By on 2017-06-03 -
Toyota C-HR Dynamic
THERE'S no shortage of glitter from Toyota's entry in to the mid-level crossover sector.
But is glitter enough to win admirers in a market bossed by the Nissan/Renault alliance with the Juke from Nissan and Captur from Renault.
If looks alone are enough to ensure success, the C-HR - despite its soulless name - should sell by the bucket full.
But I thought that about the Renault Avantime, Nissan's quirky Cube and the, oh so elegant, VW Phaeton and they bombed.
So although different seems, on the surface, desirable, sales figures can tell a more brutal tale.
Toyota is optimistic about the C-HR's chances of success and ahead of launch last year Alan Barrett, the C-HR product manager at Toyota GB, said: "We are looking to sell 16,500 C-HR models in the first full year, of which we expect 75 per cent to be hybrid driven."
And in the first few months of 2017 more than 4,800 had been sold, so the C-HR is for now at least on target for a successful first year.
Toyota says it has a clear idea of who it expects to buy the C-HR and thankfully age is not a consideration, style on the other hand is.
Buyers of this coupe/SUV mix will be early adopters who are ‘who are predominantly driven by emotional considerations'.
The radical designs of the latest models in the Lexus range has finally made its way into the Toyota line-up, although for sometime there has been a quiet revolution happening across the company. Take a look at everything from the Aygo and Yaris to the Rav4 and even the new Avensis.
So it should come as no surprise that Toyota would eventually take a carefully considered punt on something a little less conventional.
And carefully considered it would have to be. Bringing a new model to market is not a cheap affair.
From initial sketches and customer workshops to thousands of miles of road tests in extreme conditions the costs soon mount up.
So where possible it's prudent to use technologies already available and this has happened with the C-HR.
The fourth generation Prius was the first car in Toyota's range to benefit from the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA).
This platform now forms the basis for C-HR. With these vital components sorted, chief engineer Hiroyuki Koba could focus on design and on-road performance across European highways.
From exterior to cabin C-HR is a visual treat. Using what Koba calls a "diamond-shape architectural theme" it's striking from most every angle.
There are flaws in this gem, the rear door handles, for example, are too high for children to operate and the rear of the cabin feels dark due to the thick back pillar.
Climb aboard and you're met with a cabin combining high-tech functionality modern design.
Although the overall theme is dark in the case of this particular car it is punctuated by flashes of colour and pattern for dramatic effect.
By and large the materials used are of good quality, but the plastics on the rear doors and lower down in the cabin are built more to withstand wear and tear rather than feel.
And as expected with a Toyota, there's no shortage of equipment to make life easier.
The C-HR is available in three equipment grades: Icon, Excel and Dynamic.
The Icon specification includes dual-zone automatic air conditioning, 17-inch alloys, the Toyota Touch 2 touchscreen controlled multimedia system, front fog lamps, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
The Excel trim adds the sophistication and refinement, with additional technology and comfort features.
These include part-leather seat upholstery, heated front seats, smart (keyless) entry, parking sensors and Intelligent Park Assist and a complement of driver assistance safety features including a Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist. Upgraded Toyota Touch 2 also provides satellite navigation and access to on-line services.
Topping off the range is the Dynamic, which adds metallic paint with a contrast black roof, LED headlights and bespoke purple upholstery fabric.
All C-HR models benefit from Toyota Safety Sense, a package of active safety systems that can alert the driver to collision risks and intervene if necessary to avoid an impact, or mitigate the consequences if an accident is unavoidable.
These elements include a Pre-Collision System with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition and Automatic High Beam headlight operation.
The car's radical styling does inhibit visibility somewhat, especially to the rear, it would be wise to opt for the rearview camera if at all possible.
A choice of two engines are available - a 1.2T petrol with a choice of either manual or CVT gearboxes, or a 1.8-litre hybrid, CVT gearbox only.
The 1.2T performs well despite its smaller displacement. It's nippy enough around town and can handle motorway work remarkably well.
The ride too is better than expected for a car of this style. Uneven surfaces fail to trouble occupants and such is the quality of set-up bodyroll is kept well in check on faster roads.
Official figures for fuel suggest in excess of 47mpg on the combined cycle, in reality expect closer to 40mpg.
The C-HR offers buyers something just a little different from the norm. It's visually exciting and very well equipped.
Toyota C-HR Dynamic 1.2T
Mechanical:114bhp, 1,197cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
C02 emissions: 135g/km
Bik rating: 26%
Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles
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