BY BRIAN BYRNE
WHEN I first reviewed Toyota’s C-HR back in 2017, I said there was a lot going on with the styling. With only very minor detail changes in this latest version, that’s very much still the case.
Styled to catch the eye, I said. And it did that very much. The eyes liked it, the car became a serious weapon in Toyota Ireland’s salesroom armoury.
Last year it was the third most bought Toyota model, this year it has moved up to second place. A fifth of all Toyotas sold here are C-HRs. It is currently number six in overall car sales.
For this review, I had an addition to the standard 120hp 1.8 hybrid model that is available here, a 180hp 2.0 hybrid. It’s not currently on the price lists, but presumably can be ordered for those who want a bit more punch.
The C-HR is still a standout in the small SUV arena. I don’t know of any other car that has so many edges and swoops to the bodywork. It could be overwhelming to the senses, but you actually get pretty fond of it.
Inside is the current high quality finish we get throughout the Toyota range, and a similarity among the main elements includes the centre touchscreen. About this, I like the physical buttons on either side for navigating it, but the graphics themselves are understated — those who like bright colours on their screens might be a tad disappointed. Clarity is excellent though.
The flick-switches and clear buttons for managing heating and ventilation are exemplary … there are competitors who should follow suit.
It’s a surprisingly roomy car given the segment where it’s located. Partly due to the sit-up headroom. Enough room in the back for me too, though the styling of the rear pillar and window encloses one a fair bit.
It’s automatic, of course, being hybrid. All C-HRs are now hybrid, the alternative 1.2 turbo petrol having been dropped a couple of years ago.
Since it was first launched, the C-HR has provided the kind of driving experience that makes you ready to head off on a trip at the handiest excuse. So I wondered why the need for this more powerful version? Well, it turned out to be that mentioned driving experience again … plus. Those extra 60hp are a real enthusiastic bunch, and the car showed a distinct extra verve.
Sure, there’s penalty in more power, and the fuel consumption in the 2.0 is somewhat more than in the standard car. You might need to work out what the benefits are against the cost.
It was fun, though. Despite being confined to my county, I found excuses to take the car on several local spins more than I might otherwise have bothered to. Made up excuses too …
There are four grades available in the C-HR here.
What I like: That I still like the shape. And I loved the poke.
Price: 1.8 hybrid from €29,995.