Starting Price: €31,205
Price as tested: €40,660
- A very complete car. Does everything well. Looks great, drives well, good spec, decent economy.
- A little cramped in the rear and boot isn’t massive, but that’s all.
WHAT IS IT?
It is quite hard to believe that the Toyota C-HR has been around since 2016 because this car really signalled the start of a styling revolution from Toyota, as up until then their cars had been more reliable than sexy. The C-HR really changed that and made the brand properly desirable again in the mainstream. Toyota sold 120,000 units of this car in its first year on sale in Europe and this has now passed 400,000 across the continent. Here in Ireland it sells well – this year it lies in 6th place, ahead of cars like the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf (as of 9th November 2021) and it is one of four Toyota models in the Top 10. For 2021 there were some upgrades to keep the model fresh and this includes the GR Sport, which is our test model here and the flagship of the range.
HOW ABOUT THE LOOKS?
The C-HR is a very pretty car, arguably, Supra aside, the brand’s prettiest and getting the GR Sport (GR stands for Gazoo Racing) treatment really adds to this. The front of the car includes a Black emblem surround and headlamp housing, a Piano black finish to the centre bumper and fog lamp surrounds, a dark chrome grille and a new, more aggressively styled front spoiler. At the side, Piano Black door moulding inserts are complimented by a model-unique 19” alloy wheel design. And the rear features a Black emblem background, Piano Black reflector surrounds, a bespoke under-bumper trim garnish and the GR Sport logo. This GR Sport model comes with a choice of nine exclusive bi-tone colour schemes, including a new Dynamic Grey finish with a black roof, which was how our test car looked.
WHAT IS THE INSIDE LIKE?
Inside, the GR Sport features a new Cool Silver cabin finish and choice of alcantara-trimmed leather or all-fabric seat upholstery, both enhanced by a GR-inspired Red and Grey stitching theme. There are additional bespoke elements in the GR Sport model, including a perforated leather steering wheel rim, red stitching accents on both the wheel rim and the gear lever, model unique scuff plates, the GR Sport logo, a GR stop/start button and a GR start-up animations in the driver’s instrument binnacle TFT screen. There is privacy glass in the rear, smart entry, LED beam headlamps and auto-fold door mirrors and an 8” display where you can connect up your Smartphone with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. There are plenty of physical buttons in the C-HR, which will be a big appeal for those that aren’t that keen on everything being on the touch screen. The space upfront is good, it’s a little more cramped in the rear but it’s actually surprisingly decent given its coupé proportions. The boot is roomy enough, but it is closer in size to a compact family hatchback than its traditional crossover rivals. There is 377-litres of luggage space, which is ‘ok’ but is much smaller than the likes of the SEAT Ateca’s 485-litres.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
We were driving the 2.0-litre 184hp Hybrid and at this stage, Toyota has got the Hybrid thing down to a tee and the engine is quiet, smooth and the transitions between EV mode and Hybrid feels quite seamless. The transmission can feel like it is hunting a little, at times, but for the most part, it is really good to drive. The performance from this Hybrid is good and this 2.0-litre unit provides a nice balance between ‘warm hatch potency and really decent fuel economy. On short trips around my home town of Drogheda, at times I was operating at 75% EV model and I never really went over 6.0 litres per 100km in this car without trying too hard. The handling was quite surprisingly entertaining in this car. You tend to assume that crossover vehicles like this will be pretty dreary to drive and they tend not to be that fun, but this C-HR really is. Slot the transmission into manual mode and you can take a bit more control of the revs and while the engine screams a little, the experience does raise a smile. This is just a lovely all-rounder. It can pootle around town with no fuss, is great at long distances (especially with the Radar Cruise Control fitted to the car).
WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?
The GR Sport model is right at the top of the C-HR range, and our test model was €40,660 which is quite a bit more than the €31,205 Luna model. The GR Sport really is a super choice, but we’d probably stick with the SOL grade.
IS IT SAFE?
The safety systems on the C-HR model range is really impressive and our version came with the latest version of Toyota Safety Sense – a set of active safety technologies designed to help prevent or mitigate collisions across a wide range of traffic situations. Several new features were recently added to the Pre-Collision System (PCS). They include Emergency Steering Assist (ESA) linked to daytime pedestrian and Intersection Turn Assistance. The latter provides a warning and automatic braking if the driver turns left or right in front of an oncoming vehicle in the opposite lane, or a pedestrian crossing the road from the opposite direction after the turning. In addition, the 2021 C-HR also benefits from Lane Trace Assist (LTA) system that helps to keep you on track and centres in the lane and if it judges that there is a risk of the vehicle deviating from the lane, it will apply force to the steering in order to assist the driver in avoiding lane departure. There is also Full Range Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), combined with Road Sign Assist into Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, which matches the speed on the Cruise Control to the road signs.
This is a really excellent all-rounder and not hard to see why it is one of Ireland’s best-sellers. The new upgrades keep it fresh and the GR Sport trim really adds to the overall finish. A good car and unless you need tons of space should be a contender for many buyers.
Toyota C-HR GR Sport 2.0-litre Hybrid
Engine: 2.0-litre Hybrid
0-100km/h: 8.2 seconds
Fuel Economy: 5.3 l/100km
Top Speed: X
Transmission: 6-speed Serquential Shiftmatic
Annual Motor Tax: €190
Luggage Capacity: 377-litres
Price as tested: €40,660
For more information log-on to www.toyota.ie