Toyota is hardly a brand that’s been known for avant-garde design in recent years. But with their new crossover, the Toyota C-HR, the rule book has been thrown out and replaced with a little of that edgy style that makes the cars from sister brand Lexus so distinct.

The Toyota C-HR (Coupe High Rider) is the most adventurous-looking Toyota we’ve seen in years and the car’s coupe-like features are testament to the designers’ desire to create a stand-out style for Toyota among mid-sized crossovers.

Inside, Toyota has created a cool, contemporary interior with swathes of piano black, plenty of soft touch materials and diamond-shaped detail dotted throughout. It is one of the most stylish Toyota interiors to date. The large 8” touchscreen in the centre is particularly impressive.

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

With pricing starting at €26,895, the Toyota C-HR is priced in Peugeot 3008 and Nissan Qashqai territory. Remember Toyota also has the larger RAV4 family SUV in their range, but C-HR is the cooler sibling. It will fit three in the back and the middle seat is comfortable enough. Headroom is also good. The only issue is that it’s a bit dark back there because of the high, tapered-off window line. The boot is 370 litres, so about as big as your average family hatchback, and practical for everyday use.

There are three trim levels for new C-HR offered in Ireland – Luna, Luna Sport and Sol – and the car is well equipped from base with 17” alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, front fog lamps, Toyota Touch 2 with rear view monitor, Pre-Collision System (including Pedestrian Recognition), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with steering control, Automatic High Beam and Road Sign Assist.

Luna Sport adds 18” alloys, bi-tone roof, rear privacy glass, heated seats and a smart entry system. Top of the range Sol models add part leather upholstery, satellite navigation and park assist.

Buyers can choose from a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with a manual gearbox or the 1.8-litre petrol hybrid model that incorporates an automatic transmission. There is no four wheel drive option or diesel. Prices start at €26,895 for the 1.2 petrol in Luna trim, €29,950 for Luna Sport and €30,950 for Sol. Hybrids start from €29,350.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The Toyota C-HR is available with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol or as a hybrid

The 1.2-litre turbo petrol produces 116hp with CO2 emissions from 135g/km. The C-HR hybrid has the latest-generation hybrid power plant of a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, producing 120hp with CO2 emissions as low as 86g/km and a claimed fuel consumption of 74mpg.

My test car had the 1.2-litre petrol engine and the engine gives good performance with 0 to 100kmh achieved in 10.9 seconds. The car returned close to 40mpg for me over a week of driving. The turbo provides good flexibility but there is still a little working of the gearbox needed in the higher gears to make decent progress.

The C-HR is smooth and agile to drive with light controls. There is good grip and the car holds the road well. There is not much feedback to the steering, but there is enough resistance to get around corners with confidence and overall, the C-HR is a fun and agile crossover to drive. Comfort and refinement are excellent with just a little road noise on the motorway.

With the new C-HR, Toyota has done a great job to create a stylish product with real emotional appeal, and the quality and design of the interior makes this new crossover feel more than just a mass-produced, mid-priced compact SUV. That cool design has a few compromises however so it won’t be the most family-friendly crossover out there, but it’s a smooth and agile drive, and relishes urban life.

Toyota C-HR review ireland
The Toyota C-HR is available from €26,895

Model tested: Toyota C-HR 1.2T Sol
€30,950 (Range starts at €26,895)
Engine: 1.2-litre turbo petrol
Torque: 185Nm
10.9 seconds
Top speed: 190km/h
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax:
€280 per year

Caroline Kidd

If you are looking for a quirky crossover you might also like this review of the Suzuki Vitara.