Upgrades boost

Toyota C-HR's appeal

Toyota C-HR, 2019, front
Toyota C-HR, 2019, front, action
Toyota C-HR, 2019, side
Toyota C-HR, 2019, rear
Toyota C-HR, 2019, interior
Toyota C-HR, 2019, rear seats
Toyota C-HR, 2019, engine
Toyota C-HR, 2019, diffuser
Toyota C-HR, 2019, boot

MAJOR changes are being made to the Toyota C-HR as the Japanese car maker brings its funky looking compact SUV right up to date.

The new C-HR will be arriving in the UK early next year and comes with a more powerful hybrid powertrain and updated connectivity including full smartphone connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Prices are up between £500 and £1,500 depending on trim and the new, all-hybrid C-HR line up starts from £25,625.

Out goes the 1.2-litre petrol turbo engine which was a feature of the car since its launch back in 2017 and in comes a 2.0-litre version using Toyota's fourth generation hybrid system which develops a healthy 184hp to join the 1.8-litre models with 122hp on tap.

The 2.0-litre is priced from £29,645 and that is the version of the new C-HR we have just tried.

On the performance front it can accelerate 0 to 60 in 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 112mph and on the road the extra power gives the C-HR a fresh lease of life.

There's real zest to the feel and for an SUV the handling is out of the top drawer with accommodating suspension and a positive feel to the steering.

The CVT gearbox Toyota uses with its hybrid set up is much improved and is now almost seamless as it goes through its paces.

Fuel economy is impressive and we managed to see an average of 60 miles per gallon over a lengthy drive of more than 170 miles - a figure which outstripped the official 54.3mpg at best by some margin.

Emissions for the new engine are 92g/km while the 1.8-litre variant comes in even leaner at a best of 86g/km which equates to 58.8mpg under the new WLTP tests.

Looks have always been a defining feature of the C-HR and its design is one of the most stand out around.

The new model has changed subtly with revisions to the grille, front spoiler and bumper creating cleaner lines. There are also new LED headlights with sequential indicators and the fog lamps have been moved slightly upwards and outward.

At the rear there's a new look diffuser which now incorporates some brightwork either side.

The overall effect has been to polish the C-HR's distinctive looks making it appear more sporty and planted.

A feature of the Toyota hybrid system is that it will switch into zero emission mode whenever possible.

Toyota claims the C-HR will be running on battery power for up to 80 per cent of an average journey but the best we could manage was 60 per cent - still impressive given the conditions which were mainly out on the open road.

Improvements have also been made to the interior with the use of more soft-touch finishes in the trim.

The smartphone features are standard across the range and so is Toyota's Safety Sense system which include anti-collision devices as well as driver fatigue monitors.

The 2.0-litre engine is available on all but entry level Icon trim and comes with 18-inch alloys, rear privacy glass and sat nav among its standard kit.

Top grade Dynamic versions - the car we tried and priced from £31,890 - have a full set of safety features including rear cross traffic alerts, blind spot and lane departure warnings and adaptive headlamps as well as upgraded upholstery and a heated steering wheel.

Boot capacity on the 2.0-litre models is 358 litres - some 19 litres less than on the 1.8 version and that's down to the battery on the bigger engined car being sited below the luggage space floor and not under the bonnet.

However, that has no impact on the space available above the boot floor and in everyday use the C-HR is as practical as any other SUV of this class.

On looks alone the C-HR is a car on its own. The improvements move its appeal up a notch and with the added power from the new engine plus its great fuel economy it puts Toyota in an enviable position compared to rivals from such as the Volkswagen T-Roc, the Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot's soon to be revamped 2008.

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