What's the used Toyota C-HR like?
When looking for a family SUV, exciting driving dynamics probably won't be top of your list of must-haves. As long as it’s comfortable and doesn’t flop over in bends, most people are quite content. Toyota, despite not being a brand known for making interesting driving cars, is throwing in a bonus, then, because the C-HR has not only a finely judged, comfortable ride, but tidy handling, too.
Powering the C-HR is a sweet 1.2-litre petrol engine that's connected to a slick, six-speed manual gearbox, which is a pleasure to use. There’s even a rev-match function to help make changing down a gear a lot smoother. This is just as well, because the little petrol engine requires plenty of revs to get the C-HR moving, and despite the turbocharger, it doesn’t feel quite a strong as the petrol engines in the Seat Ateca. It is at least a very quiet engine, even when you push it.
You do get a slightly more composed ride with the C-HR, though, even on the larger 18in alloy wheels fitted to higher specification models. It isolates you from suspension noise well, too. In fact, the majority of the noise you’ll hear comes from the wind rushing past the large door mirrors.
Space inside is something the C-HR struggles with. Due to the sloping shape of the rear end, boot space is compromised, as is rear passenger room. Younger children in childseats won’t like the back seats either because of the small windows. It can be quite dark in the back for this reason and little ones might feel car sick if they cannot see out. Rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti are much better in this regard.
On the technology front, there’s a hybrid model, which is unique for an SUV of the C-HRs size and price. However, this isn’t the best format for the C-HR because the heavy batteries have a negative effect on ride quality. It isn’t any faster than the cheaper 1.2, and while claimed fuel economy is significantly better on paper, in the real world, the difference won’t be enough to justify the additional expense.
The C-HR's infotainment system is something of a disappointment. The screen resolution is low, it is slow to respond and the menus aren't intuitive. It also misses out on features such as smartphone mirroring that are offered in almost all its rivals. This seems to be quite an oversight. At least a DAB radio is standard.
Standard equipment is good, with even the entry-level Icon version getting all the equipment you’ll need, plus a suite of safety technology you might not have expected. Every C-HR gets lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Most rivals didn’t even offer these as options when new, let alone fit them as standard.