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Toyota C-HR Hybrid 2020 review: Koba

There is most certainly one thing about the C-HR: it stands out on the road.

A car that looks like it popped straight out of a Manga movie and is about to bounce adventurously across the country, but is actually a small SUV you can fit your family in?

That’s the Toyota C-HR, and this year Toyota has revamped the entire range and added a hybrid engine to one of the line-up, which is the one I test drove. 

It’s called the Toyota C-HR Koba Hybrid and is the top-of-the-range, costing $36,890, before on-road costs.

It competes with cars like the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Seltos. I took it over the summer holidays and spent a good two weeks in it for this week’s family review.

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✅ How does it look?

There is most certainly one thing about the C-HR: it stands out on the road. Very much a funky design, so it wouldn’t be considered classic or indeed, traditionally 'stylish.'

It doesn’t look like your typical mum car, which could be a good thing. There’s something very futuristic about it and the two-tone finish helps extend that. You can see why some people love it... and others don’t. 

There’s something very futuristic about the C-HR, and the two-tone finish helps extend that. There’s something very futuristic about the C-HR, and the two-tone finish helps extend that.

Inside is not as funky as the exterior, but there are some features which do add to the style and make it anything but basic, like the metallic looking diamond-shaped trim on the doors.

It has very much a funky design, so it wouldn’t be considered classic or indeed, traditionally 'stylish', but it stands out on the road. It has very much a funky design, so it wouldn’t be considered classic or indeed, traditionally 'stylish', but it stands out on the road.

There’s a fair amount of high gloss black which makes it feel premium and the leather accented seats are also heated. The steering wheel feels nice under the hands and the centre console is well designed, making it functional and good looking.

✅ How does it drive?

The C-HR Koba is a lovely car to drive with a petrol/electric hybrid combination, which means it’s silent when you start it, and like other cars using an electric motor, super quick off the mark. The drive is smooth and it handles well. 

The petrol engine is a 1.8-litre, four cylinder and it kicks in once you speed up, so it does get louder, but is never too growly.

The petrol engine is a 1.8-litre, four cylinder and it kicks in once you speed up. The petrol engine is a 1.8-litre, four cylinder and it kicks in once you speed up.

It gets up hills quickly and coasts along highways nicely. This hybrid version is claimed to use 4.3L/100km, which is definitely lower than a normal petrol engine-only model, and it returned exactly that number in my two weeks of testing. 

The steering wheel turns easily making it a cinch to do U-turns and squeeze into parking spots, and there's a good reversing camera with a 360-degree view as well as a forward camera, to help you out.

✅ How spacious is it?

While it’s never going to be a huge car, it had adequate space for my family of four. The front has enough leg and headroom, even for the taller members of my family, and we weren’t rubbing shoulders in the front either. 

The front has enough leg and headroom, even for the taller members of my family. The front has enough leg and headroom, even for the taller members of my family.

My two children, aged six and eight, had plenty of space in the back seat. At 161cm I can also fit back there easily, and there was enough space between my knees and the seat in front that taller teenagers and adults will fit, too. 

My two children, aged six and eight, had plenty of space in the back seat. My two children, aged six and eight, had plenty of space in the back seat.

We could have done with a little more boot space, however. At 318L it fits the bulky CarsGuide pram - just - but we're well beyond pram stage, so for us the most important thing was fitting the requisite boogie boards, overstuffed beach bag and giant inflatables that we trek everywhere with in summer. There wasn’t much space to spare but it did all fit. Tick. 

✅ How easy is it to use everyday?

There are a number of features on the C-HR which make your life easier for the day-to-day. For example, the park brake automatically switches on and off.

Sounds like a simple thing, but some of the more expensive cars don’t have this feature and it’s actually so nice to just pop the car into gear and take-off without worrying about the park brake. 

It has two cupholders in the front but no extra spot to stash keys or a phone, so I ended up using one of the cupholders for that.

It has two cupholders in the front but no extra spot to stash keys or a phone. It has two cupholders in the front but no extra spot to stash keys or a phone.

There’s a decent centre storage bin and bottle holders in the front doors, and another two cupholders in the back. 

Rear seaters miss out on directional air vents which can provide instant relief from the heat, and as I was testing the car over summer, my children did miss this.

They always do, and comment immediately if there are no air vents for the back seats. The car does cool down eventually because it’s not large, but quick trips can be hot for rear passengers.

✅ What's the tech like?

Toyota has now introduced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to this line-up which means it's joined the ranks of this convenient, great technology.

The C-HR has a 8.0-inch media screen. The C-HR has a 8.0-inch media screen.

Plug your phone in to be instantly connected to the main apps on your phone like maps and Spotify.

✅ How safe is it?

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The Toyota C-HR Koba costs $36,890. Fuel consumption is a claimed 4.3L/100km on the combined cycle, and it averaged just that over our two weeks of test driving. 

It’s covered by Toyota’s five year/unlimited km warranty which also covers the battery in this hybrid version. 

Service is recommended every 12 months or 15,000km, and the first four services are capped at $195.


The Wrap

The Toyota C-HR Koba is a very cool looking car to be driving around in for the summer, and though it’s not by any means big, it still fit my family of four comfortably enough. A bigger boot space would be more convenient but it’s not a deal breaker, and I particularly loved the low fuel consumption and petrol/electric hybrid drive. Plus it has the latest in safety and technology. 

I gave it a family rating of 7.8 out of 10 and my kids gave it an eight. It’s not only blue but it’s got some funky rear door handles and they love anything different.

Likes

Interior design
Hybrid engine - fuel efficiency
Advanced Safety

Dislikes

Exterior design
Modest boot space

Scores

Nedahl:

3.9

The Kids:

4

$37,190

Based on new car retail price

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