Toyota rolls out a special edition C-HR small SUV. Is it worth the extra?
There are lots of small SUVs on the market but nothing is quite as stand-out as the radically-styled Toyota C-HR. it puts paid to the myth Toyotas are dull and boring – and now, the Japanese firm is enhancing its head-turning ability yet further with a distinctive Limited Edition model.
It’s certainly limited: only 100 will be made. Each is based on the top-of-the-range Dynamic model, which already gets LED headlights. To this, Toyota adds on contrast paint for the roof, spoiler and door mirrors, plus black-painted 18-inch alloys and chrome side sills. It looks more like a show car than a road car.
Keyless entry is standard; once inside, C-HR Limited Edition buyers get black leather upholstery with the requisite Limited Edition badging, and a powerful JBL nine-speaker stereo. It even gets a standard amplifier to really pump up your tunes – sound quality is excellent.
Toyota C-HR Dynamic Hybrid Limited Edition
Engine: 1.8-litre petrol with electric motor
Gearbox: CVT automatic
Top speed: 105mph
Economy: 72.4mpg combined
CO2, tax band: 87g/km, 17%
It’s a driver-focused interior, with a futuristic look and some standout details. The Toyota Touch 2 infotainment system is mounted high up in the centre of the dash, and is packed with features, although dated graphics and a clunky interface let it down. Both front seats are comfortable and spacious – in contrast to the cramped, gloomy rear.
It still uses the same 1.8-litre hybrid petrol-electric powertrain, which means performance remains a bit disappointing. It’s also not as refined as you’d like it to be – it may well be silent in EV mode, but as soon as the engine fires up, you’ll hear it. Put your foot down and it really roars, in a way you just don’t expect from a £30k SUV.
Handling feels a bit heavy and although the steering is light and easy, those bigger 18-inch wheels impact on the ride quality. At least the hybrid setup should deliver decent in-town fuel economy: quote figures are 72.4mpg and 87g/km, both very impressive stats. Just be aware that hybrids are usually less impressive outside of town.
Overall, we’re pleased Toyota is making the C-HR. It shows a charismatic, quirky side to this sensible-shoes car giant, and some will fall for it for the looks alone – although we admit, just as many will be deterred by them. It’s intentionally provocative.
It’s a pity it’s not better to drive, though, given the £30,000 asking price for this Limited Edition variant. We also don’t think there’s quite enough added to it to make the asking price seem good value – and feel it’s a pity Toyota doesn’t offer the Limited Edition in cheaper, more likeable 1.2-litre turbo petrol guise.
Our tip is to thus bypass both hybrid and posh Limited Edition trim, and go for a base-sped 1.2 Icon instead. It’s still reasonably well equipped, is better to drive and still comes with the distinctive C-HR looks. You’ll still stand out, but save a fortune in the process.