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