Sporty looks are not really what anyone expects from a small SUV. That’s what get you in buckets with the Toyota C-HR. Swooping lines and dramatic angles make it look different from virtually every car in its class and neat touches like having the rear door handles hidden in the C-pillars show how much thought’s gone into the design.
The curved line of the roof gives the car a distinct look of a coupé, and the aggressive wheels and always-on LED running lights mean that you’re really going to get noticed.
Swooping lines and dramatic angles make it look different from virtually every car in its class.
What’s it like to drive?
Toyota did a lot of testing in European conditions to get the handling on the C-HR just right – and it shows. The suspension feels like it’s been tailormade for the twists, turns and bumps of our roads and the steering’s light, but not too light.
Crossovers like this tend to roll round corners –that’s something else that Toyota seem to have got well under control. The range of engines all give the car a sporty feel – especially when you choose the Sport mode from its three driving modes, which also include Normal and Eco.
Toyota did a lot of testing in European conditions to get the handling on the C-HR just righ
If the exterior styling of the C-HR is modern, then the interior is futuristic. Perched in the driver’s seat, the angled instrument panel gives the impression of being cocooned in a spaceship. The many shapes and textures that surround you make it feel like an exciting place to be.
The diamond shape is a recurring theme in the interior, from the four-part button clusters to the detailing on the door panels. In a move that many other makers would do well to follow, the large eight-inch infotainment screen is placed high enough up to be in the driver’s eye-line. The fact that Android Auto and Apple Car Play connectivity come as standard is another big plus.
Although there’s plenty of room in the front, the coupé-style roof means headroom isn’t great in the rear and there’s only really space for a couple to sit comfortably.
The small and high windows also make the back of the car quite dark - some say a little claustrophobic. It also means that rear visibility isn’t great, so it’s a good job that all trim versions come with parking sensors and a reversing camera (perfect if you need to reverse into the smallest space in the car park). All models also feature climate and adaptive cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
There has to be some downside to the neat styling and dramatic looks of the car – this comes out in the amount of boot space you can look forward to. It’s more like a supermini than an SUV.
Even with the 60/40 seats folded down it doesn’t create a completely flat space and the boot lip is also quite high. For any trips that involve more than a weekly shop, it might be best to ask a friend with a car like Seat Ateca or a Nissan Qashqai to give you a lift instead.
Inside, there’s a good lot of room in the glove box and two cupholders in the front. The door pockets are surprisingly shallow and not that useful.
Running costs and reliability
In the latest version of the C-HR, all the petrol engines are hybrids, which means you’ll be showing off your green credentials and saving money on running costs. The 1.8-litre VVT-I gives you within a whisker of 59 mpg and the bigger, more powerful, two-litre version averages out at 54.3 mpg.
What we love
This is definitely not the car for wilting wallflowers. Its dramatic lines and modern design will always stand out and it’s also got the drive and quality to match. As long as you don’t mind getting noticed, we’d say you should go for it.
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You’re not just getting a great-looking small SUV, you’re also getting one that comes packed with plenty of features as standard and which has taken Japanese knowhow and tailored it perfectly for UK roads. What’s not to like about that?
This review was