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Edging Forward – 2024 Toyota C-HR GX Review

The Toyota C-HR is a standout in the small SUV segment in more ways than one. What raised eyebrows when the first generation was launched was its somewhat “dramatic for an SUV” styling cues. Its blend of coupe lines and cues which seem to pay homage to Japanese Manga comic books gave the C-HR a certain character which some of its counterparts were lacking.

Now, the C-HR has been refreshed quite considerably by way of new power units and a new face, one that manages to be even more quirky than before. This seems like a good a place as any to start my thoughts on the new Toyota C-HR.

Designed and built in Europe, Toyota New Zealand says its “super-coupe” profile is sharper, bolder and more sophisticated than the first generation. This writer would have to agree, as the new C-HR is all about the edges, clean cut lines and modernist minimalism. The most obvious part is the new C-shaped LED headlights and new wider front grill. It would be no secret this new nose bears a striking resemblance to Toyota’s new bZX4 EV.

On the driver and passenger door you have the nice touch of a subtle transition from front to rear haunches and the cap-on-backwards rear spoiler makes the C-HR look rather slippery while standing still. You also have new flush door handles which pop out when you wish to climb inside. That said when you lock the car after parking up, these door handles close with quite a loud clunk. Another aspect worth mentioning is the full-width rear light bar which encompasses a C-HR emblem which lights up at night. Basically, the new look C-HR is easily the most striking and head turning small SUV Toyota currently make.

The C-HR clan consists of four spec levels, with two of them available in a new look two-tone paint scheme, or “Two-Tone Plus” if you want the full title. Things kick off with the car I had on test for a week, the GX at $45,990. Then you have the GXL at $49,990, Limited at $52,990 and $53,990 if you want “Two Tone Plus.” Topping things off, the C-HR gets the influence of Toyota Gazoo Racing in the form of the C-HR GR Sport at $55,990 and $56,990, the later gets the two-tone paint scheme, naturally.

The biggest news with spec is the C-HR is now solely a hybrid offering. From the GX to the Limited, you get a 1.8L four cylinder petrol hybrid power train with a combined power output of 103kW and 142Nm of torque and mated to an E-CVT transmission sending drive to the front wheels. That power figure is a 15 per cent boost over the outgoing model and while still able to return a claimed 4.4L/100km.

CO2 Emissions for the GX combined is rated at a claimed 98g/km. The C-HR is a key part of Toyota’s grand plan to reduce their tailpipe emissions by 46 per cent by the time we reach 2030. The C-HR GR Sport gets more power in the form of a larger 2.0L HEV power train in addition to an E-Four AWD system.

Hop inside and you are greeted by an equally refreshed cabin. There are plenty of angles and sharp edges which seem to be akin more to something seen in the concept stage than on the street. I especially quite like the driver focused centre console with that arched covering separating things from the driver and front passenger. The fabric seats are supportive and everything is within easy reach. It’s also nice to have just the right amount of proper buttons to play with, both on the steering wheel and centre console.

The new C-HR is both longer and wider than its predecessor and it feels it inside. There seems to be more head and legroom and those in the rear have greater ease of entry, exit and the ability to get comfortable. Did you also know the interior of the new C-HR is made from double the recycled parts from the previous gen, which is in more than 100 places? No? Well, now you do.

The base C-HR GX comes standard with 17-inch alloys, Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a 12.3” touch screen infotainment system with built in Sat Nav, which is very good I might add and two USB charging points. Toyota’s Safety Sense system has been upgraded too. The Pre-Collision system now detects motorcycles and you have a driver monitoring system too. The latter I found to be rather intrusive at times, especially when you glance away from the road ahead for a fraction of a second. You still get Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert, Active Cornering Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, Reversing Camera and Safe Exit Assist too which is more than welcome.

Get underway and the familiar sensation of a Toyota Hybrid system seamlessly see-sawing from electric silent running to petrol power makes itself known. It’s one of the best mainstream systems out there and serves up good levels of torque and quite a linear delivery of power.

It’s not the most eager accelerating thing out there but you can motor along nicely with an assertive right shoe and even in Sport mode, you can saunter lively through the urban jungle. Due to that sloping coupe rear, rear visibility is not as generous as one would have liked though. The C-HR’s happy place is a mix between the commute and the motorway haul. Its ride is comfortable and tyre roar is kept minimal.

The new Toyota C-HR has raised the game left by the outgoing model. I reckon it’s new edgier look will be the temptation for many to seriously consider this funkiest of mainstream Toyota hybrid SUVs. Stay tuned for my thoughts on the Limited real soon.

RATING: 7.5/10

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