The Toyota C-HR

Toyota C-HR GR Sport Review

Read Caroline's Toyota C-HR GR Sport review for everything you need to know about buying the latest version of Toyota's popular hybrid crossover in Ireland.

The Toyota C-HR has been a great success in Ireland since it launched here back in 2016. A new model for Toyota when it launched, the C-HR's trendy crossover looks and hybrid powertrain have been enough to make it a bestselling car in Ireland in a relatively short space of time.

In 2020, the C-HR was updated slightly inside and out. The range was also widened with the arrival of a new 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain offering buyers the option of more power.

Now Toyota has added a new range topping trim level to the range - introducing the new Toyota C-HR GR Sport. It joins the Luna, Sport and Sol trim lines.

The C-HR range starts from €31,025, with the C-HR GR Sport range starting from €38,515.

The Toyota C-HR GR-Sport on test for Changing Lanes!
The Toyota C-HR GR Sport on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Toyota C-HR GR Sport?

Inspired by Toyota's high performance GR Supra and GR Yaris, the GR Sport trim line bestows the C-HR with a list of sporty design enhancements. Just like the Toyota Corolla GR Sport, these enhancements are purely cosmetic.

Toyota's 1.8 litre hybrid (122hp) or 2.0 litre hybrid (184hp) powertrains provide the power, with a natural bias towards efficiency - rather than racetrack performance like those classic GR models!

Still it's a formula that works. The C-HR is a very good looking car anyway, with plenty of interesting design features. The GR Sport adds even more prestige to this popular crossover.

At the front there's a special black background to the Toyota emblem and headlamp housings. The centre bumper and fog lamp surrounds get a glossy black finish, a dark chrome grille and a new, more aggressively styled front spoiler.

There is lots of standard equipment including touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, dual zone climate control, power adjustable driver's seat, and auto fold door mirrors. There's also the full range of Toyota Safety Sense, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and high beam assist.

Around the back of the car the Toyota emblem has a black background. There are more glossy black reflector surrounds, bespoke under-bumper trim garnish and a GR Sport badge.

The Dynamic Grey paint with black roof is exclusive to the GR Sport and the car sits on special 19" alloy wheels.

The GR Sport is the new range topper for the C-HR range
The GR Sport is the new range topper for the C-HR range

Inside the C-HR GR Sport

The C-HR has a very stylish interior and good quality finish. It is one of the most premium feeling cabins of the brand's compact range. You sit that little bit higher than in a hatch and the cabin appears to wrap around you in a sporty way.

The new C-HR GR Sport gets a few special additions including a new silver cabin finish, perforated leather steering wheel rim with red stitching, unique scuff plates, and a GR stop/start button.

There are also new GR-inspired Alcantara seats with leather bolsters and red and grey stitching. They give the cabin a real sporty feel and look great!

The C-HR is classed as a C-segment SUV but it's on the 'cosier' side of the spectrum. There is seating for three in the rear but two will be most comfortable. The coupé-style design of the rear doors and high beltline look great from the outside. But it does mean that it's quite dark and enclosed feeling for back seat passengers.

The boot at 377 litres is more comparable with the average hatchback. Some crossovers and SUVs in this price bracket do have larger boots and are more practical.

The interior of the Toyota C-HR
The interior of the Toyota C-HR

Driving the Toyota C-HR Hybrid

The Toyota C-HR marked a turning point for the Toyota brand when it was first launched back in 2016. It was the first of a new generation of Toyota cars built upon the TNGA platform with more style and dynamism. TNGA changed everything for Toyota, creating a new line-up of cars that have really driven sales for the brand, including the latest Corolla and RAV4.

Toyota already made some dynamic upgrades to the C-HR in 2020 for improved steering feel. The 2.0-litre hybrid also launched with a new suspension design that improves ride comfort. Refinement was also improved with an upgraded Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) pack to further reduce cabin noise.

The GR Sport adds on that with model-bespoke tyres, suspension system and steering tuning to improve how the car performs on the road, while retaining good ride comfort.

The C-HR GR Sport feels good on the road. It is a fun car to drive that handles more like a hatchback. The steering is precise and you feel nicely connected to the car. It can cruise on the motorway in comfort, with good refinement too. Though this model in particular does grate a bit over bumps on rougher surfaces.

Rear seating in the C-HR
Rear seating in the C-HR

What are my options?

There is the choice of two hybrid powertrains for the C-HR. The 1.8-litre hybrid has 122 hp and the best economy of the range. For anyone seeking a bit more power, the new 2.0-litre hybrid in the C-HR delivers 184 hp and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds.

The Toyota C-HR 2.0-litre hybrid feels robust and well balanced in terms of power and its delivery through a CVT automatic gearbox. Refinement has been improved with less noise from the CVT.

There's also a new monitor in the latest C-HR to show what percentage of the time your car is driving in EV mode, i.e. on power from the battery not the combustion engine. This is useful in low speed driving for example. Overall this car is as efficient as promised, with my average fuel consumption over a week of driving coming in at 4.8 litres per 100 km.

Did you like it?

The C-HR is one of Toyota's best models, with a premium finish to the design, interior and on the road behaviour that makes it stand out.

