Toyota C-HR 1.2

Dynamic

Toyota C-HR, front quarter
Toyota C-HR, 2017, front, static
Toyota C-HR, 2017, front, action
Toyota C-HR, dynamic
Toyota C-HR, rear quarter
Toyota C-HR, 2017, side
Toyota C-HR, 2017, side, action
Toyota C-HR, 2017, rear
Toyota C-HR, boot
Toyota C-HR, interior

TOYOTA could possibly be accused of resting on their laurels a tad, when it comes to the surging SUV sector.

They were among the pathfinders in tall, upright family runabouts with the RAV4 several decades ago.

But since then, new smart, stylish crossovers and SUVs have been spawned by most manufacturers while Toyota relied on the trusty but rather staid RAV.

Nissan came along with the Juke, Vauxhall had the Mokka and Renault the Kadjar, each with racy, cutting edge styling and decent driving dynamics.

Now, Toyota has woken up and hatched their own bold design, the C-HR. With looks straight from the concept car studio it's space age appearance belies a practical five-door with the refinement of a prestige compact saloon and the driving appeal of a warm hatch.

Not everyone will fall for its sharp-edged lines and over-designed mouldings...but it won't go unnoticed in the car park, that's for sure.

Engines are either hybrid-petrol or 1.2-litre turbo petrol, which I tried out last week. With just 1,197cc you'd expect a pretty lethargic performance. But the advanced double-overhead-can four cylinder pumps out an impressive 113bhp and delivers sprightly acceleration and a smooth flow of power.

Sixty comes up in around 10 seconds and it tops out at 118mph. The figures themselves are less remarkable than the ease in which they are achieved. The C-HR has among the quietest and smoothest revving engines in its class.

What's more, it is built on the new world platform which provides big car ride and comfort despite the compact dimensions. Handling and roadholding has more akin to a front drive hatch with a light, well-balanced feel and bags of grip. There's none of that ‘top heavy' feel that spoils cornering in some SUVs.

In keeping with its initials, which stand for Coupe High Rider, you sit relatively high despite the car's low hip-point. The result is good visibility, at least in the front, and plenty of legroom but headroom is less generous. This is particularly noticeable in the rear where the tapering roofline has an effect.

Boot space is about average for the class at 377 litres, but it is less spacious than either the Qashqai or the SEAT Ateca.

The cabin has a quality feel with high grade materials, eight-inch infotainment screen and sat-nav, and flashes of blue aluminium on the door panels and dash...maybe a bit too flashy. High gloss piano black plastic with full leather seating finishes off the Premium Pack version which has a price tag of £27,095.

This car also came with smart metallic grey paintwork and contrasting black roof, a £545 extra.

With emissions of 136g/km, the 1.2-litre turbo isn't particularly frugal. My average of 40.5mpg reflects a mixture of brisk country driving and congested town running.

FAST FACTS

Toyota C-HR 1.2 Dynamic

Price: £27,095

Mechanical:113bhp, 1,197cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 10.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 47.1

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 136g/km

Bik rating: 26%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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