Red Toyota C-HR parked under bridge

Toyota C-HR review (2016-2023)

The Toyota C-HR is a sporty-looking mid-size SUV that feels built to last and offers hybrid power options.

Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Efficient hybrid engines offer low fuel costs and emissions
  • Most models are well equipped

Cons

  • Rear seats can be a little cramped for taller adults
  • Less boot space than rivals
  • Rear visibility isn't great

Summary

“An appealingly bold choice, although some rivals give you more for your money.”

The Toyota C-HR is a compact(ish) SUV with a futuristic design and the option of hybrid power. It sits somewhere between small SUVs such as the Nissan Juke and mid-size SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai in size, offering good – but not class-leading – practicality.

We're focusing on the first-generation Toyota C-HR, which was introduced in 2016. It was updated in 2019, at the same time as the non-hybrid models were dropped. An all-new C-HR went on sale in late 2023.

What's the interior like?

“Stylish and comfortable but some rivals are more family-friendly.”

The interior of the Toyota C-HR has a swoopy, high-tech look to match its exterior. Some of the switches are a bit small and fiddly but everything is well placed and the driving position is excellent The touchscreen infotainment system sits on top of the dash, which makes it easy to see and use while driving.

The seats are comfortable with plenty of adjustment controls so you can find your best driving position. Back-seat seat passengers have good legroom but headroom is a bit below average due to the low roofline and the small windows mean it can feel a bit dark. While there's space for kids, rival cars such as the Renault Captur, Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca are more family-friendly.

Boot space is less than most rivals, too, but there's still enough space for a small pushchair or a couple of medium size suitcases.

What's it like to drive?

“Fun to drive yet comfortable to travel in.”

The C-HR is great to drive, feeling impressively agile yet comfortable on the road. Thanks to its compact size it'll fit in normal-sized parking spaces quite easily. The small rear windows can make it quite hard to see what's behind you but all versions come with a useful rear-view camera.

All models give decent performance – the non-hybrid 1.2 petrol (which is available used with either a manual gearbox or an automatic) is surprisingly nippy, and keeps up with motorway traffic without fuss. There are two petrol-electric hybrid options, both with an automatic gearbox as standard. The 1.8 is quick enough to satisfy most needs but the 2.0 does give you more eager acceleration.

The 1.2 automatic model was available with either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive but every other C-HR is front-wheel-drive only.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“You’ll pay a bit more for the hybrid models but it could be worth it in the long run.”

The Toyota C-HR may cost you a bit more to buy than many rivals but it's decent value overall. All models are well-equipped and give good fuel economy. Hybrid models are the most fuel-efficient, giving 50mpg+ according to official figures.

Road tax is low and even zero on some of the hybrid models, while insurance costs are also inexpensive.

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Which one is best for you?

The hybrid models, with their excellent fuel consumption and low road tax costs, are the most cost effective to own.

All C-HR models are very well equipped, even in the entry-level Icon trim. If you want sat nav and parking sensors go for the Design versions or above. The Excel and Dynamic trims get even more kit and some will also be fitted with packages that add attractive colours or luxuries like partial leather seats.

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