It is a very stylish and fashionable car. It was designed as such. So it's not the most practical or the best value for money of the C-segment SUVs. But still highly desirable.

All models come well equipped, including the entry into the range.The new GR Sport trim enhances the C-HR's individual look with a high end finish. It is in short a lovely car. But it starts to get expensive for what is still a relatively compact car. There is better value to be had elsewhere in the range.

Toyota offers two efficient hybrid powertrains for the latest C-HR. But the 1.8-litre hybrid is a good balance on power and efficiency, and will meet the needs of most motorists.

It’s very easy to see the appeal of the C-HR from behind the wheel. As more hybrids come to market, the sophistication of the hybrid powertrain and Toyota’s experience in this area shines through.

The Toyota C-HR is a trendy and fun to drive crossover
The Toyota C-HR is a trendy and fun to drive crossover

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

Model tested: Toyota C-HR 2.0 Hybrid GR Sport
Price: 
€41,160
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
184 hp
Torque: 190 Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.2 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 120 g/km
Motor Tax: €190 per year


The new Toyota bZ4X will arrive in Ireland in June

Toyota bZ4X Electric Pricing For Ireland

The new Toyota bZ4X will arrive in Ireland in June
The new Toyota bZ4X will arrive in Ireland in June

Toyota Ireland has announced that the all-new Toyota bZ4X, the first Toyota electric car, will arrive in Ireland in June.

It's the first model from a new line-up of bZ - beyond zero - models promised by the Japanese brand.

The new electric five seat SUV will be available here in three grades - Advance, Sport and Premiere Edition.

The new Toyota bZ4X will go on sale priced from €43,402 and can be reserved online now through the Toyota website. Toyota expects that the 2022 bZ4X allocation will be pre-sold before its arrival in June

The new SUV will use a 71.4 kWh battery. With a fully charged battery, the new electric SUV from Toyotais said to have an expected range of more than 450 km. The brand says that even after 10 years of driving, the battery is targeted to still operate at 90% of its original performance.

There will be a single version with 204 hp and a dual motor, all wheel drive version of the bZ4X with 218 hp.

DC fast charging is available up to 150 kW.

As Toyota’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV), the new Toyota bZ4X is also the first to use the company’s new BEV-dedicated platform. based on eTNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture).


The new Toyota Yaris Premier on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota Yaris Hybrid Review

Read Caroline's Toyota Yaris Hybrid review for everything you need to know about buying Toyota's small hatchback in Ireland.

The Toyota Yaris is one of Ireland's most loved small cars. It's been around for over 20 years and is a consistent top 10 bestselling car in Ireland. In 2020 Toyota launched an all-new generation of the popular Yaris and it was quick to snatch the award of European Car of the Year 2021.

In 20 years, the Yaris has become Toyota’s most important model in Europe, steadily increasing both its sales volume and its market share.

The new Toyota Yaris Premier on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Toyota Yaris Premier on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the new Toyota Yaris?

There's something major happening at Toyota in recent years. It's called TNGA or Toyota New Global Architecture. If you thought Toyotas were boring cars, you need to drive their new generation vehicles.

The new Yaris is the first small Toyota to be built on Toyota New Global Architecture. The GA-B platform is central to the car’s improved dynamic performance, giving a lower centre of gravity and much greater body rigidity. A range of Toyota Safety Sense active safety systems come as standard, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as Lane Trace Assist and Emergency Steering Assist.

The Yaris Hybrid is more powerful and efficient than before
The Yaris Hybrid is more powerful and efficient than before

The latest Yaris is also a much cooler looking car than the model it replaces. It's a far more energetic and dynamic design. A bi tone roof is available with alloy wheel sizes up to 17" and new LED light technology.

Inside the Yaris

Toyota has transformed the interior of the latest generation Yaris. Quality and design have taken a real step up in line with this car's cooler and more youthful image.

The interior has a more open and spacious feel when compared to the outgoing model. The driving position is better, sportier.

There are more soft touch materials and cool ambient lighting available on some models. There are 7" and 8" touchscreens available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The steering wheel is smaller and sportier. New auxiliary buttons have a greater tactile quality.

The new GA-B platform allowed for a reduction in the car’s overall length, making it the most compact model in its class, but with an increase in its wheelbase for more space and comfort for everyone on board. The new Yaris has more space and elbow room - an extra 20 mm between the driver and front passenger. The boot is nowhere near class-leading but it has some depth and offers an adequate 286 litres of space.

Inside the 2020 Toyota Yaris
The interior of the new Toyota Yaris

In Ireland the Toyota Yaris is available in five trim levels –  Aura, Luna, Luna Sport, Platinum and Premier. The 2022 Toyota Yaris range kicks off in Ireland with a 1.0-litre petrol with 72 hp, while there is also a 1.5-litre petrol manual and a 1.5-litre hybrid auto.

Pricing starts at €20,140 for the Yaris Aura petrol, while the Toyota Yaris Hybrid pricing starts from €23,990 in Luna trim.

How economical is the Toyota Yaris Hybrid?

