Toyota’s C-HR crossover has been updated for 2020 & now comes with an all-hybrid line-up, giving customers the choice of a new-generation 1.8-litre hybrid system or a more powerful, all-new 2.0-litre powertrain.
The established, 120bhp 1.8-litre hybrid system remains in the range, with its eco performance enhanced by size, weight and efficiency improvements in all its principal hybrid components, plus an upgrade to a lithium-ion high-voltage battery. CO2 emissions start from 109g/km WLTP. There’s also a new 2.0-litre system that produces 182bhp, with CO2 emissions from 119g/km WLTP.
When we drove the C-HR in 2017, we noted the lack of connected Apps offered on both it & across the rest of the Toyota range. The new C-HR as well as all of Toyota’s latest models, thankfully now feature Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, allowing the most commonly used smartphones to synchronise & merge with the car’s media-system.
The new C-HR follows the model’s established grade structure in the UK. So, entry point is the Icon, offered exclusively with the improved 1.8-litre self-charging hybrid system, followed by Design grade, which can be specified with either the 1.8 or new 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain, with Excel & Dynamic grades sharing top-of-the-range status.
Whichever model you choose, you’ll find it well equipped, with Icon featuring 17″ alloys, a reversing camera, dual zone automatic air-con & Toyota Safety Sense. Design grade builds on this specification, with 18″ alloys, rear privacy glass, Intelligent Clearance Sonar with auto brake, front & rear parking sensors, SatNav & smart entry. Dynamic, is further enhanced by the addition of Rear Cross Traffic Alert with auto braking, a blind spot monitor, adaptive LED lights front & rear, metallic paint & a black bi-tone roof. Excel includes, rear LED lights, a heated steering wheel, leather seat upholstery, powered drivers seat adjustment & an adaptive front lighting system.
The C-HR features a low roofline , which gives it’s five-door body a coupe-look. The rear door handles are hidden in the C-Pillars & are a style statement all on their own. The roof has a cool rear overhang on it, the rear lights look like the badges worn on Star Trek uniforms & the aggressive front is finished off nicely by the two highly placed front headlights. There doesn’t appear to be a right angle anywhere, which is refreshing to say the least !
Often, the inside of a Toyota can let all of that clever exterior styling down. Crucially though, Toyota have been working hard to deliver a premium interior, & the latest C-HR, is much closer to the inside of a Lexus than a Toyota has the right to be. High quality plastics & gloss black inserts featured on my test model. The stand out is still the large central infotainment screen, located in the centre of the dashboard.
Externally, the C-HR is similar in size to a Nissan Qashqai. However, because of the sloping coupe styling, it feels a little cramped inside, especially in the back. This claustrophobic feeling is heightened by the jet black roof lining, narrow rear windows & chunky rear C-Pillars which obscure your view when reversing around a corner or into a parking space.
Driver & front passenger though, will feel comfortably cocooned in the cabin. All the controls fall easily to hand & there’s covered storage in the centre binnacle, a cup holder in front of this & a smaller place to put your keys at & two door pocket cup holders as well. Rear passengers may lack head height, but leg room is adequate & you get neat cupholder’s in the doors. There’s a surprisingly decent sized boot, which offers 377 litres of storage. The large tailgate is refreshingly heavy & there’s extra storage underneath the boot floor. A 60/40 split/fold rear seat is standard. The seats are folded by releasing handles on top of the seat backs, rather than via handles in the boot itself.
The C-HR offers both a comfortable ride & decent handling, with all four passengers benefitting from the supple suspension & lack of body roll that’s on offer. The relatively high driving position offers a good view of the road ahead, but you do need the reversing camera to get past those massive C-Pillars when reversing. rest assured it’s a great camera.
My 1.8 model, was a big improvement over the old 1.2 I drove back in 2017. The extra power makes a big difference on the motorway & in town, you get the benefit of an auto box & zero noise in EV mode.
All versions come with a choice of Sport, Normal or Eco modes, which alter the weight of the steering, the throttle response & CVT gearbox strategies to suit your mood & the road conditions. I tried all three, choosing in the main to drive with Eco on the motorway in cruise control, Normal around town & Sport on the open road. In all honesty, the difference between all three wasn’t that noticeable, though Normal Mode definitely felt the most comfortable to be in.
On the motorway, the useful adaptive cruise control, made longer journeys just that bit easier & of course far more relaxing, especially on any Smart motorways I encountered.
The 1.8 engine offers only 120bhp & consequently, the C-HR takes 11 seconds to go from 0-60mph. CO2 emissions of 110g/km will appeal to fleet customers, as will the claimed combined fuel economy of 57.6mpg. We drove the C-HR for 450 miles on a selection of urban, extra urban & motorway roads & managed to average 51.4mpg in our 7 days in it. I would say that was a pretty good return & something self-charging hybrids are really good for.
Like all Toyota models, the C-HR comes with the brand’s five-year/100,000 mile warranty. This lengthy guarantee brings greater peace of mind than many mainstream rivals’ policies, but still falls short of Kia’s seven-year cover, or Hyundai’s unlimited mileage offer.
Negatives ? We struggled to adjust the distance between you & the car in front, through Toyota’s adaptive cruise control, when on the go. The CVT auto box though brilliant in town, isn’t as polished when accelerating on an incline, especially on the motorway. If you’re a high mileage company car driver, then the C-HR’s short service intervals of 10,000 miles, are likely to be a turn-off, with many competitors offering as much as 20,000 miles between visits. On the plus side, Toyota’s are very reliable & the UK dealer network has an excellent reputation for servicing as well.
In conclusion, the updates to the C-HR have definitely improved it. It still looks great & comes well equipped, but the addition of connected Apps & Toyota safety features, make for a more enjoyable driving experience. Our test model retailed at £30,3730 OTR & that’s about right for a car in this category.
Fleet customers will be happier with the updated versions improved economy & lower emissions. And it still looks ahead of it’s time, reminding me of car from the movie a Mad Max “Road Warrior “, which has to be a good thing.
A Mad Max Fury Road 4/5.