Toyota C-HR

The C-HR features an all-hybrid powertrain selection. These include two ‘self-charging hybrids, a 1.8-litre unit producing 138bhp and a 2.0-litre version with 193-. In 1.8-litre guise, the C-HR completes 0-62mph in a leisurely 10.2sec while the 2.0-litre hits 0-62mph in 8.1sec.

Both powertrains lack distinct punch, but cope with a combination of city streets, faster highways and windier mountain roads easily enough. The 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre deliver their power smoothly, but accelerate with more vigour and you’ll be greeted by the familiar demonic-hamster-wheel growl of a CVT slipping and Toyota four-pot hybrid revving hard in order to make accessible torque.

This noise is particularly evident in the 2.0-litre version and, sadly, the soundtrack doesn’t quite match the performance. At higher speeds, the C-HR can sound strained, although you’ll have no problem speeding up to overtake on a motorway. 

The more powerful 2.0-litre plug-in hybrid, based on Toyota’s fifth-generation hybrid system, pairs the same 2.0-litre petrol engine with a 161bhp electric motor (because of the way these things work, they can send a maximum peak of 220bhp to the front wheels) and a much larger, 13.6kWh battery. 

The PHEV is well-tuned, with a smooth transition between electric and combustion power sources. It offers instant zip in EV mode, while the engine has good initial throttle response too, with nice pick-up and acceleration on part throttle.

That said, if you’re after improved performance, you might be disappointed to hear the PHEV’s top speed is no faster than the regular hybrid’s, and it is only 0.8sec faster to 62mph. Drive the car hard and the PHEV powertrain ultimately does the same thing that the other hybrid powertrains do: rev to the heavens to develop power – and while there is at least a decent amount of it, at least, it’s not the kind of style of delivery to have you coming back for more, or to make this PHEV a natural choice to satisfy sporty tastes.

The PHEV has an official electric-only range of 41 miles, although we got closer to 30 miles on our test drive. As is common with PHEVs, you can stick this C-HR in EV mode; use a hybrid option that will mete out the power and, in sync with the sat-nav, can employ geofencing to use electric power in clean-air zones; or even charge the battery back up, from the combustion engine and regenerative braking, in order to redeploy that energy in zero-emissions running later in your journey (although it ‘s quite a slow process).

You can also adjust the strength of the regenerative braking, up to a B mode that actually offers close to one-pedal driving. 

The PHEV, like the two other hybrid options, sounds a bit flat and very occasionally a bit gruff, although improved initial throttle response makes the ‘demonic hamsterwheeling’ problem less pronounced than in the less powerful HEVs.

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