The new Toyota Yaris uses the latest, fourth-generation Toyota hybrid technology. New components have been engineered to be compact, lightweight and efficient. The focus in the development of this car was not just to make it more efficient, but to also make the car more enjoyable to drive.

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid now offers EV driving for longer periods in urban traffic. CO2 emissions have dropped, while it's more efficient than before too. Under the bonnet there's a 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid powertrain to improve efficiency by 20% and put out even more power at 116 hp. It's quicker and more responsive to the throttle.

Behind the wheel, the new driving position gives you a greater sense of control and connection with the car, supporting the fun-to-drive character of the new Yaris. The car feels more agile and engaging at the wheel. The steering is quicker and more direct. The hybrid delivers the power in a smoother, quieter and more refined way than the previous generation of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid.

While built for efficiency, the Yaris Hybrid feels natural on the road, like any petrol driven small car. A revised suspension set-up means it covers the tarmac better, with a softer and smoother ride. In town driving it can run up to 80% of the time on electric power, with the engine only cutting in when needed. So in urban environments it helps your eco-credentials, while sipping at the fuel.

Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.5 litres per 100 km, with some long distance motorway runs included. So this is a good return on fuel economy for a small car.

The new Yaris is a radically improved car
The new Yaris is a radically improved car

Did you like it?

The new Toyota Yaris is far more desirable than the car it replaces. It has truly blossomed as a small car on the new TNGA platform. It looks great and even quite sporty in higher trim levels like the top of the range Premier model on test for Changing Lanes.

Already an award winner, the new Yaris has been suitably revamped inside and now feels a lot more competitive in its segment with the latest technology and digital features.

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid has also been greatly improved. It's much more refined now on the road to drive. The car is more fun to drive than it was before. It's comfortable by small car standards too. It is more expensive to buy than the petrol models in the range, but the car has power and feels good on the road.

Toyota has just welcomed the new Toyota Yaris Cross to Ireland, an SUV spin off of the Yaris sharing much of the same DNA but in more of a crossover style.

The Yaris picks up the baton as a small simple efficient hatchback, with good value and choice available in the range.

It's a classic and reliable choice of small car but the Yaris now feels truly competitive in its class of vehicle and one you can pick with your heart too.

A transformation for one of Ireland's favourite cars.

The Yaris Hybrid is available from €23,990
The Yaris Hybrid is available from €23,990 in Ireland

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Yaris Hybrid Premier
Price:
€27,680
Engine: 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
116 hp
0-100km/h: 
9.7 seconds
Top speed:  175 km/h
CO2 emissions: 
88 g/km
Motor tax:
€160 per year


The new Toyota Corolla Cross will arrive in Ireland in 2022

Toyota Corolla Cross On The Way To Ireland!

The new Toyota Corolla Cross will arrive in Ireland in 2022
The new Toyota Corolla Cross will arrive in Ireland in 2022

Toyota Ireland has confirmed that a new SUV will join the range in 2022 - the new Toyota Corolla Cross.

What is the new Toyota Corolla Cross?

The new Corolla Cross is a mid-size family SUV and will join the RAV4, Highlander, C-HR and recently launched Yaris Cross in the brand's line-up of SUVs. Pricing for the new Corolla Cross in Ireland will be announced closer to launch.

The new SUV will complete the family of Corolla derivatives -sitting alongside the Corolla hatchback, Touring Sports and saloon.

Based on Toyota’s TNGA philosophy, the Corolla Cross features the latest GA-C platform developments. It will be exclusively available as a hybrid. It sits between the Toyota C-HR and the RAV4 and is designed to be practical and spacious for families.

The Corolla Cross will be the first Toyota model globally to benefit from the new fifth-generation hybrid system. It has more torque, more electrical power, greater efficiency and increased driving pleasure.

The transaxle has been re-engineered along with new lubrication and oil distribution systems that use low-viscosity oil. This contributes to efficiency and power improvements thanks to reduced electrical and mechanical losses.

The Corolla Cross is a new mid-size family SUV
The Corolla Cross is a new mid-size family SUV

New hybrid tech for Corolla Cross

The new battery pack system is more powerful and 40% lighter than before. Both motor and engine output have improved, resulting in a total system output increase of more than 8%.

The front wheel drive 2.0 litre hybrid powertrain generates 197hp, delivering 0-100km/h acceleration in 8.1 seconds. There will also be an all wheel drive variant.

Inside there is a European-specific dashboard layout, featuring an all-new, multi-configuration, 12.3-inch driver’s digital cockpit and a 10.5-inch central multimedia display.

More than 50 million Corollas have been sold around the world since its introduction in 1966. The new Corolla Cross will further strengthen Toyota’s presence in the C-segment. The Corolla is already one of the bestselling cars in Ireland.

Customer deliveries of the new Corolla Cross will start in Autumn 2022.


The Toyota GR Yaris on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota GR Yaris Review

The Toyota GR Yaris on test for Changing Lanes!
The Toyota GR Yaris on test for Changing Lanes!

2021 saw the exciting arrival of the new Toyota GR Yaris to the Toyota range in Ireland. The high performance GR Yaris is just the second global GR model, following the Supra (GR stands for Gazoo Racing and is Toyota's motorsport division!)

