In-depth reviews

Toyota C-HR engines, drive & performance

The Toyota C-HR hybrid handles well, although the engine noise under harsh acceleration blights its overall refinement

Toyota C-HR
Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance rating

3.0 out of 5

0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
8.2-11.0s105-112mphFront120-182bhp

The Toyota C-HR's engines are mostly quite smooth and pleasant to use, despite its irritating (and compulsory) CVT automatic gearbox. It’s a quiet and enjoyable car both around town and on the motorway.

However, getting up to speed isn't fun. Even under moderate acceleration – joining a motorway or overtaking on a dual-carriageway, for instance – the CVT makes the C-HR noisier and less refined than it should be. Both the 1.8 and 2.0-litre engines are affected, the latter less so thanks to its extra power. Additional soundproofing introduced by a late 2019 facelift also helps.

Toyota C-HR 0-62mph and acceleration

With a relatively modest 120bhp on tap, 0-62mph takes 11 seconds in the 1.8-litre C-HR. This is by no means quick, although the 2.0-litre fares a little better, with its 182bhp sending it from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds. The top speeds of each powertrain are 105 and 112mph respectively. It’s worth bearing in mind that although the MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid is more expensive, it can cover a useful 20-odd miles on electricity alone and will also do 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds.

Handling

The Toyota C-HR deals well with the UK’s less-than-perfect road surfaces. It’s reasonably engaging through a corner thanks to its light steering, and its tall suspension springs ensure that there’s not much in the way of body lean when changing direction.

The ride isn’t perfect, though: we found that the 2.0-litre model (which is a little heavier than its 1.8-litre counterpart) never really settled down, with small but noticeable movements making their presence felt in the cabin even on supposedly smooth dual carriageways. It’s not a dealbreaker, however: the vast majority of time spent in the C-HR will feel relaxing for passengers and the driver.

You can toggle through Eco, Normal and Power modes that change the responsiveness of the gearbox, steering and accelerator, but most drivers will be more than happy to stick the C-HR in Normal and leave it there.

A GR Sport version of the C-HR, with tweaked suspension for sharper handling, joined the line-up in early 2021. However, we haven't yet driven it so can't comment on its merits until we do.

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