Toyota C-HR review

Toyota C-HR

We drive the latest version of Toyota’s popular C-HR family crossover – and it’s a big, bold step-up…

If a car could be judged purely on its styling, the second-generation Toyota C-HR would be best-in-class.

And when you consider that its biggest rivals include the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Skoda Karoq, Seat Ateca and Hyundai Tucson, that’s no mean feat.

Toyota C-HR

But before we weigh up the new C-HR’s pros and cons, let’s go back to 2017 when the first generation ‘Coupe-High Rider’ was launched in the UK.

With its radical looks, it was something of a departure for Toyota which was still selling the conservative Auris and Avensis at the time.

The funky C-HR was a chunky crossover with a low-slung roofline like a coupe. Distinctively styled with a big roof spoiler and sloping rear window, it was well-equipped, but it also wasn’t without its issues.

Toyota C-HR

Fast forward to 2023 and the all-new Toyota C-HR is a looker. A more grown-up version of the outgoing model, it boasts a wider stance and the original’s curves have been replaced by sharper lines and solid surfacing.

Once again there’s a heavily raked tailgate, though this time it features a dual-element rear spoiler and a full-width LED light bar below with an illuminated ‘C-HR’.

At the front, it features the new ‘hammerhead’ face of Toyota SUVs, while the ‘hidden’ raised rear door handles are no more (they’ve been replaced by retractable ones, front and rear). Overall build quality, interior materials and technology have also been upgraded.

Toyota C-HR

Priced from £31,290, the new model launches initially with 1.8 and 2.0-litre engines paired with Toyota’s latest fifth-generation full hybrid technology that ups both power and efficiency.  A 2.0-litre plug-in hybrid will arrive in 2024.

The 1.8-litre delivers 138bhp and the 2.0-litre ups power to 194bhp. Official figures put fuel economy at 60.1mpg and 57.6mpg respectively, while CO2 emissions are from 105g/km and 110g/km.

Both engines are front-wheel drive (there’s no AWD option) and a 2.0-litre plug-in hybrid (with an EV range of up to 41 miles) will join the C-HR line-up in 2024.

Toyota C-HR

First impressions count, and the second-gen Toyota C-HR certainly oozes kerb appeal, especially if you choose a two-tone paint-job.

In terms of size, its dimensions are almost identical to the Suzuki S-Cross, which makes it a tad smaller than its main competitors (including the Nissan Qashqai), but bigger than the class below (eg Nissan Juke).

The driving position is on the high side for me, but you soon get used to it because it’s comfortable with a decent amount of support.

Toyota C-HR - Gareth Herincx

There are roomier cabins, not just because the C-HR isn’t as wide as some rivals, but the driver focused set-up with high centre console makes it snug, especially on the passenger side.

The good news is that the 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen (on all but entry trims) combined with the driver’s digital display looks the part and works well enough. And mercifully, the C-HR has some physical controls for essentials such as air-conditioning – unlike some new cars.

There’s reasonable space for passengers at the back, while the cabin as a whole has a classier feel, with more soft-touch surfaces.

Toyota C-HR

Toyota’s also ticked the sustainability box because the seat fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles and there’s animal-free ‘leather’ on the steering wheel.

Load capacity varies between the two engines – 388 litres (1.8) and 364 litres for the 2.0. Again, not class-leading, but adequate. All models come with 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

Visibility is good ahead, but slightly more challenging behind thanks to those chunky rear pillars and small rear windows. Thankfully, all versions have a reversing camera.

Toyota C-HR

The C-HR has a fairly supple suspension and it handles lumps and bumps well. So, it’s one of the more comfortable SUVs on the market.

Light steering suits its natural urban habitat well, but the C-HR is also a pleasant cruiser. It would be an exaggeration to call it dynamic on twistier roads, but there are good levels of body control and decent grip.

We tested both engines (not the GR Sport grade), and both balance performance with economy, delivering 10.2sec and 8.1sec respectively for the 0-62mph sprint.

Toyota C-HR

The issue with both is that there’s a CVT automatic gearbox which causes the revs to rise and stay high until you’ve reached your desired speed. The din in the cabin soon settles down, but it puts you off driving anything but smoothly.

Interestingly, the more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid engine is a little more refined, so manages to iron out the worst of the CVT better.

Toyota C-HR

The C-HR slips between electric and engine modes seamlessly, and can be driven along for short distances using the electric motor alone, so all in all, the claimed economy figures are very achievable.

Finally, it’s always worth remembering that the C-HR comes with a three-year warranty that extends up to 10 years/100,000 miles so long as your car is serviced annually at an authorised Toyota workshop.

Verdict: The cool new Toyota C-HR is a real step-up from the first-generation model. Easy to drive, economical, well equipped and classy, it certainly stands out from the crowd.

Toyota UK

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review

We road test the stylish new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross – an SUV transformed…

Where the outgoing Suzuki S-Cross lost out in kerb appeal, it gained in practicality, off-road capability, comfort, equipment and value for money.