The GR Yaris heritage is astounding at a time when hybrid and electric are taking over the world, even at Toyota, where the brand has been bringing hybrids to market for over 20 years.

You can't even really talk about the GR Yaris in the same sentence as the Yaris Hybrid for example because they share so little. The only things they have in common are the wing mirrors, the antenna on the roof and the front and rear lights. Everything else is new and well frankly mad for a Yaris!

The GR Yaris is a four wheel drive supermini putting out 261 hp from a three cylinder engine, the most powerful in the world. It retails in Ireland from €50,565.

The Toyota GR Yaris puts out 261 hp from a three cylinder engine
The Toyota GR Yaris puts out 261 hp from a three cylinder engine

What's so special about the Toyota GR Yaris?

When Toyota announced its return to the World Rally Championship in 2015, building a rally-inspired sports car for the road was part of the plan. For Toyota President Akio Toyoda, the creation of a sports car made purely by Toyota – the first in 20 years – was a personal ambition. Following on from winning the WRC manufacturers’ championship in 2018, he saw a winning car as being key to achieving global recognition as a true auto manufacturer.

From the beginning, the development team worked closely with Tommi Mäkinen Racing to bring the GR Yaris to the road. Professional rally drivers, including members of Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team, drove the prototype models and gave feedback.

WATCH A VIDEO!

The GR Yaris is built on a unique platform, combining Toyota’s new GA-B platform (which debuted on the new generation Yaris hatchback) and a rear section adapted from the GA-C platform used for the Corolla and C-HR. It's a little bit of a mutant Yaris. You will know by looking at it that something is up. A wide track and flared wheelarches give it a sporty and purposeful stance, shod with 18" black alloy wheels. The rally team emphasised the importance of light weight in the car's design so the doors and bonnet are made from aluminium, while the roof is forged carbon composite roof. The lower, tapering roof line has been designed specifically to direct wind flow onto the large rear rally car spoiler to generate extra downforce. As with a competition car, the shaping of the lower body efficiently channels airflow down the sides of the vehicle.

It's 3-door only but all the weight saving has not binned practicality. You do get back seats and a small but useful boot. The cabin is Yaris but with more salubrious materials and two mighty sports seats. It might not feel like the cabin of a €50k car but they never really do. It's a small compromise to be made in a car this exciting with such amazing pedigree. We will stop by saying the cabin is comfortable and well-made with the latest convenience features and infotainment compatible with your smartphone.

Inside the Toyota GR Yaris
Inside the Toyota GR Yaris

Driving the Toyota GR Yaris

To the really good stuff now. The GR Yaris has a kerb weight of just 1,280 kg. The engine is new, a 1.6-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged unit producing 261 hp and 360 Nm of torque. It complies with WRC2 technical regulations and can launch the GR Yaris from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.5 seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 230 km/h. It has features derived directly from motorsport, including a ball bearing turbocharger, large-diameter exhaust valves and multi-jet oil piston cooling. That's cool, huh?

Engine power is harnessed through Toyota’s new GR-FOUR permanent, electronically controlled all-wheel drive system. Another competition-inspired feature, this provides three driving modes with different front/rear drive torque to suit the conditions – Normal, Track and Sport.

This is where we begin to extract the fun from the Toyota GR Yaris, as you like it. When you get into the car, the controls all feel heavy and tactile. There is a rumble from the rear of the car. Inside the engine note is bass but not as noisy as what you might think. However once you put your foot down in the GR Yaris, it's a completely different story. It feels fast with a magnificent roar for a three cylinder engine!

The Toyota GR Yaris also excels in the way it handles. Firstly, equipment. It's a manual by default with a delicious mechanical feel to the gear change. The gear shift lever has a high position on the centre console, raised by 50 mm and set close to the steering wheel, helping the driver make quick shifts. The action is light with short shift strokes, adding to the performance quality. The GR Yaris also has a mechanical hand-operated parking brake.

The GR Yaris is an unforgettable rally car for the road
The GR Yaris is an unforgettable rally car for the road

Did you like it?

Hell, yeah!

Driving modes also help extract more play from the GR Yaris, altering the torque distribution to the front and rear wheels. In Normal mode the ratio is 60:40 front rear, in track mode it's 50:50 and in Sport mode it's 30:70!

The grip is sensational. It doesn't matter what you throw at it, even the worst Irish asphalt - the GR Yaris is not thrown by bumps mid-corner. It stays absolutely stable throughout making it a true rally car for the road, designed for challenging roads. The ride is firm, but it's not comically firm. The only you will be laughing about is how good this car feels!

The GR Yaris feels gloriously simple and mechanical on the road, like all the best sports car. You have to really understand cars to enjoy this car.

It's in a different league to front wheel drive compact 'hot hatchbacks' like the Fiesta ST and the i20 N. It's about the way this one has been developed, the DNA and the heritage. It's about Toyota's passion for motor racing and willingness to gift the fans with an awesome rally car for the road.

