Toyota C-HR Hybrid: Big and butch

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BIG BEAST: This Toyota cuts an imposing figure. Credit: Shutterstock

TOYOTA’s C-HR Hybrid certainly catches the eye, and is far more visually striking than most SUVs.

The C-HR looks the way it does because it’s designed to appeal to bright young things who might need or want a small SUV with a modicum of practicality, but aren’t yet ready to blend in.

The C-HR’s quirkiness continues inside, where a swooping dashboard sits beneath a leather-effect soft-touch pad and houses well placed, solid-feeling switchgear.

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Elsewhere you’ll find enormous cupholders, tracts of glossy piano-black plastic and, on the door trims, some curious three-dimensional diamond-effect patterns which seem to be designed to ape the quilted inserts found on pricier cars.

These look and feel more like petrified crocodile skin, but they’re in keeping with the quirky feel of the C-HR and make a refreshing change from the usual fabric or faux-leather swatches.

The infotainment system is a little fiddly, and you have to take your eyes off the road to make sure you’ve pressed the right touch-sensitive ‘buttons.’

The chunky rear pillars extend into the doors, meaning there’s no window where your head actually rests, only a thick chunk of black plastic.

And while there’s plenty of leg room on offer, the boot could be a little bigger.

The hybrid C-HR accelerates seamlessly and silently, and easily zips around corners.

The steering is quick and responsive with lots of grip and neat body control, and the vehicle feels lively even in everyday driving.

The ride is on the firm side, but it doesn’t crash or shudder through potholes.

Unless you spend a lot of time in town, where the hybrid’s ability to lean heavily on its electric motor cuts fuel economy drastically, go for the 1.2 litre petrol engine and manual gearbox.

Overall, if you’re after a high-rise hatchback that stands out from the norm, the C-HR is well worth a test drive.

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