This third-generation model builds on its predecessor’s plus points, adding style and a comprehensive safety and tech upgrade.

And let’s face it, it has to good because it’s battling it out with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-30 and Seat Ateca in the highly competitive family crossover sector.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hybrid review

The new S-Cross has a couple of aces up its sleeve. Unlike most of its rivals, not only is it also available with four-wheel drive (AllGrip in Suzuki speak), but it offers more equipment as standard, better fuel economy and lower emissions.

Add Suzuki’s hard-won reputation for reliability and top customer service and it becomes a serious contender.

So let’s start with the obvious. While the S-Cross retains much the same profile as the Mk 2, it now has a bolder, more rugged SUV appearance and it looks especially good from the front.

Priced from £24,999, at launch it’s only available with a lively 1.4-litre ‘Boosterjet’ turbo engine, which features a 48V mild hybrid system (there’s a 0.3kWh lithium-ion battery under the driver’s seat) developing 129bhp in total.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hybrid review

Delivering a 0-62mph acceleration time of 9.5 seconds (2WD models) for both manual and automatic transmissions and a top speed of 118mph, it is capable of up to 53.2mmpg, while CO2 emissions are as low as 120g/km. And those last two stats are class-leading.

To make life less complicated, the S-Cross comes in two trim levels – Motion and Ultra.

Entry-level Motion comes with a 7.0-inch centre touchscreen (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and heated front seats.

Ultra adds a 9.0-inch touchscreen with built-in sat-nav, 360-degree camera, leather upholstery, a sliding panoramic roof and the option of four-wheel drive.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hybrid review

There’s a step-up inside too. While it’s not state-of-the-art, it’s spacious, comfortable and logically laid out.

It’s well built too, though we’d prefer some soft-touch surfaces. It’s also refreshing to find some buttons and dials in addition to the touchscreen (a big improvement on its predecessor, though still not the slickest system ever).

There’s plenty of space for passengers, but the panoramic sunroof does eat into the headroom, so don’t forget to sit in the back on a test drive.

Boot capacity is a useful 430 litres, rising to 875 litres with the rear seats folded down. There are also useful storage spaces around the cabin.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hybrid review

Our only gripe is that the driver’s seating position is a little on the high side, but it won’t be a deal breaker for most potential buyers.

On the road the new Suzuki S-Cross is easy and fun to drive. The engine is eager, and thanks to the car’s lightweight construction and that boost from the battery, it feels lively and only becomes vocal if pushed hard.

Like most SUVs, there’s a little body roll in faster corners, but overall it feels composed and surprisingly agile, while both the automatic or manual six-speed gearboxes are a pleasure to use.

It’s ideal for the city, with light steering and good visibility, plus all-round parking sensors and a rear camera.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hybrid review

What’s more, if you’re no stranger to extreme weather conditions or you simply want extra peace of mind, then four-wheel drive is fitted as standard if you opt for the Ultra trim.

It has four drive modes – Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock. Auto is the default. It uses two-wheel drive, switching to four wheels if it detects wheel spin. Sport makes the S-Cross more dynamic, maximising grip when necessary, altering engine response and cornering performance.

Use Snow for the obvious and other slippery conditions, while Lock is for controlling the car in snow, mud, or sand.

Verdict: The new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is something of a revelation. An affordable, no-nonsense family SUV that handles well and offers impressive off-road capability. Generously equipped, spacious and boasting low running costs, it’s packed with safety kit and the latest infotainment technology.

Suzuki Cars

UK million milestone for SEAT cars

Gareth Herincx

4 days ago
Auto News

SEAT-Leon-e-Hybrid

SEAT has reached a new landmark in the UK – the sale of one million vehicles.

The milestone car was Leon e-HYBRID (plug-in hybrid) registered by Pulman SEAT (based in Southwick, Sunderland) and sold to a private customer.

The UK is SEAT’s third largest market, after Spain and Germany, and it has exported cars here since September 1985.

The first models were the first-generation Ibiza and the Malaga saloon, with both models initially achieving a combined first year sales total of 405.

By comparison, SEAT sold 68,800 vehicles in 2019, a new UK record for the brand, and was one of the fastest growing major automotive manufacturers in the country.

To date in 2021, SEAT sales have already passed 40,000, close to surpassing the full-year 2020 COVID-effected figures.

“The UK is one of SEAT’s largest and most significant international markets,” said Richard Harrison, Managing Director of SEAT UK.

“This is a tremendous milestone and comes at a time when SEAT offers its most diverse range of vehicles yet.

“Our SUV family – Arona, Ateca and Tarraco – have sold extremely well within the UK, while legacy models – Ibiza and Leon – continue their longstanding popularity.

“It’s fitting that the one millionth car is a Leon e-HYBRID as it symbolises SEAT’s journey towards electrified powertrains.”

Check Also


Hyundai Tucson Hybrid review

Hyundai Tucson crowned ‘Car of the Year’

Hyundai’s impressive new Tucson SUV has been named best car in Britain by leading motoring …