Toyota GR Yaris on sale now
Toyota GR Yaris on sale now

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota GR Yaris with Luxury Pack
Price: 
€54,345
Engine: 
1.6-litre turbo petrol
Power:  261 hp
Torque: 360 Nm
Top speed: 230 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.5 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
186 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€600 per year


The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid

Toyota Corolla Hybrid Review

The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid
The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid

Thinking of buying a new Toyota Corolla Hybrid in 2022? Read Caroline's review of the latest Corolla hatchback for everything you need to know about one of Ireland's bestselling cars.

Toyota Ireland promised us a ‘hybrid invasion’ , and it has come to pass with popular models like the Corolla and RAV4 now exclusively hybrid. The new generation of the Toyota Corolla, one of Ireland’s best-loved cars, arrived here in 2019 and is available as a hatchback, saloon and estate. Toyota has also introduced a Corolla GR Sport with sporty trim elements. There is also now the option of a 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre hybrid engine for even more performance and refinement.

Ever since Toyota Global President, Akio Toyoda, declared "no more boring cars!" from the brand, there has been something of a renaissance underway at Toyota. That’s thanks to Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that is underpinning this new generation of models.

A new SUV based on the Corolla will be launched in Ireland in late 2022 - the new Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.

What's so special about the latest Toyota Corolla?

Available from €27,605, the new Toyota Corolla Hybrid hatchback model is pitched as the compact, sporty one within the new Corolla family. Certainly, the car has undergone a terrific makeover. The new Corolla hatchback is longer and lower than the Auris hatchback it replaces, with a snug, sporty stance on the road. Exclusive to the segment, there are also four optional bi-tone colour schemes available from launch. They combine the body colour with a metallic black finish to the roof, roof front and rear pillars, and the door mirrors.

The Toyota Corolla Hatchback range goes on sale from €24,,380 in Ireland
The Toyota Corolla Hatchback range goes on sale from €24,,380 in Ireland

What are my options?

The new Toyota Corolla Hatchback is offered in Ireland for 2022 in four grades: Luna, Luna Sport, Sol and GR Sport. Standard equipment includes 16″ alloys, Toyota Safety Sense including adaptive cruise control and lane trace assist, LED headlights/fog lights and 8″ Toyota Touch.

The Corolla Luna Sport model has a list price of €31,220 and features include rear view camera, Toyota Touch® 2 multimedia system, bi beam LED headlamps, LED front fog lamps, 17” black machined alloys, black contrasting roof, black roof spoiler, rear privacy glass, red dashboard trim and blue ambient lighting.

The design and quality of the interior of the new Toyota Corolla has improved almost as dramatically as the exterior styling of the car. There are plenty of soft touch materials inside. Plus a number of technology features including the digital instrument panel and central touchscreen for the infotainment. From 2020 all new Toyota Corollas come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Corolla Hatchback will seat five with reasonable accommodation for the compact class. The Hatchback sits on a slightly shorter wheelbase to the Saloon and Touring Sports. So if rear space is a priority, buyers will appreciate the more spacious feeling in the back of those models. The boot is about average for the segment at 361 litres.

The interior of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
The interior of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Driving the Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Toyota has made much of the newly adopted Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-C platform and rightly so. Key concerns for engineers were to make this Corolla safer and more engaging to drive than anything that has come before. The GA-C platform guarantees a more rewarding driving experience. That's thanks to a centre of gravity that is lowered by 10 mm, a multi-link rear suspension fitted as standard across the model range, and a 60% more rigid body shell through the use of high strength steel as reinforcement in key areas. According to Toyota, these contribute to better handling and stability. All without compromising ride and comfort and also reducing high frequency vibration for an increased feeling of quality.

This new generation of the Corolla uses a revised 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain putting out 122 hp. However, the hatchback is also available with a more high performance 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain with 178 hp.

I was immediately impressed by the smoothness and refinement of the new Toyota Corolla Hybrid on the road. The hybrid powertrain means that the car uses a CVT automatic gearbox, but Toyota has considerably improved the refinement of the transmission and also invested in better cabin insulation.

Rear legroom in the new Corolla Hatchback
Rear legroom in the new Corolla Hatchback

How efficient is the Corolla Hybrid?

The Hatchback feels agile and dynamic on the road. Steering responses are fluid and direct. There's good body control through corners. Over a week of driving the hybrid delivered fuel consumption of 4.5/100 km. Low emissions mean that motor tax is €180 per year.

Around town the hybrid frequently dips into EV mode, which makes this hybrid a very efficient solution for drivers who do short commutes and plenty of town and city driving. On the motorway at high speeds, the Corolla will become less efficient. But it has been markedly improved in these circumstances, as seen in my overall average fuel consumption that was rated with about 300 km of motorway driving.

The latest Corolla is a stylish and desirable hatchback on par with rivals in terms of interior finish, technology and its ability to engage the driver. It remains a competitive choice of new car in 2022.

Rear legroom is a little tighter compared to the Saloon and Touring Sports.

The Corolla hatchback is dubbed as the sporty one of the family. The shorter wheelbase does make it feel more dynamic on the road. Toyota has also improved the hybrid powertrain. From my time driving the car, there are certainly savings to be made in terms of efficiency, particularly for urban drivers. There is a lot riding on this new generation of one of Ireland’s best loved cars, but the new Corolla Hybrid has been transformed!

The Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid is a stylish and efficient compact car
The Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid is a stylish and efficient compact car

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Corolla Hatchback Luna Sport
Price:
€29,610 (from €27,605)
Engine: 1.8-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
122 hp
Torque: 142 Nm
0-100km/h: 
10.9 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
Claimed fuel economy:
3.3 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
83g/km
Motor tax: 
€180 per year


The Toyota Supra on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota Supra Review

The Toyota Supra on test for Changing Lanes!
The Toyota Supra on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline reviews the Toyota Supra!

The Toyota Supra. The legend returns. I've waited a long time for this. Then the stars align and the Supra is mine. All mine! For one weekend only.

The A90 edition is spectacular. Just 90 of this limited edition were made for Europe. And here I am with the keys to the one in the car park at Toyota Ireland.

Priced from €86,780, the Supra is a high-end sports car. A car to dream of driving. One I will remember for a very long time.

I grew up in the 1990s, a golden age for Japanese sports cars. Along with the Nissan GT-R and the Honda NSX, the Toyota Supra is one of the icons of Japanese car culture, one that has travelled the globe. It is Toyota's most famous sports car.

Then it disappeared.

Then it came back. Toyota President Akio Toyoda, explains:

“Back in the day, I spent countless hours driving an old Supra at Nürburgring to become a master driver. Supra is like an old friend that holds a special place in my heart. While other manufacturers were putting their beautiful new prototypes which they were going to introduce through their paces, I was driving an old Supra that was no longer in production. So even though Toyota had no plans to make a new Supra, just like a lot of other die-hard Supra fans around the world, I secretly wanted to make it happen. The new GR Supra was born through testing at Nürburgring, and I can honestly say that it is a car that is fun to drive and better than ever.”

Toyota President Akio Toyoda with the new Supra
Toyota President Akio Toyoda with the new Supra

What's so special about the Toyota Supra?

The Toyota GR Supra is the first GR model to be produced by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing for the global market, the umbrella organisation for Toyota’s global motorsports programme. The fifth generation of Toyota’s legendary sports car debuted back in summer 2019, arriving in Ireland soon after.

To revive the Supra, Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada went to enthusiast clubs around the world for input on what format new Supra should take. The response was consistently 'a straight-six turbo and front engine/rear-wheel drive configuration'. So that's what they set out to do.

But here's where it gets a bit tricky. It's no secret that the new Supra shares much of its underpinnings and engine with the BMW Z4. Toyota did some of their own tuning of the car. The passion to create a 'supreme fun to drive' car.

To celebrate the Supra heritage and the introduction of the fifth generation code number (A90), an exclusive Toyota GR Supra A90 Edition model was built for the launch, with production strictly limited to just 90 examples in Europe.

Finished in a dramatic Storm Grey matt paint finish, with 19" black alloy wheels and exclusive red leather interior, it's surely a collector's item.

The Supra A90 special edition - only 90 were made for Europe
The Supra A90 Edition - only 90 were made for Europe

This car looks dramatic from every angle, purposeful and as if it is in motion even when it is parked. It's classically Japanese by design, with a knod to the 2000GT and even the Supra from the 1990s. The influence of the 2000GT evidenced in the long bonnet, compact body and double-bubble roof, while the distinctive look of the fourth generation Supra is captured in both the front and rear styling, in the muscular rear wings and the arc of the integrated spoiler. And the Supra font only slightly modernised for this generation.

Inside the new Supra A90 Edition
Inside the new Supra A90 Edition

Yet slipping inside is a bit confusing. Because this interior borrows heavily from BMW. Granted I'm a motoring journalist and I drive a lot of cars. I'm very sensitive to these details. The infotainment system is BMW's iDrive system, the switchgear from BMW too. It's not a deal breaker but it's clear this is no longer a grass roots Japanese sports car...maybe I shed a nostalgic tear for the cars I loved in my childhood.

Yet the fit and finish is good, the driving position sporty.

Driving the Toyota Supra

A magnificent car from start-up. The power, performance and sensational handling delivered by dynamic benefits of a classic sports car design - short wheelbase, wide track, lightweight, low centre of gravity and highly rigid body. Under the bonnet is the BMW-sourced 3.0-litre engine, fitted with a single twin-scroll turbocharger. 340 hp and 500 Nm of torque. 0 to 100 kmh in 4.3 seconds. Coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission that rockets through the gears with lightening quick responses. All the while, the driver holding on. Eyes wide. Speechless at the mastery of the thing!

The new Supra uses a 3.0-litre straight six engine from BMW
The new Supra uses a 3.0-litre straight six engine from BMW

The performance figures only tell half the story of course. It's about the way the Supra feels on the road. The way it goes around corners. The thrust of the engine and the noise of it on full throttle. The way this car turns heads. Its inspiring presence. There is a lightness to the way this car carries itself, appealing to the driver's senses in a way that most cars miss these days. It gently caresses corners and you the driver feeling like some sort of God of Driving when all you did was turn the wheel.

