Toyota C-HR Review & Prices
The Toyota C-HR is a comfortable small SUV that’s good fun to drive, but the engines are pretty noisy and it's not very practical
Find out more about the Toyota C-HR
Like a bland celebrity coming out of their shell on reality TV, the Toyota C-HR shows that Toyota can be fun as well as sensible. With a comfortable yet enjoyable driving experience and frugal hybrid engine, this is a stylish family car you can buy with your heart as well as your head.
Immediately the C-HR wins points for its stylish design, because while some alternatives are a bit plain, the Toyota is a genuinely cool-looking thing. The C-shaped headlights give it a concept car vibe, and the illuminated C-HR logo in the rear lights is a neat touch. Go for a model with the two-tone paint and it’s particularly funky, and could easily be mistaken for a much posher car from Toyota’s sister brand Lexus.
It’s not quite as fancy inside, but the cabin feels well-made with a smart, functional design. The big infotainment display is snappy to use and while it’s fairly basic, integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto means that’s little issue.
The bank of switches for the climate controls have a premium look and feel, and top-spec models have some lovely soft suede-effect trim on the doors that make them feel particularly upmarket. This doesn’t continue into the back though, with cheap, scratchy plastics and little in the way of practical cubby holes.
The C-HR is fairly spacious, though kneeroom is tight in the back and taller drivers might find their legs are a touch cramped beneath the steering wheel. The Nissan Qashqai is much more spacious inside and, like most alternatives, has a bigger boot than the 388 litres you get in the Toyota.
The Toyota C-HR is a good-looking SUV that’s frugal, comfortable and pretty good fun to drive
But those who don’t need maximum practicality will be well-served by just how comfortable the C-HR is. It soaks up potholes and speed bumps without sending a thud through the cabin, while still being pretty good fun to pilot down a twisty road.
The only fly in the driving experience ointment is the fact that the engines are noisy and unrefined. There’s a choice of 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre self-charging hybrids, with a plug-in hybrid coming in early 2024.
At lower speeds, where the hybrid’s electric motors do most of the work, the 1.8-litre option is nice and quiet, but as soon as you need to accelerate the petrol engine starts shouting rowdily about having to do its job.
The 2.0-litre engine is much more restrained at normal speeds, but put your foot down and it’s similarly noisy – at least progress somewhat matches the noise thanks to having more power on offer.
It’s not enough to ruin the drive, but when the rest of the car is so comfortable and refined it’s more grating than it might be. That said, we saw 56mpg during a drive in the 1.8-litre version, so it’s definitely frugal and will keep fuel costs low.
If you like the sound of this stylish hybrid SUV, see how much you could save with the latest Toyota C-HR deals on carwow. You can also browse used C-HRs as well as other used Toyota models from our network of trusted dealers. When it’s time to sell your current car, carwow can help with that, too.
The Toyota C-HR has a RRP range of £31,290 to £43,720. However, with carwow you can save on average £3,021. Prices start at £28,864 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £276.
Our most popular versions of the Toyota C-HR are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|1.8 Hybrid Icon 5dr CVT||£28,864||Compare offers|
Although there are many positive aspects of the Toyota C-HR, you do have to pay the price. It’s not that it’s extortionate, but there are more practical alternatives that are a bit more affordable, such as the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Niro, Hyundai Kona and Peugeot 3008 – all of which are just as nice inside, too.
On top of this, you probably want to disregard the entry-level Icon trim unless you really want the cheapest model, because stepping up to Design adds smarter 18-inch alloy wheels and, more importantly, that big infotainment display. All models get decent safety kit, though.
The Toyota C-HR is really comfortable while also being fun in corners, but the hybrid engines can be frustratingly noisy
Town driving is the Toyota C-HR’s natural habitat, because the hybrid engine can spend most of its time on the electric motor. Leave it to its own devices and it does a good job of prioritising electric power while also making sure it has enough battery to do so. You can force it to stick to EV mode if you desire, though the forthcoming plug-in hybrid could be the one to wait for as it will be able to travel further without calling on the petrol engine to help.
Visibility is okay, but the rear pillars are chunky and the dashboard is quite deep, so it can be tricky to judge the car’s extremities. At least all models get Toyota’s Safety Sense assistance, which includes blind spot monitoring and a reversing camera as standard, while parking sensors are fitted from the Design grade, so the car has the kit to help you when things get particularly tight.
Despite iffy visibility, the light steering and electric propulsion mean that the C-HR is far from cumbersome. And the comfortable suspension means that when you hit potholes or speed bumps there are no intrusive thuds in the cabin, while rutted roads do little to upset the car so it feels like you’re driving something bigger and posher than you are.
On the motorway
At motorway speeds, the Toyota C-HR is a comfortable and refined cruiser, without too much wind or tyre noise making its way into the cabin. The peace is shattered somewhat whenever you accelerate up a slip road or need to pull off an overtake, though.
The 1.8-litre petrol engine in particular makes a loud fuss when you put your foot down, even if you’re being gentle on the pedal. And it’s rather gutless, so it’s not like the noise translates to a punchy driving experience. The 2.0-litre is similarly shouty under hard acceleration, but copes with gentle speed increases in a much quieter manner.
On a twisty road
When a car is impressively comfortable you usually expect the compromise to be less ability in the corners, but the Toyota C-HR actually proves itself to be a capable all-rounder. Sharper turns can cause the body weight to jolt to one side unnervingly, but make smoother progress and this is a family SUV that’s capable of putting a smile on your face down a winding road.
Unfortunately it’s let down by the engine once more. You make swift progress through a corner, but while the 2.0-litre is more eager to accelerate, neither engine is particularly responsive, so you’re left frustrated by the car’s lack of willingness to cooperate with your tomfoolery as you accelerate out of a corner.
