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Toyota C-HR

Toyota C-HR, 2019, front, static
Toyota C-HR, 2019, front
Toyota C-HR, 2019, side
Toyota C-HR, 2019, interior
Toyota C-HR, 2019, rear
Toyota C-HR, 2019, rear seats

SINCE it first arrived in Britain in 2016 Toyota's compact crossover C-HR hybrid has carved a small but important niche selling more than 50,000 cars with its combination of a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor giving a total of 120bhp.

However, there were two missing ingredients for some motorists with the need for a slightly bigger engine for a better all round performance and a change with what was a poor infotainment system that lacked the likes of Apple CarPLay and Android Auto.

Toyota has listened to customers and solved both problems in one go with the introduction of a 2.0-litre petrol engine as well as including the latest smartphone integration with a far more effective multimedia system.

It gives the 2.0-litre hybrid C-HR a total of 182bhp and 202 Nm of torque, which is 62bhp more than the 1.8-litre petrol engine, while Toyota has dropped completely the previous 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the line-up.

The performance of the 2.0-litre is now certainly a better proposition all round with a far more responsive engine that's 10 per cent more fuel efficient and with more sound proofing it's also much quieter out on the road.

Top speed is a claimed 112mph while the 0 to 60 acceleration time is 8.2 seconds - much more user-friendly than that of the 1.8 models.

Even the continuously variable automatic transmission has been improved and is noticeably quieter without the need now to work it so much when accelerating hard. There's still a little of whine from the gearbox but it's not as pronounced as in the past.

The car's steering is much sharper and more precise helping the C-HR to be quite agile and the overall handling is much firmer and better controlled, particularly when cornering and driving over uneven and bumpy road surfaces.

For the driver there's a new-look and much better designed dashboard including a small icon in the centre that indicates the percentage of mileage being driven on electric power alone.

Toyota claims with help like regenerating power when braking it's possible to see this percentage up at 80 per cent or more but the highest achieved on some 200-plus miles of driving was 64 per cent, which nonetheless is quite impressive.

Once out on the motorway the average fuel consumption worked out at a satisfying 49.4mpg which fits in with WLTP combined figures of 49.56 to-54.32.

Crucially for company car buyers the new 2.0-litre engine versions have an impressive CO2 of 92g/km and all models have Toyota's five year/100,000 mile warranty.

In terms of looks there are some subtle and refreshing changes with reshaped front and rear bumpers, LED lights along with repositioned fog lamps at the front while overall the C-HR remains very distinctive looking.

On the interior there are more changes with a much smarter dashboard layout, more soft-touch plastic finishes and the cabin itself doesn't feel as claustrophobic.

In line with Toyota's normal trim line-up this revamped Turkish-made C-HR starts with the Icon grade, only available with the 1.8-litre hybrid engine, at £25,625 while the slightly better equipped Design version costs £28,005 with the 1.8-litre and £29,645 for the 2.0-litre.

Next up is the Excel (£30,110 and £31,750 respectively) followed by the Dynamic (£30,250 and £31,890 respectively) with just 500 versions of the most expensive Orange Edition launch model being made available here with a £32,595 price tag.

The C-HR is slightly more expensive than most rivals in this sector but in terms of the various equipment levels offered across the range they now do represent good value for money bearing in mind the impressive standard equipment lists for each trim level.

In the UK the 1.8-litre versions are expected to account for 75 per cent of sales with Dynamic and Excel trims each taking 30 per cent of all sales followed by 22 per cent for Design.

Toyota continues to make great strides in developing hybrid cars and this latest C-HR range is a prime example which is sure to win over more converts to hybrid motoring.

The 1.8-litre models will remain the most popular but opting for a 2.0-litre has plenty of advantages and would be my choice.

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