Toyota CH-R Dynamic

Hybrid 1.8

Toyota CH-R, front static
Toyota CH-R, front static 2
Toyota CH-R, front action
Toyota CH-R, side action
Toyota CH-R, side static
Toyota CH-R, rear seats
Toyota CH-R, dashboard
Toyota CH-R, rear action
Toyota CH-R, boot

"I LIKE your car"... said the hospital worker as she strolled towards her own vehicle to whisk her home... "but I don't suppose the boot is very big."

She was obviously more than casually interested in the Toyota flexing its sharply honed body in the hospital car park, so a moment later she was gazing inside, beneath the opened rear hatch.

Roomier than expected, obviously, because her thoughts then turned to the front seats where, more moments later, she was admiring the C-HR's crisply styled and touch-screened dashboard. "Oh, I like this," was her first (and second) thought.

Then came the clincher; our admirer of Toyota's petrol/electric hybrid hadn't realised this one had rear doors, so convincingly hidden in the body's metalwork are the handles.

So it looks like a coupe but has all the in-and-out practicality of a four-door hatchback, with a decent boot... to boot. Our car park admirer was utterly won over and declared she'd have to start saving hard.

She's not alone. The CH-R has been a sales hit since its arrival three years ago as buyers fell for those looks that come with either a 1.2-litre petrol engine from £21,880 or 1.8 petrol with electric motor and battery from £24,500.

That extra £2,620 premium for hybrid power actually brings a lower top speed, much the same acceleration - but much lower tailpipe emissions and a saving in fuel costs too.

With an automatic gearbox in place of the manual of the petrol-only C-HR, the hybrid drives differently too. You'll find yourself not needing to hurry everywhere, preferring to make decent progress in something approaching a cathedral-like hush when the car decides to go electric only for short distances.

And all while you'll be gazing at a fuel economy reading that refuses to sink below 50mpg; the week's test average of 52.7mpg miles behind the unrealistic 70mpg-plus quoted officially but still fine going and a real world cost saver.

Actually, an earlier drive in the petrol model showed 45mpg after 600 miles of varied roadwork so you'll need to cover biggish distances before the maths add up in the hybrid's favour - but business users will do their own sums based on the cleaner exhaust of the latter version and go away smiling.

Choose either and you'll have a car made very much for today's buyers, which means it's a crossover, gently mixing 4x4 looks and built a bit higher than a hatch and infused with a bit of machismo, thanks to lines that look as though they were carved from a block of clay by someone with advanced sword skills.

Things settle down a bit inside, where the dash is dominated by an iPad-sized screen and it's obvious a great deal of attention has been paid to the choice of materials and finishes. Little wonder our hospital worker was impressed.

FAST FACTS

Toyota CH-R Dynamic Hybrid 1.8

Price: £28,895

Mechanical: 120bhp, 1,798cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor driving front wheels via CVT gearbox

Max Speed: 105mph

0-62mph: 11.0 seconds

Combined MPG: 72.4

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions: 87g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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