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In-depth reviews

Toyota C-HR - Engines, performance & drive

The 1.8 Hybrid will no doubt provide the Toyota C-HR with enough performance: the 2.0 Hybrid is pricey

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£7,695 to £37,410
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Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Toyota C-HR 1.8 Hybrid

138bhp

10.2 seconds

106mph

Toyota C-HR 2.0 Hybrid

194bhp

8.1 seconds

112mph

Toyota C-HR 2.0 PHEV

220bhp

7.2 seconds

111mph

Being based on the same TNGA platform as the Toyota Corolla means the latest C-HR starts out with some excellent qualities when it comes to the driving experience. 

Around town is where the C-HR impresses most, with a well-judged ride that, while a little firm at times, still has enough compliance (even in range-topping GR Sport with the biggest 20-inch wheels) over urban speed bumps and sudden impacts with potholes to give it a more comfortable ride than a Nissan Juke. If comfort is your main priority, then we reckon the smaller 17-inch wheels of Icon trim, or the 18-inch wheels of mid-range Design are the way to go. The C-HR is well-controlled in terms of body movement because it doesn’t lean quite as much as a Hyundai Kona or Honda HR-V, plus the C-HR’s meaty, direct steering makes light work of nipping around traffic in tight city streets.

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Going beyond the city limits is where the old C-HR struggled because the revs used to soar whenever you asked for more than moderate acceleration, and trying to maintain speed up a hill would often become quite a noisy affair. This latest C-HR (admittedly in the more powerful of its two regular hybrid forms) seems much more comfortable with life. Sure, the engine still drones if you ask for maximum acceleration, but its extra power means you’ll get up to speed quicker, and you can get back to cruising sooner. For those choosing the C-HR Plug-In Hybrid model, you will notice its extra 200kg of weight, particularly when travelling along faster roads, but some suspension tuning has helped maintain the crisp body control of the standard hybrid C-HR, while the ride still does a good job of smothering the majority of road imperfections. 

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Once up to motorway cruising speed, wind and road noise compare well with immediate rivals. We found that road noise was noticeable, but that is a common complaint with cars sporting large 20-inch wheels, so we expect lesser trim levels with smaller wheels to be quieter.

On the whole, the C-HR is a decent hybrid SUV to drive. We’d never go as far as to suggest there’s much fun or genuine driver involvement to be had, because there’s just too much going on between you and the engine itself for that. You’d need a more traditionally powered petrol small SUV, like the Ford Puma, using a manual gearbox, in order to feel involved in the driving experience. However, it is possible to lean on the body control afforded by the TNGA underpinnings, use intelligent accelerator inputs to make the transmission behave more like a conventional auto, and you can maintain genuinely swift progress on a twisting road. 

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One word of caution, though. Due to the C-HR having to comply with the latest 2024 safety regulations requiring additional assistance technology such as speed limit warnings and lane keeping assistance, you’ll notice many more warning ‘bongs’ during your drive. We reckon you – like us – will become quite bored of all these alerts and want to turn them off. It is possible to do this using a menu in the digital instrument cluster, but it takes many button presses and must be done every time you restart the car.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The full hybrid system you get with the 1.8 and 2.0-litre (the latter being the only regular hybrid we’ve experienced so far) engines excels around town. There’s more than enough electric shove for the car to pull away smartly in silence, and trundling around at 20mph or 30mph, the C-HR feels absolutely in its comfort zone. The generous 194bhp provided by the 2.0-litre version is enough to accelerate the C-HR from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds, which is fast enough for this sort of car.

The entry-level 138bhp 1.8-litre should also cope just fine around town, and while its 10.2 second 0-62mph acceleration time is slower than the 2.0-litre, it still compares favourably with a 1.0-litre Skoda Karoq, which takes over 11 seconds to complete the same sprint.

With 220bhp, the 2.0-litre plug-in hybrid is the fastest C-HR, going from 0 to 62mph in 7.2 seconds. 

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