Toyota’s popular SUV/Crossover has just received a facelift and at the same time been given a diamond theme, but it’s what’s going on under the bonnet that’s really grabbed our attention.
Introduced to the motoring public in 2016, the C-HR (Compact or Coupe High Rider) became an immediate hit. All the driving fun and stability that comes with the likes of their Corolla but a vehicle that satisfied the increasing demands of the high-riding road goers – genius.
Even in 2016, the C-HR was not exactly what you’d call ‘hard to spot’ on the road, with its dramatic design and quirky features such as elevated rear door handles, but now Toyota has made the C-HR even more expressive.
There are two-tone paint options, the front end has been fully redesigned with an aerodynamic lower diffuser, front-wheel spats and (on the Limited option) LED projector headlamps and high-performance LED fog lights. At the rear, lip and roofline spoilers, vortex generators and rear wheel spats – it’s even now got aerodynamic underbody panels.
Inside, it’s awash with diamonds, design-wise that is. Everything from the buttons and switches, to the seat material (or leather), sills and edges, diamond shapes have appeared, in fact, even the roof lining is diamond embossed. Some may say it’s a little bit ‘overkill’ but I just think it’s fun – especially if you start trying to count them (something to keep the kids entertained on road trips).
As I said earlier, the facelift is great, but it’s the hybrid/eCVT powertrain combo that really made me take note. Under the bonnet is a 1.8L petrol/hybrid system that produces 90kW and 142Nm. I admit, these figures are not earth-shattering, however, the emissions and economy ones are worth bringing up. 97g/km comes in way under NZ’s target of 130g and 4.6L/100km is very wallet-friendly.
For review, Toyota NZ gave me two C-HR Hybrids, one base model in shadow platinum and one top-spec (limited) in two-tone ebony and emotional red, if I’m honest, there’s not that much between them. Both came with Toyota Safety Sense, (including Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Vehicle Sway Warning – I could go on), however, the Limited option has a Panoramic view for parking, leather accented seats (with adjustable lumbar support for the driver) and Bi-Beam LED Headlights that are auto on/off and self-levelling.
As luck would have it, a Brazilian friend had her kid’s party at a beach North of Auckland, this meant an enthusiastic coastal drive and some Samba music to accompany it.
On the highway, the C-HR with all its safety features and creature comforts, feels confident and well-planted, just as an SUV should and when let loose on more windier landscapes, very little body roll can be felt. It lacks a bit of power heading out of the bends or up steeper hills but has a chassis strong enough to allow for reasonably exciting overall cornering speeds.
In terms of economy, the C-HR’s hybrid system works particularly well around town (3.8 L/100km) but it’s not too shabby on the open road either. It gets up to the national speed limit without too much drama and sips fuel at a gas station avoiding rate of 4.6 L/100km.
We arrived at the party enlivened and cheery, plus the fresh-faced C-HR’s new design seemed to blend in nicely too.
Toyota is happy to say that the curves and angles that come with the C-HR’s expressive design are ‘not for everybody’ and I can see why, however, I really like it. It stands out from the very crowded SUV/Crossover norm. And when you throw in the raft of safety features and excellent fuel economy… Well, need I say anymore?