Toyota C-HR Hybrid 2019

Find out more about the Toyota C-HR Hybrid in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • - Quirky design
  • - Lots of equipment as standard
  • - Hybrid is frugal

Cons

  • - Expensive
  • - CVT gearbox
  • - Rivals are more practical
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model Review

For a time between 2010 and 2015, Toyota took a rather reserved approach with its cars’ styling. However, for the C-HR, Toyota ensured that was no longer the case with its new radically-styled model.

The C-HR made its debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show with the option of a petrol engine or the hybrid model tested here. It closely replicated concepts seen a couple of years earlier. Its sleek body, sloping roofline and large alloy wheels all help it to stand out in a class where manufacturers notoriously play their cars safely.

The C-HR Hybrid itself was the first powertrain of its kind to be used in this class, which is still dominated by petrol and diesel engines, with the hybrid being powered by a new 1.8-litre petrol engine paired to an electric motor.

The C-HR also came as standard with Toyota’s excellent Safety Sense system, which includes equipment such as autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning.

Latest model

Since going on sale, the C-HR hasn’t been revised just yet — instead Toyota has just changed the trim levels offered.

The first was the Limited Edition model, which came with features such as leather seats, matte black 18-inch alloy wheels and a JBL sound system.

The latest addition to the range came in June 2018 with a new ‘Design’ grade, which features larger alloy wheel, rear privacy glass and ambient interior lighting to name but a few features. Adjustments were also made to other trim levels, with Excel models gaining black leather upholstery and LED rear lights.

The model has also won a number of awards since its launch — including Green Car’s Top Crossover award in 2016,  and Autocar’s ‘Gamechanger’ gong in 2017.

Value for money

The C-HR isn’t a cheap model — particularly in Hybrid guise where prices start from £24,500 — which is nearly £3,000 more than the standard 1.2-litre petrol engine. The C-HR sits in a rather unusual position in the market where it blurs the boundaries between being a small crossover and a mid-size one, sitting in the gap between the best-selling Nissan Juke and Qashqai, for example.

On the plus side, standard equipment is excellent, with all versions coming with automatic lights and wipers, an eight-inch touchscreen, a reversing camera and a host of safety kit. More high-spec trim levels also seem good value with lots of kit for the money.

According to Toyota, the hybrid makes up over 70 per cent of overall C-HR sales, which means there’s plenty to choose from on the used market. Admittedly, they are a few thousand pounds more expensive than the petrol version, with the cheapest examples starting from £18,000 at the time of writing, which shows they are holding their value well. Expect to find a one-year-old example for around £20,500, which is £4,000 off list price, and therefore a welcome saving on nearly-new models.

Looks and image

Few crossovers stand out quite as much as the C-HR does. Even in entry-level guise, it’s a distinctive model with its swoopy and angular design, but the rear is the boldest design feature, because of its sloping rear windscreen and high-up brake lights. Higher spec models are the most dramatic with their larger alloy wheels and LED headlights and rear lights. Its looks won’t appeal to all, but the bold design is a welcome change from Toyotas in the past.

The Japanese manufacturer hasn’t toned down the interior, either, with all models coming as standard with an eight-inch touchscreen, which is also angled towards the driver. Toyota has tried to get rid of unnecessary buttons, but has quite rightly kept controls such as the air-conditioning as normal switches, which we appreciate. It also looks classy, with different models having the option to change the interior colours and trim details which help to lift the look of the cabin. The interior quality is also very good, and nearly up to the standard of premium manufacturers, which Toyota is trying to pitch the C-HR against.

The C-HR itself is a rather good car to drive. It feels sharp, involving and surprisingly agile for quite a high-up crossover. Other traits include direct steering, minimal body roll and a decent level of punch from the hybrid setup. However, the entire package is let down by the CVT transmission fitted to the C-HR Hybrid, which can’t deliver the performance it should as hard acceleration just results in loads of revving. The gearbox can cope with smooth and relaxed driving, but struggles with harsh acceleration until it’s up to speed.

 

Space and practicality

All this styling unfortunately comes at a premium, which is that the C-HR is not as practical as more conventional-looking models. That’s not to say it’s drastically short of space, but its 377-litre boot is smaller than most hatchbacks, let alone crossovers. The boot lip is also quite high and it’s not the most practical shape, either.

Rear space is better, with the C-HR offering good legroom and headroom for two adults in the back, even with the car’s sloping roofline. However, it could be compromised for families with small children because the styling of the C-HR results in the car having a high-up back window which compromises children’s view out of the rear. It’s not a big issue, but it could be worth seeing what your children make of the limited view.

Where the C-HR makes much more sense as a family car is where safety is concerned. The C-HR comes as standard with Toyota’s fantastic ‘Safety Sense’ system, which brings aids such as autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist and adaptive cruise control. In short, you’ll struggle to find a car at this price point with as much safety equipment included for the price. Unsurprisingly the C-HR scored five stars in Euro NCAP safety tests, with superb scores recorded in all categories.

Engine

The C-HR Hybrid is powered by a 120bhp 1.8-litre petrol engine which charges the C-HR’s batteries while on the go unlike plug-in hybrid models. Toyota has been at the forefront of traditional hybrid powertrains for some time and the C-HR impresses with its efficiency and smoothness when driven in a leisurely fashion.

But, as we’ve mentioned, it’s let down by an infuriating CVT gearbox that prevents spirited driving, and it feels even slower than its 0-60mph time of 10.8 seconds and top speed of 105mph suggests.

You can also choose to have the C-HR with front- or all-wheel-drive, too.

Running costs

On the plus side, the C-HR is a very efficient model, and if it’s driven carefully and in a way that can charge the batteries, it’s amazingly efficient. Toyota claims a fuel economy figure of 74.3mpg, and low CO2 emissions of 86g/km. Those figures aren’t out of the question around town, although on faster roads where the engine needs to be worked harder, you’ll notice a big drop in fuel economy.

Low CO2 emissions also put the C-HR Hybrid in a low company car tax bracket, which makes it a highly credible model for business users. Insurance premiums should also be quite low, too, and are helped by the fantastic amount of safety kit fitted as standard. As a result, the C-HR Hybrid sits in insurance group 14.

Things to look out for

Toyota has an excellent reliability reputation, and there is very little evidence to show that the C-HR won’t follow that pattern. The only issue to be aware of is that owners of early cars reported that the windscreens had a tendency to crack because of an issue with the DAB radio antenna, which is housed within the windscreen. A solution now seems to have been found, but it’s worth looking out for signs of light chips and cracks on used models.

Rivals

The C-HR Hybrid’s closest rival is the Kia Niro, which comes with the option of a traditional hybrid (like the C-HR), as well as a plug-in hybrid and all-electric version. You could also look at the larger Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. The plug-in hybrid Mini Countryman could also be a contender, but rivals with conventional petrol and diesel engines include the Volkswagen T-Roc, Skoda Karoq, Nissan Qashqai and Renault Captur.

Depreciation

The Hybrid’s popularity compared to the 1.2-litre petrol model has helped to keep values of the C-HR high. That said, there’s still good savings to be had on nearly-new models — including around £4,000 off list price on an example under a year old and with less than 10,000 miles on the clock.

Summary

  1. One of the best-looking Toyotas in years
  2. Classy interior design
  3. Hybrid model can be expensive to buy…
  4. Although it will be much cheaper to run
  5. Standard safety kit is superb
  6. Five star Euro NCAP safety rating
  7. Hybrid comes with front- or all-wheel-drive
  8. Performance dulled by CVT transmission
  9. Compromised practicality
  10. A very stylish and likeable crossover

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