ANOTHER week another crossover. Even what used to be called, with dreary unimaginative regularity, a pocket rocket is growing extra doors and a raised roofline.
Why anyone would want the embarrassing bulge of a missile in their trousers is beyond me.
I have said many times that the enduring problem with crossover is you can'tget a Rizla between them when it comes to exterior styling.
Like underwear, they get progressively larger, have nothingreally distinctive but colour and are sexy as lead. A great idea but basically the same at different prices.
However look at this. Totally new, available as a hybrid and at last a version of the genre with attitude. The Toyota C-HR cat scarer.
While all around are dressed in Princess Leia frocks here is one wearingJudge Dredd's vest and a Darth Vadar mask.
It is not actually on the road until next month but touted around the Christmas shopping heads turned and jaws dropped. As they say on social media, a WTF reaction.
Toyota describes the C-HR as sculpted. No it's not. It is die-cast. It has more angles than the Russian mafia. The front end is aggressive and the roofline ending in a dirt-in-your-face spoiler. The only complaint with this dramatic rear is that it compromises vision slightly.
The C-HR appeals to me on the outside as much as my wife. Or Kelly Brook. But what happens when you get in it? Here is the work of designers who got the message. The main player in a car is the driver not a baby seat obsession.
You sit in the cockpit rather than on it and are surrounded with logical switches, including the increasingly popular toggle arrangements and a large touch-screen for the navigator, extensive entertainment bill of fare, Bluetooth and reversing camera.
All this would matter not a jot without forward momentum. Expect the hybrid to be a popular choice, Hybrids are what Toyota do. However, this here is a very clever 1.2-litre turbocharged automatic with four-wheel drive, not fast but sharp and enjoyable.
Over 11 earth seconds elapse before hitting 62mph and it costs all but a fiver short of £28,000, over £30,000 if you add on pearly paint and a premium pack, which fully leathers up the part-hide heated seats.
As for economy, stop-start save the planetsphere technology is everything today. Or is it? I am terminally bored with engines which cut out to save a thimble of diesel. Even with cold-fusion ion drive I reckon 50mpg is my maximum.
Let's get real, stop gassing my sheep and enjoy small-capacity petrol turbo technology.
If you can get a combined 40mpg from this car rejoice. The smoothness and cultured ride far outweigh the frugal promises of sackcloth and ashes diesels and tax is still only mid-range £145 a year.
In Dynamic spec there is the Toyota pre-collision system, automated high beam, pedestrian warning and all the stability and braking assists we have come to demand.
Clearly you will struggle to shunt this car while remotely sober but as a precaution the seats are designed to reduce the effects of whiplash.
The days when 360 degree vison the talents of Doris Stokes were needed are but a fading memory. Crossing traffic from the rear is monitored and blind spots are radar protected.
For your comfort and convenience everyday functions are automated and there are parking sensors and park assist.
Practicality? Well it has a boot. A good boot. It is not exactly a dance hall in the back but neither will passengers feel cramped.
I can't find anything not to like about C-HR. It may be late for school in the small crossover segment but is arguably the best car I have driven all year.
The first crossover for as long as I have had teeth which captures the imaginationand tells the neighbours to back off or the hamster gets it.