiler which gives it a racy look.
Up front the sharp design continues with slim wrap-around lights and a large air dam below.
The interior is a step up, with quality upholstery, piano black dash and all switches and buttons within easy reach of the driver.
In the centre is an eight-inch display touchscreen to control the latest Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system. Toyota Touch 2 also provides satellite navigation and access to on-line services.
Boot space isn't bad and with the rear seats tipped forward there is a fair amount of space for bulkier items.
The C-HR comes in three grades: Icon, Excel and Dynamic, but all come with a goodly range of safety and convenience kit.
On all levels Toyota's Safety Sense package includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering control, automatic high beam and road sign recognition.
Excel grade models feature heated front seats, a smart entry system, rear privacy glass, part-leather upholstery, simple intelligent park-assist, Toyota Touch 2 with Go, 18-inch alloy wheels, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.
Toyota is a leader with it comes to hybrid and the new C-HR, which isn't available as a diesel, is no exception.
In fact Toyota expects around 75 per cent of buyers of the new crossover will opt for the hybrid version.
It has maximum power output of 120bhp and produces CO2 emissions from as low as 86g/km with an impressive claimed combined cycle fuel consumption figures of just 74.3mpg.
The C-HR is also available with the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine which is also featured in the Auris range. It develops 114bhp with CO2 missions from 134g/km with a CVT box (135g/km with manual transmission) and combined cycle fuel consumption from 47.9mpg. It is also available either with front or all-wheel drive.
On a comprehensive route in and around Madrid I drove the 1.8-litre hybrid and was pretty impressed with its overall ability as far and handling goes.
On hilly and twisty roads it cornered well with little body roll and on motorway stretches it isn't the fastest around with a top speed of just 105mph.
Acceleration isn't mind-blowing either, at zero to 62mph in 11 seconds but probably fast enough for those opting for a steady motor and not boy racer thrills.
There is a fair bit of whining when the CVT auto box changes up if you boot it really hard but I think your driving style would adapt to a smoother use of the gas pedal.
Built in Turkey, Toyota expects to sell around 100,000 in the UK in a full year and don't regard the C-HR as a niche model.
Prices for the C-HR start at £20,995 for the Icon 1.2T manual and on up to £27,995 for the Dynamic 1.8 Hybrid four-wheel-drive.
If looks alone can sell a motor then the C-HR is in with a shout and will appeal to anyone wanting style and something a bit different, plus the quality that Toyota is famous for.
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