Toyota has a range of reliable cars, but it's a range lacking in sparkle at the moment. Sure, the GT86 caters for driving enthusiasts, but most mainstream cars bearing the Toyota badge are blander than the average washing machine. The C-HR could see that change, with an edgy exterior and tech-focused interior design drawing heavily on the run of concepts preceding it.
From the outside, the production C-HR takes inspiration from the concept cars displayed at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show and 2014 Paris Motor Show, and the production vehicle's 4,360 mm length, 1,795 mm width, 1,555 mm height (for the Hybrid) and 2,640 mm wheelbase don't stray much from the concept on display in Paris. With heavily creased flanks and swollen wheel arches the car is much more interesting than your average crossover, although is does bear more than a passing resemblance to the Nissan Kicks.
The funky design extends beyond the creased exterior to the interior. Central to its appeal is that eight-inch display sitting atop the center console, which takes advantage of a redesigned control interface. Here's hoping it's more intuitive than the system doing service in the Fortuner, which we found underwhelming when we tested it earlier this year. Coupled with the new screen is a redesigned center stack, which is angled gently towards the driver – something BMW has been doing for decades.
As is becoming increasingly popular, Toyota's compact crossover will be offered with a new hybrid powertrain. With 90 kW (122 hp) on tap it's not going to win you over with face-melting acceleration, but the setup uses just 3.7 L/100 km (64 mpg) and emits 85 g/km of CO2 on the combined cycle.
If gasoline power is more your style, there's also a turbocharged 1.2-liter engine available. Drivers with lead feet won't be overly excited by this one either, unfortunately, because it produces just 85 kW (114 hp). As well as being less powerful than the hybrid, it's less efficient, using 5.7 L/100 km (41 mpg) and emitting 128 g/km of CO2 on the combined cycle.
Toyota will begin taking pre-sales throughout Europe in September, with the first deliveries to customers due before the end of the year. There's currently no word on pricing, but Toyota is positioning the C-HR between the Auris TS and RAV4, so we'd expect a price somewhere around the £20,000 (US$27,000) mark.
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