ONE SCOOP OR TWO?
With its invisible rear doors and dramatic swooshes, Toyota’s compact coupé is all set to divide public opinion Gerry from Slough wrote to me last week and asked why we bang on about top speeds and 0-62 times when few of us can ever legally or safely reach these figures. On top of that, he added that “dieselgate” proves emissions and economy figures can be fudged. So what’s the point of them? He’s right. It’s time we invented some far more relevant methods of comparison. For instance, I have a perpetually bad back so I’d find “number of hours until your back is agony” useful and I’ve also got endlessly car-sick children so “ease of removing vomit from seats” would be a very helpful measure.
If ever a vehicle was crying out for a new set of indices, it is Toyota’s C-HR. It’s an all-new crossover hybrid that dares to think right outside the box. Every aspect has been rethought. It’s a brave decision – car makers get caned for being dull and hammered for being different. But now and again one breaks from the flock and becomes an indie hit. Just look at the affection Fiat’s Multipla, Nissan’s Juke and Citroën’s Dyane are held in – ugly ducklings which all took a battering when they first arrived.ed.
The styling of the C-HR is eye-popping. It’s a riot of swooshes and curves, with more scoops than a family bucket of ice cream. Inside you’ll find a refreshing blend of unexpected textures, shapes and colours. A kite motif has been stamped into the roof and the door panels are made of a weird pimply plastic. The central console counterbalances that with swirls of a super-tactile veneer. The climate controls have diamond-shaped buttons and the touchscreen rears out of the dashboard, like the monster in the Alien. Did I mention, it’s very different?
The drive, however, is not very different. As proven with the Prius, Toyota is the world’s hybrid master and this car comes with a selection of delightfully peaceful powertrains. The entry level is the 1.2-litre petrol hybrid with manual gearbox, but Toyota expects everyone to stump up the extra £2,500 for the allconquering 1.8 petrol auto which will cover an incredible 74.3 miles to a gallon of fuel with barely a whiff of carbon. As you’d expect the C-HR is loaded with safety features, but sitting in pride of place is the new “Safety Sense” which will slam on the brakes for you in a collision scenario.
The C-HR is fun and funky and will no doubt earn a warm welcome. My one disappointment is the bafflingly boring name. It stands for Coupé High Rider. I’d have suggested the Scoopy Coupé…