Style and

Toy­ota’s C-HR is a bit of a head-turner but it needs more than just good looks if it wants a piece of the cross­over pie

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Motors -

Toy­ota’s C-HR – or Coupe-High Rider – is the firm’s at­tempt at grab­bing a share of the bur­geon­ing com­pact cross­over mar­ket. De­signed pri­mar­ily for the Euro­pean mar­ket it rides on Toy­ota’s new global ar­chi­tec­ture, which it shares with the Prius.

The styling is a com­bi­na­tion of deep creases, sweep­ing curves and sharp an­gles.

The roofline is low, the rear wind­screen steeply raked and, al­though it’s a five-door, the rear han­dles have been con­cealed in the C-pil­lars to ac­cen­tu­ate the jacked-up, coupe-like pro­file.

Al­loy wheels and dis­tinc­tive LED day­time run­ning lights are stan­dard across the range while on Dy­namic mod­els the main front and rear lamps are also of the LED va­ri­ety.

Toy­ota have been just as cre­ative on the in­side.

Var­i­ous lines, colours and tex­tures have been used to give the cabin a vi­brant, con­tem­po­rary am­bi­ence.

Func­tion hasn’t been sac­ri­ficed in the pur­suit of form, how­ever, and the dash­board wraps around the driver per­fectly, putting all the con­trols within easy reach.

The fit and fin­ish is ex­cel­lent while the list of stan­dard kit is a long one. Cli­mate and cruise con­trol, au­to­matic lights and wipers, auto-dim­ming rear view mir­ror and eight-inch touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem are stan­dard across the range. Ex­cel trim adds sat nav, key­less en­try, heated seats, park­ing as­sist and pow­ered mir­rors while the top-of-therange Dy­namic in­cludes the LED head­lamps and metal­lic paint.

Toy­ota’s Touch 2 in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is in­cluded with an eight-inch touch­screen dis­play mounted high on the dash­board. DAB ra­dio and Blue­tooth are stan­dard.

Driver and front seat pas­sen­ger are well catered for, with plenty of space and seat ad­just­ment.

De­spite the coupe-like styling there’s a rea­son­able – and you might say, sur­pris­ing – amount of head and leg room in the rear. Ac­cess is easy thanks to doors that open wide and the slop­ing roof will only prove a hin­drance to taller peo­ple.

The boot is about what you’d ex­pect in a fam­ily hatch­back at 377 litres. It’s a use­ful shape and the large tail­gate makes ac­cess easy. There’s a small amount of ad­di­tional stor­age be­neath the boot floor but to free up more room you’ll need to drop the 60/40 split/fold rear seats.

Un­der the bon­net of my test car was Toy­ota’s 1.2-litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gine. Re­spon­sive and re­fined, it pro­vides the C-HR with rea­son­able per­for­mance – 62mph takes 11.4 sec­onds to ar­rive – and de­cent fuel econ­omy.

It rides on a new plat­form that strikes a rea­son­able bal­ance be­tween good han­dling and a de­cent level of com­fort.

The steer­ing is light, but well­judged and lin­ear with a de­cent amount of feed­back.

There are three modes to se­lect from – Sport, Nor­mal and Eco – that al­ter the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence by chang­ing the weight of the steer­ing, al­ter­ing throt­tle re­sponse as well as the be­hav­iour of the CVT gear­box.

Toy­ota’s In­tel­li­gent Man­ual Trans­mis­sion au­to­mat­i­cally al­ters en­gine speed on down and up­shifts to smooth out changes.

The gear­box fea­tures vir­tual ra­tios in man­ual mode and it works re­ally well, feel­ing as nat­u­ral as a stan­dard cogged trans­mis­sion.

The C-HR is a smart, re­fined, great-han­dling au­to­mo­bile. Toy­ota have been brave with the styling and pro­duced a com­pact SUV that re­ally does have the power to turn heads.

Given the im­pres­sive breadth of its abil­i­ties it’s hard to see the C-HR be­ing any­thing other than a hit for the Ja­panese firm.

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