Toyota GR Supras sold in Europe are fitted with an active differential that operates both when accelerating and decelerating and can seamlessly adjust from zero to full, 100% lock, with instant response. A dedicated ECU monitors a wide range of inputs, including steering wheel, throttle and brake pressure, engine and wheel speed and yaw rate, for appropriate triggering of the actuator. The torque difference between the left and right wheels is controlled flexibly and seamlessly depending on the driving situation.

Did you like it?

Yes I was having a whole lot of fun driving this car. But I was comfortable too. The Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) enhances performance with instant response to changes in the road surface, adjusting the shock absorber force at each wheel to maintain a flat vehicle posture, excellent steering response and supple ride comfort. Sensors constantly monitor the way the car is being driven and the road conditions, controlling the damping force accordingly.

Ride comfort is exceptional for a sports car. It feels like a GT car, one you could travel across Europe in if you had deep enough pockets to pay for the fuel. Over a few days of driving my average fuel consumption was 11.8 litres per 100 km. If you want economical buy a Yaris Hybrid!

The Toyota Supra is a legend of a car. I'm so glad to see it back. The tricky part is that it's not really a Japanese sports car anymore. It has too many German parts for that. I might shed a tear for that.

But then you step back and look at it. And there are a rush of feelings, mixed with some sheer awe at the mastery of the car. Behind the wheel, the Supra's magnificent engine and beautiful handling take over. Enough said.

Yes I like the new Supra very much
Yes I like the new Supra very much

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Supra A90 Edition
Price: 
€46,210
Engine: 
3.0-litre petrol
Power: 340 hp
Torque: 500 Nm
Top speed: 250 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.3 seconds
CO2 emissions:
170 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€750 per year

The Toyota Supra on test for Changing Lanes!


The Toyota Hilux on test for Changing Lanes!

Toyota Hilux Review

The Toyota Hilux on test for Changing Lanes!
The Toyota Hilux on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the 2021 Toyota Hilux.

An unlikely partnership between Changing Lanes and the Toyota Hilux. Every so often a gigantic pick-up arrives in my test schedule and all that is left to do is embrace it in the name of diversity and good motoring journalism.

Who would refuse a week with the Toyota Hilux, the king of pick-ups? Hilux is as tough as it gets, a legend that goes on and on. Since its launch in 1968, the unstoppable Hilux has conquered the North Pole, Icelandic volcanoes, the Antarctic and won in the Dakar Rally in 2019.

But what a different experience for this test driver that lives behind the wheel of suburban hatchbacks and SUVs for most of the year?

What's new for the 2021 Toyota Hilux?

For this model year, the Hilux has a new 2.8-litre diesel engine with an increase of 54 hp and extra 100 Nm of torque. Smart phone integration is now standard. There have been suspension improvements for better on-road comfort and handling, and improved off-roading with lower engine idle and a new auto limited slip differential.

More basic versions of the Hilux use a 2.4-litre diesel engine with manual transmission (single cab from €29,860, double cab from €36,805).

Priced from €50,570, the top of the range Toyota Hilux Invincible on test for Changing Lanes was indeed the full fat Hilux of your dreams with an almost luxurious spec for a pick-up and bespoke exterior. But not so blinged up to defer in any way from the Hilux tough appeal and frankly brilliant capability.

The top of the range Hilux Invincible is on sale in Ireland from €50,570
The top of the range Hilux Invincible is on sale in Ireland from €50,570

For me, it was a busy week of mixing cement, felling trees, and visiting sites. Okay not really but surely this is the sort of things Hilux drivers do! But tractors with trailers in a busy harvest would pull in to the side of the road to let me by and ‘get to work’. If I had been driving a supermini this would certainly not have happened!

The Hilux of course screams ‘werk, werk, werk’ with a 1 tonne payload, 3.5 tonne towing capacity, four wheel drive and double cab.

Invincible models have 18” black alloy wheels and other bespoke styling elements, LED headlights and fog lights, and side steps. Yes the Hilux Invincible was truly bigger than me.

Driving the Toyota Hilux

The engineering goal for the latest Hilux was to maintain its legendary off-road capabilities while improving the on-road comfort. No easy task considering the ladder-frame chassis - great for durability and off-roading but not so good for dynamic appeal.

The comfort and driveability of the new Hilux has been enhanced through improvements to the suspension, and power steering systems. On the road, the Hilux performs well for what it is. Still not the last word in comfort on rural roads – it's bumpier than an SUV for example - but things settle down for good motorway cruising. The new 2.8 engine gathers pace well and stays reasonably refined, with the extra power and torque meaning you don’t have to work it as hard to pick up speed quickly. The automatic made the drive so much more enjoyable for this test driver too. My fuel consumption averaged at 8.9 litres per 100 km over my test drive. Still a brute then!

Inside the 2021 Toyota Hilux
Inside the 2021 Toyota Hilux

Did you like it?

The interior of the Hilux is another highlight, well-built and comfortable, with this Invincible model getting leather seats/front heated, parking sensors, automatic air conditioning and 8” touchscreen with smartphone integration. The Invincible model has black metallic and black chrome trim accents, and 'clear blue' front and rear door trim illumination. It’s roomy up front but there’s not a huge amount of legroom in the rear of the Double Cab model.

