Stand out from the crowd with help of avant- garde C- HR

Solihull News - - MOTORING NEWS - ENDA MULLEN enda. mullen@ reach­plc. com

WHEN dar­ing to be dif­fer­ent in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try starts to set trends that oth­ers fol­low with vigour there can be a ten­dency to ul­ti­mately err to­wards uni­for­mity.

Take the case of the cross­over – the all- con­quer­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tion that is in­creas­ingly defin­ing the main­stream in mass car pro­duc­tion.

When Nis­san un­veiled its ground- break­ing Qashqai it’s hard to be­lieve that at the time it was per­ceived in some quar­ters as some­thing of an odd­ity.

Some asked why peo­ple would want to buy some­thing that looked like an SUV but es­sen­tially wasn’t?

It turned out they did. And not only that but buy­ers couldn’t get enough of them. Ul­ti­mately it’s about sim­ple things, like el­e­vated ride height, chunky styling and prac­ti­cal­ity.

What­ever the case, crossovers are now ev­ery­where and come in a huge va­ri­ety of shapes and forms.

In fact there are now so many of them there’s an air of pre­dictabil­ity about them, in some cases it’s al­most as if they’re fol­low­ing some sort of generic de­sign blue­print.

Do­ing some­thing that stands out from the main­stream in the cross­over seg­ment can be chal­leng­ing.

So, fair play to Toy­ota for the C- HR.

Rather than be­ing very sim­i­lar to a lot of other of­fer­ings cur­rently out there it is for want of a bet­ter de­scrip­tion ‘ out there’.

In some ways it’s a mish­mash of styles, with el­e­ments of con­ven­tional cross­over com­bin­ing with coupe lines to de­liver a very fu­tur­is­tic look.

It’s one that works well and while the C- HR may alien­ate some po­ten­tial buy­ers with its avant- garde de­sign lines no doubt it will also ap­peal to those who like some­thing that’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.

Toy­ota’s bold­ness with the C- HR ( it stands for Coupe- High Rider) is cer­tainly some­thing to be ap­plauded.

Be­hind the dis­tinc­tive look what other tricks does the CH- R have in its locker?

First im­pres­sions when you sit in are of a high qual­ity interior, the asym­met­ri­cal fas­cia re­ally help­ing the driver to feel they are at the heart of things.

The switchgear is of no­tice­ably high qual­ity and the eight­inch Touch 2 touch­screen con­trolled mul­ti­me­dia sys­tem is easy to get to grips with.

There’s an el­e­ment of prac­ti­cal­ity be­ing com­pro­mised slightly when it comes to cabin space, due to that slop­ing roofline, though it’s fairly min­i­mal.

Legroom is gen­er­ous for rear- seat pas­sen­gers but head­room could po­ten­tially be an is­sue for taller adults trav­el­ling in the rear.

The move away from diesel might be grad­ual but there’s no diesel op­tion at all with the C- HR.

There’s a hy­brid model, which is the big­ger seller so far, but I wouldn’t be sur­prised if over time more and more po­ten­tial buy­ers ap­pre­ci­ate the ben­e­fits of the 1.2- litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gine.

Over­all it felt smooth and re­fined and packed quite a punch, though if you want to try and get into any­thing re­sem­bling ‘ thrills’ ter­ri­tory you’ll need to work it hard.

It de­liv­ers de­cent econ­omy and is avail­able mated to a sixspeed man­ual or a CVT au­to­matic. In stan­dard form it is front- wheel drive. It is pos­si­ble to opt for four- wheel drive but only in CVT form. The CH- R also han­dles nicely it has to be said, de­liv­er­ing a well- bal­anced and as­sured drive, and the ride is com­posed.

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