Last weekend we had the pleasure of test driving the new Toyota C-HR, a beautiful beast of a hybrid car that simply wowed me. I’m not usually fussed by cars but this one was different. As soon as we drove into the Vantage Toyota Birmingham car park, we saw the Toyota C-HR waiting for us and I couldn’t wait to get the keys.
Sitting inside the Toyota C-HR, I could see that this was a car where every detail had been carefully considered. From it’s smart entry and push-button start (meaning you don’t actually need to use the key, just have it with you) to the easy to use Toyota Touch 2 with Go Navigation system and the Intelligent Parking Assist. There’s so many clever features in the car, you’d find it hard not to love it.
After a very helpful insightful test drive from salesman Glenn who told us all about the car and some of its useful features, it was our turn to take control of the wheel. One of the things I was worried about with driving the C-HR was that it was a hybrid and an automatic. I didn’t really know what a hybrid was in all honesty (I don’t watch Top Gear!) but after a simple explanation from Glenn and sitting in the driving seat having a go at driving the car for myself, I relaxed and realised I didn’t need to panic at all.
A hybrid car is comprised of two engines: one petrol, one electric. They work together to get the best performance out of the car. When travelling at speeds under 30 miles per hour, the electric motor powers the car and when you need to accelerate and drive at a faster speed (on the motorway for example) it uses the petrol motor and charges the electric battery at the same time.
We had planned a long weekend to Bognor Regis for Olly’s 4th birthday so we headed home to pack up the car and pick Olly up from pre-school. From a practical Mum point of view, the car had Isofix and tether points so we could easily put Olly’s car seat on the back seat. The boot space was big enough for a large suitcase and several other travel bags which meant that we didn’t need to have any luggage in with us in the main part of the car. I’m pretty sure the boot would be big enough for a pushchair too!
The drive down to Bognor Regis was very comfortable. My husband Greg drove the majority of the 200 mile journey as I didn’t fancy the Friday afternoon rush hour traffic and driving in a new car in the dusk then dark. Having sat in the passenger seat for the journey I was able to really take in the features as the car was being driven.
Features we loved in the Toyota C-HR
- Blind Spot Monitor – this monitor (little orange lights on the wing mirrors) detected when a car was to the side of us on the motorway. This helped us make safer decisions about when to overtake.
- Intelligent Parking Assist – this is such a clever feature. It helps reverse park the car for you, all you need to do is keep your foot on the brake to stop the car when the car has moved into position.
- Lane Departure Alert – luckily we didn’t need to use the lane departure alert but how reassuring to know that if for any reason our car would veer into a passing lane, the driver would be alerted with audio and visual warning.
- Toyota Touch 2 with Go Navigation System – the large screen on the dashboard was really useful. I could pair my mobile phone with Bluetooth and use the hands free communication system. We could listen to the DAB radio or music on a paired phone. We could input a post code of a destination and it would give us directions of how to get there. This was brilliant especially when we went exploring around the south coast. The colour display was also really useful on the motorway when it showed you which lane to get into. I thought this was brilliant and would be so useful if I was driving on my own.
- Multi-information display system – between the dials behind the steering wheel was a useful display system which gave us tips on how to use the car; how economically the car was being driven, the fuel range and the speed limit of the road. All useful nuggets of information that was good to know.
- Dual-zone automatic air conditioning – the driver and the passenger can have different temperatures which is something me and my husband always argue about in the car. I like it toasty warm where he likes it a bit cooler.
- Reversing camera – I love the reversing camera, such a useful gadget to have in a car. I was able to reverse into a space using the camera and it really gave me reassurance that I could park the car and see what was behind me. Having driven a smaller car for a long time, I was unsure how to adapt to driving a bigger car but having the reversing camera really did help me feel comfortable when parking the Toyota C-HR.
I had the pleasure of driving the C-HR around the south coast and really enjoyed the drive. I was nervous at first about driving an automatic but once I understood how it worked (and remembered not to use my left leg or the need not to change gears) I found the car a dream to drive. There was no stalling at roundabouts, the car didn’t roll back on hill starts (amazing!) and it was just so easy. You didn’t really have to think very hard about driving which is usually the case when driving around a new area.
The only negatives we found whilst driving the car over our long weekend was that I found it quite dark sitting in the backseat (the car we had, had privacy glass in the back) and the cup holders in the front were a little too deep for our cups of hot takeaway tea! That was pretty much the depths of our negativity for the car.
We were so sad about giving the Toyota C-HR back, I have fallen in love with it and found driving an automatic hybrid such a dream. It was certainly a head turner as we drove along Littlehampton sea front. If you’re looking for a car with excellent safety features, looks super stylish and have lots of brilliantly useful gadgets then this is one for you.
You can find out more about the new Toyota C-HR and more detailed information about specifications here.
Disclosure: With thanks to Vantage Toyota Birmingham for letting us borrow the C-HR for the long weekend. If you ever need anyone to look after one for an extended loan, please remember me!