The Toyota C-HR has debut in the market some month ago and has become an interesting vehicle. Interesting because is having success in a growing segment like the Crossovers, halfway between a SUV and a normal car.
The Toyota C-HR ambitions do not end here though. The highly futuristic design with sport lines recalls the shape of a coupé and it also comes with the famous hybrid engine that has distinguished Toyota in recent years. The model available for our test is the “entry-level” with a 1.2-liter turbo petrol engine, two-wheel drive, delivering 116 hp.
I wrote “entry-level” with the quotation marks because is really well equipped: from the two zones AC to the rear camera, from the 8-inch screen to the Toyota Safety Sense with adaptive cruise control and other active safety features. To enrich the version that I’m driving, there are also parking assistance, leather seats and JBL HI-FI system.
The Toyota C-HR’s first challenge in my road test was certainly the Brussels’ traffic. The idea of dealing with innumerable cues with a manual gearbox certainly did not bother me! I was wrong. The ergonomics inside the Toyota C-HR are really above the average. The steering wheel has the correct size and shape, all the buttons easy to press without distractions, the seats are comfortable and easy to adjust and the geabox is so precise that you can almost control it with a wrist gesture.
Very good! By advancing into the city streets of the Belgian metropolis, you can also get familiar with all “Toyota Safety Sense” active safety systems that includes features such as the pre-collision warning, lane departure warning and the automatic full beam, in addition to adaptive cruise control. The perceived security on board is surely high thanks to all this standard equipment. Even the elevated driving position typical of Crossovers increases the perception of road domination.
By leaving the city streets, here we are on the Belgian’s countryside to try having some fun with Toyota C-HR. Surely it is not a fast car, it is normal that it is so. Those who want to buy Toyota C-HR definitely do not look for sports car’s performance. In any case, the new Toyota chassis, with a renewed architecture, keeps the center of gravity very low for the benefit of a low body roll and good road holding. The manual gearbox then contributes to the driver’s satisfaction in terms of driving pleasure.
Moving on dirt roads then, the raised ground clearance allows you to drive in a dirt road without major problems, especially in the four-wheel drive version. Each journey will be delighted by the great notes of the JBL Hi-Fi that accompanies the Toyota Touch 2 infotainment that also has the DAB. Returning home after a nice escape from the city, finally, you can also appreciate the parking aid system.
After taking the confidence in the first few times, in fact, Toyota C-HR will park for you, leaving you only the task of pressing the throttle to move forward or backward and the brake. Surely your passengers will be stunned! Recalling what was said at the beginning, Toyota C-HR is really an interesting car. It has a lot of technology, an eye-catching design and this new crossover setting that the customers really likes. Regarding which Toyota C-HR choose, it depends on what use you intend to do.
After testing this 1.2 turbo petrol version 2 wheel drive with manual gearbox, the impression is that if you choose for the front-only traction, it’s okay to go for the hybrid for its good economy in the city. In the case, however, your journeys are more extra-urban and countryside, then the 1.2-liter turbo-powered 4-wheel drive seems to be the right choice for you. However, there is no choice for the gearbox, you will get the automatic CVT. I would definitely choose options such as the LED lights (not present on this car, but they also change the front design), the parking aid systems, and the JBL system. Toyota C-HR will surely be a successful car for the Japanese home. Competitors are warned!
Text: Edoardo Mascalchi
Photos: Edoardo Mascalchi, Sam Vanbrabant