The design, technology and handling of the Toyota C-HR make it shine brightly in the crossover crowd, as you can see from this review detailing the spec, performance and price of the 1.2 Excel manual version.
THE new Toyota C-HR uses the same global architecture as the company’s Prius – and right there is where the similarities end.
The C-HR (Coupe High Rider) is an astonishing-looking car with incredibly sculpted design features along the sides, at the rear and the front, where bulging wheel arches sit beside honed air inlets.
Big tail lights dominate the rear, along with its integrated spoiler on the swept-back coupe. I particularly liked the way the rear door handles lay flush with the bodywork. No detail has been missed in this car from the Japanese marque.
Toyota have designed the C-HR from the ground up to stand out from the rest of the range – and it certainly does that – and to be particularly attractive to the European market and its insatiable lust for SUV-type vehicles.
The look, they say, has been inspired by diamonds – fulfilling another lust – but, particularly in profile, the C-HR is scintillating. My version was two-tone, with a black roof and white body that looked elegant and distinctive, but I can imagine this car would look very mean and menacing as an all-black machine.
Inside, the C-HR is soft to the touch and very well finished. The Excel trim in the one I was driving had been upgraded with a Premium Pack (£1595), which meant I got leather upholstery and a more high-end audio system. And here, too, the diamond theme continues.
The buttons on the centre console are diamond shaped, the texture of the brown/black interior comes in diamond formations and even the hands on the dials in the instrument binnacle have been made in the shape of a diamond. And it is all rather lovely.
The centre console is slightly asymmetrical, with the clear and easily read eight-inch touchscreen sitting proud of the dash and angled to face the driver. This gives you sat nav, online connectivity, advanced Bluetooth, the view from the rear camera, and access to devices connected via the aux-in and USB port.
After all this hi-tech and high design, it may come as some surprise that under the bonnet of this particular C-HR is a 1.2-litre petrol engine, albeit turbocharged. It is available with 1.8-litre petrol hybrid powertrain, too, but the 1.2 was surprisingly agile and efficient.
It drives well and is particularly well balanced on corners. This is because the clever designers have given it a low centre of gravity while managing to ensure a high ride height. I was impressed by the performance of this car, which has a pleasing stiffness about it that adds to the stability and security you feel while driving.
The C-HR comes with a pack of safety systems on board, including pre-collision with pedestrian detection, adapative cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beam, road sign assist and many more. It also has a good boot and plenty of storage space.
If it is a crossover you lust over then this could make an excellent buy – and it comes with Toyota’s excellent after-sales care. I rather liked the diamond theme but then I am with Marylin on this one and always like to think that diamonds are a girl’s best friend.