In-depth reviews

Toyota C-HR (2016-2023) review

With decent handling to back up its eye-catching looks, there’s more to like about the Toyota C-HR than just hybrid efficiency

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • Head-turning looks
  • Smart cabin
  • Great ride and handling
  • Thrashy hybrid drive
  • Tiny rear windows
  • No diesel
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The first-generation Toyota CH-R majors on interesting, funky design - which is crucial in this image-conscious crossover class. Inside, there are plenty of high-grade materials and a decent tally of kit, while the layout is good too, although the small back windows do make the rear feel a little claustrophobic.

Under the skin the C-HR uses the Toyota New Global Architecture which delivers composed handling and a comfortable ride, and you won't find many cars in the class that can rival the Toyota hybrid for its advanced powertrains and real-world efficiency. 

Smartly styled, good to drive, practical and featuring a classy cabin, the C-HR is a tempting alternative to more mainstream crossover models.

About the Toyota C-HR

The old Toyota C-HR was a particularly stylish model in the Japanese manufacturer's crossover line-up. When it was launched in 2016, it helped to spark a more innovative design approach that led to a range that now looks increasingly modern and desirable. C-HR stands for 'Coupe-High Rider'; the car's style mixing chunky crossover lines with a low-slung roofline like a coupe. 2023 saw the second-generation C-HR model arrive and it carries over plenty of the same eye-catching design language of the original.

But while the looks are sporty, the C-HR is actually pretty versatile, and it rivals the very best crossovers, such as the SEAT Ateca, Skoda Karoq, Peugeot 3008, Honda HR-V and Nissan Qashqai. There's decent space inside, too, yet the car's individual style helps it stand out in the class.

Even under the skin, the C-HR isn't entirely conventional. Power comes from Toyota's 1.8 VVT-i or 2.0 VVT-i hybrid petrol systems - the former delivering 120bhp and the latter 181bhp. Both feature a CVT auto as standard, as this controls power flow between the petrol engine, electric motor, battery pack and wheels, and is front-wheel drive only. There’s no plug-in hybrid model with that powertrain finally arriving with the second-generation C-HR model.

The C-HR came with four trim levels: Icon, Design, Excel and GR Sport - the latter replacing the old Dynamic trim level. An Orange Edition launched in 2020 which unsurprisingly came with special orange paint and black alloy wheels.

All C-HRs are pretty well-equipped. The entry-level Icon trim gets 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone air conditioning, an eight-inch multimedia display, reversing camera, LED daytime running lights and a 4.2-inch multi-information display for the driver. Toyota Safety Sense, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beam, road sign assist and pre-collision alert, you’ll find is standard across the range, too.

Design ramps up the style with 18-inch black machined-face alloys, intelligent parking assist, heated seats and privacy glass amongst the goodies, while Excel adds rear cross traffic alert with automatic braking, LED adaptive headlights, LED rear lights with sequential indicators, black leather upholstery and electrically-adjustable, heated front seats.

The GR Sport gets 19-inch alloys, dark tinted headlamps, special badges and red stitching on the leather steering wheel, but has no performance upgrades over other models. Black Alcantara interior and 576-watt JBL sound system was an optional extra on this grade.

On the used market it pays off to be extra scrupulous with the C-HR. Toyota offered a variety of packs that allowed you to personalise the C-HR with extra kit or different looks. Prices for the C-HR started from around £29,000, rising to more than £35,000 for a top-spec model, the oldest examples with the highest mileage can be had from around £11,000.

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