What's the used Toyota C-HR hatchback 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 initially at its 2016 launch was a 1.8-litre hybrid engine and a sweet 1.2-litre petrol engine that was connected to a slick, six-speed manual gearbox, which was 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 likes of the Seat Ateca. It is at least a very quiet engine, even when you push it.
On the technology front, the 1.8-litre hybrid model is unique for an SUV of the C-HR's size and price. Its power is sent to the wheels through a CVT automatic gearbox. The heavy batteries have a slightly negative effect on the ride quality, and while this version isn't any faster than the cheaper 1.2 it is at least a fraction more economical.
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.
Indeed that standard Icon spec also comes with dual-zone climate control, 17in alloy wheels and automatic lights and wipers. Excel trim adds sat-nav, larger 18in alloy wheels, keyless entry and heated front seats, which are also partly covered in leather. If you like your luxuries, Dynamic comes with LED headlights, metallic paint with a contrasting black roof and model-unique 18in alloys.
You do get a 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 child seats 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.
The C-HR's infotainment system is something of a disappointment, at least on the earlier models. 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.
A 2019 facelift added a new front bumper design, new rear-end styling, and a revised dashboard design and multimedia system that now offered Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard on all models. It also dropped the 1.2-litre engine and offered up a 2.0-litre version of the hybrid engine to sit above the 1.8 hybrid version. This offers more performance, as well as enhanced steering and suspension tweaks to help cope with the small increase in weight of the larger engine.
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