Owner Review

2018 Toyota C-HR (2WD) review

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So, my wife and I had been in the market looking for a new car for quite a while. She wanted an SUV, while I wanted something smaller. She won.

I remember when the Toyota C-HR was released in Australia, I found the design extremely interesting. We took it for a test drive sometime in September and I really loved the way the car drove. It was really comfortable and very satisfying to drive around town (my wife was totally indifferent).

The following months we checked and took quite a few cars on a test drive, but we could not find a car that was a satisfying compromise. After numerous sleepless nights and long deliberations, we agreed to keep the budget at $30K and focus on finding an SUV that would tick as many boxes as possible in the safety department. After that, it was hard not to choose the Toyota C-HR.

We have almost 500km on the engine by now, and we are both really happy with our choice. The ride is really comfortable, and that car keeps you comfortable and insulated from the outside world without the driver losing contact with what is actually happening on the road. You get enough feedback through the wheel to keep you aware of what is going on and informed about the ride without forfeiting comfort.

The driver's seat is slightly elevated to create the illusion of a bigger, higher car (which I personally don’t mind). Nonetheless, I find the driving position to be excellent and the driver is fully aware of their surroundings. Yes, the blind spots are bigger than those in other cars given the rear shape of the C-HR, but it doesn’t make it impossible to drive the car, at least if you are an experienced driver.

I have been driving the car in traffic and haven’t had an issue with the blind spots, besides the fact that I had to get used to the large C-pillar. Don’t forget, though, that the car comes packed with pretty much everything when it comes to active safety (one of the main reasons we decided to go for the Toyota).

Front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning and assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, pre-collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and rear-view camera. We could not find any other car in the SUV category to offer as much as the Toyota C-HR for the same price. The AEB already kicked in and helped me once, when a car ahead decided to take a last-minute right turn, so I am happy to have all that tech on my side when I’m driving.

Now, I know the multimedia unit feels and looks outdated. I would definitely like it to have better graphics and not that ugly clock, however, I find it adequate. I can use Bluetooth to stream music, change songs using the buttons on the leather-trimmed steering wheel (which feels amazing to hold and turn), the sat-nav is perfectly fine, and I can make phone calls and read text on the screen – so, all up, I’m happy.

In terms of the size, I think my brain would be confused if the screen were bigger and if there were more info on it (maybe younger generations will be more adept to process more information while driving). There is no HUD, but you do get a small info screen, which I would like to be able to customise and to show directions from the sat-nav. Overall, the dashboard is very driver-oriented, easy to use and read, and feels upmarket and sporty.

The front seats are very comfortable and feel sporty, even in the base version that we have. Seating at the back is comfortable, and I don’t really mind the claustrophobic small back windows. You don’t get an armrest at the back, and if as a back passenger you want to take a coffee with you, well, bad luck. I had my wife drive me around town while I was sitting in the back, just to get an idea of how it feels. Yes, you do lose visibility, and it could possibly become frustrating after a long ride, but in town it’s fine since the seats are comfortable and the ride pleasant.

No, it will not seat five people. Keep it to two people and occasionally four if you want no discomfort (for the others that is). We did once go for a short drive with three people at the back and they did not complain, but I’m not sure if they were just being polite.

Boot space is okay and the cabin feels spacious (at least at the front). The storage compartments just don’t make much sense. The cupholders in the front are interesting at best, and I usually end up using them for my phone and wallet. I hate the fact that there is no USB port in the front armrest bin, but you do get a 12V outlet.