The turbocharged Toyota C-HR is better than the hybrid variant

A review of Toyota's hottest model
by Tom Harrison | Jan 27, 2017
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Welcome to a review of the Toyota C-HR. The non-hybrid one, with a regular 1.2-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine and front-wheel drive. Toyota doesn’t seem to be a fan of diesel, so if the hybrid doesn’t appeal or you want a manual gearbox, this is your only alternative.

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This is the one to buy, then?

Correct. The hybrid’s saddled with a droney CVT gearbox that makes any kind of meaningful acceleration a tiresomely noisy process.

This is a shame, because the C-HR handles rather well. It’s based on the same New Global Architecture platform as the Prius, which means a low center of gravity and clever multi-link rear suspension. It rides, handles and steers nicely for a car of this type—but the hybrid drivetrain saps all the fun out of driving it.

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That’s why we reckon this one’s a better bet. The 1.2 is by no means a remarkable engine, technologically or otherwise, but it at least gets a proper, manual gearbox. It’s turbocharged but could probably do with another few pound feet of boost—beating anything away from the lights requires a concerted effort. But the power delivery is at least smooth and predictable, and it doesn’t seem especially noisy or stressed once you’re on move. The gearbox itself is a six-speeder and nice enough to use.

 

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What are the numbers?

The engine produces 113hp and 184Nm, leading to a 0-100kph time of 10.9 seconds and a 190kph top speed. CO2 emissions are 135g/km and the claimed fuel economy is 20.3km/L.

 

What the rest of it like?

Well, the looks are growing on us for starters. But a word of warning: the C-HR is quite spec-dependent. Our test car didn’t look like the one in these photos, with its twinkly LED headlights and 18-inch alloys. It arrived with plain 17s, and no LEDs or contrast roof. With a car as, erm, ‘bold’ as the C-HR, you really need those little flourishes for the full effect.

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It’s good inside, though. Toyota’s best cabin for some time. The design brings the screen right up into driver’s eyeline, but the touch buttons that flank it still aren’t as user-friendly as regular ones. No tactile feedback means you’re still taking your eyes off the road.

Space is adequate, even in the back, but rear-seat passengers won’t enjoy being there for long because the side view is obstructed by those vast C-pillars (the very same ones responsible for the sizable rear three-quarter blind spot). The materials are broadly fine, but the hexagonal door trims are just awful. And so’s the clock. 

But clock aside, this gasoline C-HR is a likeable thing. We’d have it over the hybrid, certainly. And you should, too. 

 

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

 

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