Toyota’s hybrid drive in the new C-HR SUV makes a clear statement in terms of hybrid drive that’s difficult to argue with. The car itself is modern in design and appears to have been designed for a hybrid drive in mind as a turbo-petrol engine is the only other power option.
Sales of the Toyota C-HR have jumped by 25% this year making the car the Japanese brand’s second most popular car in Ireland. I’ve driven the petrol engine version of the C-HR in the past and following my hybrid drive test, I’m not surprised that 62% of all new C-HR’s sold in 2018 were hybrid drive and the Dublin region recorded the highest sales at over 33% of the total.
In a design sense the C-HR is a break from Toyota tradition in the shape of a four door hatchback and it sits high enough to give the feeling of being a compact SUV. The design is unique and allows the car to stand out from the crowd, with its flowing design style.
The Toyota hybrid drive is the clear winner with the C-HR in terms of driving comfort and performance. From my experience, the hybrid drive version in clearly far ahead in terms of economy and running costs.
This car is smooth and easy to drive. The interior is modern and clear to use and I was comfortable quickly after the Bluetooth phone set-up and ready to go. The large 8-inch Toyota Touch is the most obvious interior feature that just jumps out at you. Set-up here was easy and intuitive and I found it easy to get to grips with the features that it offered. For me that meant a set-up without having to resort to the owner’s manual, which means it’s a system that’s clear to follow.
In every sense, the hybrid version comes out on top, with diesel engine type efficiency and a cleaner burn of the fuel for a lower CO2 rating and more importantly a lower running cost. My 800km test drive confirmed the hybrid version, which has a €3,000 premium over the entry petrol version, to have almost double the official economy performance giving you 26km/litre (3.8l/100km or 74mpg) versus 17km/litre (47mpg) in the 1.2-litre turbo-petrol version.
The economy level that I achieved was impressive even relative to diesel engine similar size SUV’s. The fuel tank capacity is lower than the petrol version and for good reason. I found that I achieved a range of over 700km from the full tank and that’s impressive for a petrol/hybrid car.
That makes the hybrid choice in the new C-HR to obvious one, even if you have to pay a little extra at the beginning. The economy difference of more than 35% is significant and overshadows the extra 10% cost of the purchase price.
Toyota is one of the new car brands to offer a hybrid option in this segment of the SUV market, so other brand comparisons are not available. This makes the C-HR stand out for other reasons, and many comparisons will be made with similar diesel powered compact SUVs. For Toyota these diesel comparisons are no longer valid as Toyota will not be offering diesel engines in any of its cars from the start of 2019.
The hybrid C-HR comes with an entry price of €29,350, just €3,000 more than the entry level petrol powered version. While Toyota is offering a change option from a 181 hybrid to a 182 petrol version if customers are not happy with the hybrid experience, I would be very surprised if any make that change.
The Toyota C-HR provides good legroom front and back; although the front seats are shade short, while they have good and easy to use adjustment. The headroom was impressive so despite the short window glass height, the car never felt claustrophobic. The boot door is light and the base height means easy loading, but lacks a spare wheel.
The C-HR comes with an impressive safety package that ensured that it achieved a EuroNCAP five star rating in the recent testing programme. There are two Iso-Fix units for child seats that fit comfortably into place.