The pick-up segment is steadily growing in Europe. From 154,000 vehicle sales in 2015, an anticipated segment growth of some 35% will see annual pick-up sales rising to 208,000 units by 2023. Much of this growth may be accounted for by the rise of interest in the pick-up as a dual-usage, both professional and leisure market vehicle.

With its good looks and best-of-the-range engine and transmission, the Toyota Hilux Invincible plays the part well, moving into the high-end, lifestyle market for pick-ups.  The Hilux is the world’s favourite pick-up and it’s easy to see why!

The Hilux is the world's favourite pick-up
The Hilux is the world's favourite pick-up

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Toyota Hilux Invincible Double Cab Automatic
Price: 
€50, 570
Engine: 
2.8-litre turbo diesel
Power: 204 hp
Torque: 500 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 10 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
250 g/km

 


The Toyota Mirai looks set to soon make an Irish debut

Toyota Mirai On Way To Ireland

The Toyota Mirai looks set to soon make an Irish debut
The Toyota Mirai looks set to soon make an Irish debut

Toyota Ireland is making positive steps to bringing the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle to Ireland.

In a press release, the company says that they are looking to bring a Mirai demonstrator model to Ireland in 2021, along with a temporary refuelling station.

Working closely with Hydrogen Mobility Ireland, of which Toyota Ireland director Mark Teevan is Chairman, the ambition is to bring in limited numbers of the Mirai in 2023, when refuelling stations are available in Dublin.

Toyota began development of a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle in 1992, and introduced the first generation Mirai saloon to world markets in 2014.

In 2019 the company revealed a new generation of the pioneering Mirai, with a dramatic new look that made it far more appealing to look at. A comprehensively redesigned fuel cell system, intelligent packaging and aerodynamic efficiency help extend the driving range to around 650 km, with no other emissions than pure water.

News of the new Mirai comes just two weeks after Hydrogen Mobility Ireland (HMI) announced a multi week, in-service, trial of a fuel cell electric bus in the Dublin area. This will be the first ever Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), powered by a 60Kw Toyota Mirai fuel cell stack. The trial looks to demonstrate the many practical uses and environmental benefits of hydrogen towards a carbon-free society.

Steve Tormey, Chief Executive of Toyota Ireland, said:

“Toyota has been at the forefront of innovation in low emissions motoring for more than 20 years with our extensive hybrid range. The new Mirai represents a major step forward in sustainable motoring, emitting only water from the tail pipe, and going beyond zero emissions by cleaning the air as it moves. We are very excited about bringing the new Mirai to Ireland, and are looking to bring in demonstrator models next year. Hydrogen fuel cell can play a pivotal role in moving us towards a carbon-free environment and it is a real game changer for the health and wellbeing of our planet and future generations."

Exciting developments in hydrogen mobility from Toyota
Exciting developments in hydrogen mobility from Toyota

The Toyota Highlander is on sale in Ireland now

Toyota Highlander Arrives In Ireland

The Toyota Highlander is on sale in Ireland now
The Toyota Highlander is on sale in Ireland now

Toyota Ireland has confirmed that the new Toyota Highlander 7 seater SUV has arrived in Ireland, and is available now priced from €63,995.

The new Highlander comes with hybrid technology as standard and intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD-i). There is also a 2-tonne towing capacity from it's 2.5-litre petrol electric powertrain with 244 hp.

Interior features of this high spec vehicle include ventilated front seats, 11-speaker JBL audio* and a 8” multimedia touchscreen featuring navigation and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. To help prevent or mitigate collisions, Highlander features the latest Toyota Safety Sense package alongside a head-up display and digital rear-view mirror, depending on trim level.

Toyota says it's an authentic seven-seater with spacious third-row accommodation and easy access for two adults. There is also a kick-sensor operated power tailgate revealing 631 litres of boot space when third row seats now in use, with additional underfloor storage.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption are quoted from just 149 g/km and 6.6 l/100 km respectively.

For a refined drive the new Toyota Highlander uses an acoustic windscreen and front glazing, and the adoption of roof, dash and floor silencers, and wheel arch and loadspace liners. The Highlander's GA-K platform is complemented by a lightweight and high-rigidity bodyshell with a low centre of gravity that is said to provide the new SUV with nimble handling and comfortable motorway cruising characteristics.

Commenting on the arrival of the all-new Highlander, Steve Tormey, Chief Executive of Toyota Ireland, said:

“The arrival of the Highlander 7-seater hybrid expands our range line-up and, along with the RAV4 and Toyota C-HR, cements our leadership in hybrid SUVs. Equipped with the latest connectivity and safety features, and with space to spare, this will appeal to customers with an active lifestyle and who like to get into the outdoors.

Not only does it offer a truly comfortable ride and has premium features throughout, the Highlander also offers a unique combination of power and lower emissions thanks to the 4th generation hybrid powertrain. This is something more customers are moving towards, especially after the Government budget and the general move towards electrified driving options.

We’re delighted to be able to offer this to our customers, so that they can choose a model that contributes to cleaner air and a better environment for everyone.”

The Highlander will be in showrooms from January and customers can place orders now.