THE first Toyota C-HR was like a shot from the halfway line. Even the team behind it thought it had only an outside chance.
It was an odd-looking crossover-coupe thing with hybrid power. But it went straight into the back of the net.
Toyota had a scramble to build enough.
Now it’s time for a new one and they could have just sat on their hands. Instead there’s a lot of careful development here.
The new body, like the old, has creases in all sorts of unusual places. Just different unusual places than before.
It’s still a fastback, but the LED lights and grilles are better detailed.
Inside, the finish and materials are taken up a level. Rails of ambient light define the outline of driver and passenger zones.
Toyota’s instruments and screens have always been a bit primitive, but the new systems in the C-HR are on point.
It’s roomier than it looks in the back, but the small side windows make it feel like you’re stuck inside a nicely upholstered pillar box.
As usual, Toyota offers it with self-charging hybrid engines: the 1.8 or 2-litre setups from the Corolla.
But there’s a new option here. The same 2-litre but with a much bigger battery and a cable. This plug-in hybrid is supposed to do up to 41 miles around town as an EV.
After that it works on the same principle as Toyota’s other hybrids, but with a more powerful electric motor helping the engine.
That gives it a useful extra kick compared to the laggy, elastic feeling that owners complained of in the old C-HR hybrid.
The steering is accurate and it’s composed through bends. If not exactly a bag of laughs. The suspension does the neat trick of smoothing out urban grittiness and taking the edge off potholes, but still feeling composed on an undulating country road.
It feels like a complete package. But I can’t give you an exact price yet, because this was a prototype.
Still, Toyota is so thorough that it was pretty hard to find rough edges even in a car that isn’t on sale with this plug-in hybrid drive for another four months.
KEY FACTS: TOYOTA C-HR
Price: £39k est
Engine: 2-litre petrol plug-in hybrid
0-62mph: 7.3 secs
Top speed: 112mph
September 14, 2023 at 01:30AM
from The Sun