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The Top Gear car review:Toyota C-HR
What is it like on the road?
Let’s start with the biggest change – the drivetrains. The 1.2 turbo may not have been the gutsiest engine, but it came with a manual gearbox that suited the C-HR’s surprisingly dynamic handling.
The now base-spec 1.8-litre petrol engine with accompanying electric motor only manages to develop 120bhp all-in, and with lithium-ion batteries on board it weighs over 1,400kgs. When we last drove it in pre-facelift guise, we found progress to be sluggish and not helped by the elastic CVT gearbox. The mid-life updates don’t bring any mechanical changes to that drivetrain either, so we can assume our previous statement still stands.
What we did like before was the steering and suspension setup in the C-HR. Even so, Toyota has improved on that once again. As previously mentioned, there’s now an enhanced power steering system. The resulting feel is light but direct – you shouldn’t find yourself having to play with the wheel all that often.
The ride is comfortable but not wallowy. You’ll corner flat and although you’ll notice bumps in the road, they never seem to shudder through the cabin as in some other crossovers, even with the larger 18-inch wheels fitted.
The new 2.0-litre hybrid produces 182bhp from its petrol and electric motors thanks to some clever combustion tech. It weighs slightly more than the 1.8 and is still front-wheel drive only, but the extra power is welcome given the C-HR’s game handling. Zero to 62mph takes 8.2 seconds, compared to 11 seconds dead for the smaller engine. Unfortunately the recurring presence of that CVT gearbox means the new unit sounds just as strained under acceleration and puts to bed any thoughts of spirited driving.
Both engine options are economical, though. Toyota claims just under 59mpg and 109g/km for the 1.8-litre engine on the WLTP cycle, and 54mpg and 119g/km in the same conditions for the 2.0-litre. There’s also a new graphic front and centre that shows what percentage of the time you’ve spent in EV mode, and the MyToyota app now offers something called ‘Hybrid Coaching’.