Driving

Toyota C-HR review

What Car? Target Price:£21,880
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Toyota C-HR
Review continues below...
13 Nov 2016 20:00 | Last updated: 21 Aug 2018 12:52

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Toyota C-HR hatchback performance

It’s best to think of the C-HR Hybrid as a Toyota Prius in drag. Both cars sit on the same platform and are powered by the same 1.8-litre petrol engine and electric motor, which send their combined power to the front wheels through an automatic gearbox. It’s a recipe that works remarkably well in the latest Prius, but the C-HR’s taller stance and heavier body do spoil things a bit.

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For starters, the C-HR takes noticeably longer to get up to speed than its fuel-sipping sibling, and its petrol engine always seems to be working that bit harder. Diesel rivals, such as the Seat Ateca 1.6 TDI and Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi, aren’t actually much faster, but they get you up to speed in a far more relaxed fashion.

The cheaper 1.2-litre petrol version has less power than the Hybrid but also weighs less, so is actually slightly faster. Performance is roughly on a par with its key rivals, including the Ateca 1.0 TSI and Qashqai 1.2 DIG-T.

Toyota C-HR hatchback ride

This depends on which engine you choose. The 1.2-litre petrol on 18in wheels rides quite well; it isn’t soft and wallowy like some SUVs, so there’s no nausea-inducing body bounce along undulating roads. Just as impressively, the C-HR smoothes over ruts and broken Tarmac around town better than, say, a Seat Ateca or a Peugeot 3008.

The Hybrid is less impressive; its extra weight gives the suspension a harder job to do. On the same 18in alloys, things are more unsettled around town, so we suspect 17in wheels might be a better choice if you’re buying this version.

Toyota C-HR

Toyota C-HR hatchback handling

As with the ride, this depends on which engine you go for. The lighter 1.2-litre petrol is remarkably agile by small SUV standards, staying upright and hanging on gamely through tight twists and turns. Even its steering is accurate, delivering enough feedback to give you confidence through faster bends while staying light during low-speed manoeuvres.

Meanwhile, the Hybrid version is hampered slightly by its extra mass, so it never feels quite as light on its toes. You only really notice this on faster, twisting roads, though, and it still handles well by small SUV standards. It’s just a pity the steering feels a bit more artificial than in the 1.2 version.

Toyota C-HR hatchback refinement

At very low speeds, the Hybrid version can power itself using its electric motor only, so it’s much quieter than a conventional petrol or diesel alternative. The trouble is, even relatively gentle acceleration requires the help of the petrol engine, at which point things gets a bit rowdy.

The blame lies with the CVT automatic gearbox which, whenever you squeeze your right foot, causes the revs to rise suddenly and stay high until you’re up to your desired speed, filling the interior with an annoying drone in the process.

The 1.2-litre petrol version is quieter; it actually has a more refined engine than rivals such as the Seat Ateca 1.0 TSI. The 1.2’s six-speed manual gearbox is also light and positive and there’s enough feel through the clutch and brake pedals to make smooth driving easy. Less impressive is the amount of wind noise on the motorway.

 

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There are 4 trims available for the C-HR hatchback. Click to see details.See all versions
Icon
This is our favourite. That’s partly because the posher trims get quite pricey, but mainly because you get all of the must-haves as standard, including dual-zone climate control, 17in alloys, autom...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£21,880
View Trim
Design
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Petrol/Electric Hybrid
What Car? Target Price from
£24,165
View Trim
Excel
Worth a look if you love life’s luxuries. Upgrading to mid-level Excel trim adds sat-nav, bigger wheels, heated front seats and part-leather seats over entry-level Icon, but pushes up the price con...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£25,600
View Trim
Dynamic
Too pricey to recommend. Yes, you get plenty of luxuries, such as LED headlights and metallic paint as standard, but we’d strongly advise sticking with one of the cheaper trim levels....View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£26,375
View Trim