IF you’re not into cars, I can all but guarantee you’ll have seen a handsome-looking thing gliding around. Angled lines, extremely futuristic, albeit with a familiar Toyota badge on its front and rear.
It’s called the C-HR and it’s their crack at the competitive family SUV sector, which in recent years has been dominated by the good-but-dull Nissan Qashqai.
Based on the Prius platform and sharing its 1.8-litre hybrid engine in this test car’s spec, it’s basically that but in a snappier, tailored suit. The C-HR is loftier and a tad heavier, but it looks a million times better and has clearly won an army of fans given how many you see on the road.
It just looks different from the get-go; there’s a chiselled front, sharp lines from the side and an even better rear end, helped by its heavily raked window. It’s a five-door car, but entry to the back seats isn’t exactly graceful, as its almost coupe-like side profile sees the roof dramatically fall back. From the driver’s seat, things are altogether more positive; there’s a lot of room, there’s a good design and the switchgear feels quality.
At low speeds, the hybrid unit can power itself using its electric motor only, so it’s much quieter than a conventional petrol or diesel alternative. However, as we’ve seen before on its Lexus stablemates, even relatively gentle acceleration requires the help of the petrol engine. Under half throttle - let alone full - the revs flare and you’re given a decent shove of grunt but it comes with a monotonous, repetitive noise synonymous with the CVT automatic gearbox inclusion.
However, on your daily commute the C-HR will be exemplary. You’ll have a car with forward-thinking design that looks the part, a quality interior, fuel economy that’s well into the 50s and comfort. With prices starting at £25,000, Toyota’s knocked it out of the park and it’s a damn site more interesting than the Qashqai. We’ve a new class leader…