Divisive cars are, by their very nature, going to split opinion. Toyota’s latest is certainly going to cause a stir around the dinner table, with its radical over-styling. Toyota has been late to the compact SUV sector but they’re hoping the C-HR will win over fans of the equally divisive Nissan Juke. However, the Toyota isn’t actually a true crossover as there’s no all-wheel drive option, so really it’s just a tall five-door hatchback.
The design does lead to certain compromises that might be the deciding factor if, for example, you value practicality over style. C-HR is also Toyota’s most customisable model, with more options than any other.
The one thing the C-HR has going for it before even stepping inside is its powertrain. It’s the tried and proven Prius engine and electric motor up front, delivering power to the front wheels. The C-HR benefits from being smaller and a full 150 kilos lighter while at the same time having the same power as a Prius – more on this later.
Inside, there’s the instantly recognisable Toyota hardware on show. It’s strangely small and tall, making the cabin feel more laid back and sporting than one might expect in a mini SUV styled machine. The plus side is finding a comfortable driving position is easy and the seats really hold you in place, indicating some level of performance should be expected. The tall ride height also provides an excellent clear view ahead and it’s easy to position the car on the road. Less simple is parking, as the rear view is hugely restricted by the enormous C-pillars. It’s like looking down a long dark tunnel – fortunately, there’s a reversing camera, but this won’t help you out when joining a motorway slip road, for example.
This style over substance is sadly continued when it comes to the back seats, which are a bit like what we imagine entering prison might be. The tiny high-mounted and darkened glass windows make it particularly sombre and it’s easy to imagine kids spending any amount of time in the back will tire quickly of gazing at the sky.
Only a smart piece of textured brown plastic provides any enjoyment.
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