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Sporty by name, fuel efficient by nature

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Toyota has broken the mold with the C-HR SUV, its funky styling is a significant shift away from the brand’s usual conservative looks, and its latest version wears its new GR Sport badge. We find out what it’s all about.

VALUE

The Toyota C-HR occupies the space between the popular mid-size RAV4 and the pint-sized Yaris Cross. Buyers can choose between two-wheel and four-wheel-drive, as well as hybrid variants. Three trim levels are available: GXL, Koba, and GR Sport.

Prices start at about $34,600 drive-away in base GXL two-wheel-drive petrol form and rise to about $41,600 for the GR Sport tested here. GR stands for Gazoo Racing – Toyota’s new performance sub-brand – but this model is a styling exercise rather than a performance variant.

It’s a lot of money for a small SUV, but it brings peppy hybrid performance, a sporty driving character, and a long list of standard equipment, including big 19-inch alloy wheels and GR, badging inside and out.

The dash layout is functional but lacks a wow factor, and the 4.2-inch information screen in the instrument cluster isn’t as modern-looking as some rivals.

The eight-inch center touchscreen is a decent size and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Bluetooth and satnav. Toyota guarantees the C-HR for five years/unlimited kilometers, and servicing is very cheap at $1000 over five years

COMFORT

Leather-accented, bolstered sport seats hug front passengers in a tight embrace, but they don’t provide the heating function found in the similarly priced Koba variant. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter, along with GR Sport pedals and door trim, make the cabin feel a bit special.

The cabin is a bit cozy, though, and the back seats, in particular, feel a tad claustrophobic, thanks to the sloping roofline and small, highest windows.

Small children, in particular, will struggle to see out of the windows. The lack of rear air vents and USB charging points is disappointing. The GR Sport has firmer suspension than the rest of the C-HR range, but it still manages pockmarked city streets without much trouble.

SAFETY

Toyota has all the safety bases covered. The GR Sport will brake automatically for cars and pedestrians if it senses a potential collision, and it will notify drivers if a vehicle is in its blind spot.

Rear cross-traffic alert makes reversing out of driveways and tight carparks a breeze, alerting you if a car is coming. The C-HR will keep you in your lane if it detects you are wandering out of it, gently tugging the steering wheel to direct you back in.

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Tristan McCue is a 26-year-old junior programmer who enjoys reading, binge-watching boxed sets, and appearing in the background on TV. He is smart and friendly, but can also be very evil and a bit lazy.He is an Australian Christian. He has a post-graduate degree in computing.
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