Toyota is ready to shake up the crossover market with the introduction of its radically styled C-HR, a model that epitomises the company's commitment to make cars that look great and are even better to drive.
In terms of size, the C-HR's footprint puts it in the heart of the popular and growing C-crossover segment, alongside established players such as the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar, Skoda Yeti and Honda HR-V. None of its rivals, however, can match the impact of its stand-out design, or the innovation and efficient performance of its hybrid powertrain option.
Add high sensory quality in everything you see, touch and feel, and the C-HR earns consideration alongside premium players such as the Audi Q2, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.
The result is a richly appealing prospect that opens Toyota up to new customers who are tech-savvy, early adopters and enthusiastic for "cool brand" qualities.
Dynamic styling and performance
Thanks to the versatility of its Toyota New Global Architecture C-platform, the C-HR has the lowest centre of gravity in its class, which makes for balanced handling, less body roll and a more rewarding drive, all more akin to a compact hatch than a typical crossover. It also helps secure a low, coupe-like roof line - another quality that sets it well apart from its taller, more conventional competitors.
The faceted, diamond-themed design cues of the exterior carry through into an interior that successfully matches style with practicality and a high-quality execution with tactile materials and trims, comfortable accommodation for passengers and an ergonomically excellent driving position and dashboard layout.
The C-HR is also unique in the UK market in giving customers the option of a full hybrid powertrain. The benefits of Toyota's new generation hybrid system are not confined to class-leading CO2 emissions from 86g/km and official combined cycle fuel economy from 74.3mpg, they include a supremely smooth, quiet and intuitive drive and proven, exceptional reliability.
The low emissions figure is not at the cost of performance - the hybrid system offers a competitive 120bhp. Moreover, it secures a class-best 15% first year benefit-in-kind rate for company car tax payers.
A wealth of choice
The C-HR range presents a wealth of choice in terms of both powertrains and specifications. In addition to the 1.8-litre hybrid, Toyota is offering a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol model, with a choice of six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. The 1.2 CVT is also offered with the option of all-wheel drive.
The line-up offers three equipment grades: Icon, Excel and Dynamic. The Icon specification includes dual-zone automatic air conditioning, 17-inch alloys, the Toyota Touch 2 touchscreen controlled multimedia system with integrated reversing camera, front fog lamps, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dusk-sensing headlights and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
The Excel trim puts the emphasis on sophistication and refinement, with additional technology and comfort features. These include part-leather seat upholstery, heated front seats, smart (keyless) entry, parking sensors and Intelligent Park Assist, rear privacy glass, 18-inch alloys, a folding function for the door mirrors and a complement of driver assistance safety features including a Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist. The Toyota Touch 2 with Go provides satellite navigation and access to on-line services.
The C-HR Dynamic models add extra appeal for customers who value high design quality and innovation. They come as standard with metallic paint with a contrast black roof, a grade-specific 18-inch alloy design, privacy glass, LED headlights and fog lights and a bespoke upholstery fabric.
All C-HR models benefit from Toyota Safety Sense, a package of active features that can alert the driver to collision risks and intervene if necessary to avoid an impact, or mitigate the consequences if an accident is unavoidable. These elements include a Pre-Collision System with autonomous emergency braking, Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition and Automatic High Beam headlight operation.
Warranty and pricing
The C-HR is covered by Toyota's five-year/100,000-mile new vehicle warranty. On-the-road prices and road tax (VED) bands are shown below; insurance groups will be announced shortly.