There is a Sport mode that makes the engine rev more keenly when you press the throttle, but it feels like it’s just making things louder with little effect on pace, which only highlights the underwhelming performance further.
Cabin space is generally pretty good, but the Toyota C-HR has a smaller boot than most alternatives
Those in the front are fairly well catered for, and although this is a relatively small SUV there’s enough room for most people to get comfortable. That said, the steering wheel and seat adjustability is only so-so, meaning taller drivers might find their legs a touch cramped.
Storage is acceptable, too – the door bins are pretty deep but quite narrow so big bottles might take a bit of a squeeze to fit in, while you get two cup holders in the centre console and a space for your phone beneath the infotainment display (which is home to wireless charging for two phones in all but the base trim). The armrest gets the most useful storage space.
Space in the back seats
Jump in the back seats and it’s another case of good but not great. Legroom is adequate, your head won’t be rubbing the roof, and there’s a lot of shoulder room to the door in the outer seats, but the C-HR isn’t too wide so it’s a real squeeze to get three in the back.
You pay for that funky exterior styling, because although the sloping roof doesn’t impact on headroom too much, it does mean that the view out is quite restricted. The rear pillar is next to your head which makes it a touch claustrophobic, even if the actual space on offer isn’t too bad.
Storage is almost non-existent though, with a cup holder in the door and not a great deal else. There’s also just one USB-C charging slot for the kids to fight over.
Unfortunately, that average rear seat space is not made up for with a big boot in the Toyota C-HR, which gets 388 litres with the 1.8-litre engine and 364 litres with the 2.0-litre.
All of its alternatives offer comfortably more, with the T-Roc and Niro being the closest at 445 litres and 451 litres respectively, while the Peugeot 3008’s massive 520 litres makes it the best option if you’re regularly carrying large items like prams.
For some perspective, the similarly priced Nissan Qashqai also has a much bigger boot than the C-HR at 504 litres, while its smaller and even cheaper alternative the Nissan Juke is still more spacious at 422 litres.
Ultimately, if you only use the boot for the weekly shop it should be fine, but if you do need to maximise space it’s not ideal. The back half of the boot angles in so it’s not a particularly square shape, and when you fold the rear seats there’s a big lip to lift items over. There’s also little under-floor storage, which is taken up by some tools and a tyre repair kit.
The interior design is smart and upmarket up front, but it feels pretty cheap in the back seats
Although the interior design isn’t quite as dramatic as the exterior, the Toyota C-HR has a cool cabin design that makes it one of the more stylish options among alternatives. The 12.3-inch display (on all but entry trims) is big without being too intrusive, while the centre console swoops up to divide the passengers with a more interesting appearance than your typical slab-sided dashboard.
There are physical switches for the climate controls, and they have a satisfyingly solid action, so you don’t worry about them easily succumbing to fidgeting kids.
Go for the Design trim and above, and that large infotainment display works really well. It’s a big improvement on Toyota systems of old, being pretty simple to use and really fast to respond to inputs. It’s fairly basic, which isn’t necessarily a huge problem because it means you don’t get lost in endless menus, while the standard-fit wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto take care of your navigation and music streaming needs.
While the front feels fairly upmarket, it’s not the same story for those in the back. The doors are made up of exclusively scratchy plastics, meaning it looks a bit cheap and you don’t have anywhere comfortable to rest your arm.
There are two self-charging hybrid engines available for the Toyota C-HR. The first is a 140hp 1.8-litre unit that is expected to be the much more popular option. Official figures put fuel economy at 60.1mpg, though we saw an impressive 56mpg during our test drive, indicating that the official figure should be possible on a predominantly city-based route.
The 2.0-litre is a bit more powerful at 197hp and returns 57.7mpg in official tests. It’s the much nicer engine to drive and if the extra cost doesn’t put you off – it’s only offered on high-spec GR Sport and Premiere Edition models – it’s the one to go for, particularly since we saw a perfectly acceptable 53mpg on a short run.
Company car buyers will be better off waiting for the plug-in hybrid to arrive in early 2024, because it will have the lowest benefit-in-kind rate. Whichever model you go for, though, road tax will be pretty cheap thanks to low CO2 emissions of just 105g/km in the 1.8 and 110 in the 2.0.
The new Toyota C-HR has not yet been tested by safety experts Euro NCAP, but the outgoing model received the full five stars with a particularly impressive 95% score for adult occupant protection.
It’s unlikely that this latest model will lose any stars compared with its predecessor – though testing has become stricter in recent years – particularly because of the improved assistance technology on offer. The new C-HR’s Safety Sense kit can now ‘see’ further from the car, which improves its ability to respond to potential issues and, for example, apply the brakes more effectively.
All trims come with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, blind spot monitoring and a warning if you’re opening your door on a car or cyclist. Top level Excel versions get adaptive high-beam headlights, lane change assistance and a driver monitoring system, all of which are available as optional extras for the GR Sport.
Most of these systems are neatly integrated and don’t annoy you by, for example, constantly tugging at the wheel to keep you in lane, though the warning that you are exceeding the speed limit can grate, and turning the technology off is quite a fiddly process.
Although this is a new version of the C-HR, there’s no reason to expect that it will not continue its predecessor’s reputation as one of the most reliable family SUVs you can buy. Toyota as a brand has a fantastic reputation for building cars that don’t break, which should offer extra peace of mind.
On top of this, Toyota offers the best warranty of any car manufacturer in the UK. All cars come with the standard three-year warranty, but this can be extended by 12 months and 100,000 miles annually up to a total of 10 years or 100,000 miles simply by performing an annual service. This comfortably beats even the likes of Kia (seven years) and Hyundai (five years).
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.