Could the Toyota C-HR GR Sport be the family’s winning combo? Between more than sufficient performance, good endurance, and an (even) more attractive look, it has everything to please. So what is it worth on a daily basis?
Almost seven years and still as successful! Launched in 2016, the Toyota C-HR quickly became a benchmark in its segment, and for good reason. A “small SUV” with an aggressive and original look, equipped with a hybrid engine that is very practical in town? A winning recipe. In 2018, it is even the best-selling hybrid model in the world. A few years and a restyling later, the crossover is finally entitled to a GR Sport version. And this one is to say the least successful, both in substance and in form. So, still as effective in the city and beyond? Place to our test of the Toyota C-HR GR Sport.
The Toyota C-HR GR Sport in terms of looks: just the right amount of “Sport”
Just look at it to understand its success. An original silhouette, half-raised coupe, half-compact, with beautiful two-tone liveries. The Toyota C-HR, we love it or we hate it. Personally, I am from the first group. Especially with the arrival of the GR Sport finish, which brings its share of small treats with a sporty appearance. Might as well say it right away: this new version is not transcendent either. On the contrary, it plays the card of racy discretion, and that is precisely what we like. The Toyota C-HR GR Sport hosts many body elements in gloss black. Window lines, side sill inserts, not to mention the 19-inch rims. With the front bumper, its blade, its grille and the chrome gray / black roof livery, the whole thing is rather rewarding. Let’s not forget the rear spoiler, which completes the profile of the crossover.
The Toyota C-HR GR Sport still remains relatively discreet in the urban landscape. Fortunately, a small GR Sport badge adorns the trunk. Upon opening, there are also GR Sport door sills. Our urban SUV does not touch anything else and thus retains its imposing and compact appearance at the same time. Its dimensions: 4.40 m long, 1.79 m wide, and 1.55 m high. Finally, only the wheels seem a bit “small” to us within the general silhouette of the crossover. Maybe it would be enough to lower the vehicle a bit? In any case, the C-HR does not take too many risks, which could legitimately leave some amateurs unsatisfied. A bolder rear diffuser? A specific decoration on the beltline? It would not take much more to really differentiate this C-HR GR Sport from its already very racy twins.
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On board: more dynamic than outside
It’s probably a little paradoxical, but it’s true. The Toyota C-HR GR Sport welcomes us in a cabin that is sportier than its exterior finish. This is thanks to GR Sport upholstery in leather and Alcantara topstitched in red, as well as the steering wheel. A GR Sport badge on the steering wheel and an inscription on the start button remind us who we are dealing with. On board, the black lacquered linings complement the upholstery well… As long as they are clean. Unsurprisingly, they pick up dust and fingerprints very quickly, which can quickly annoy maniacs like yours truly. We also regret the many hard plastics, but fortunately they remain more present in the lower part. The dashboard is topped with a beautiful foamed surface, leather look, which enhances the perceived quality.
In any case, we feel the “sporty” identity more from the driver’s seat, with this subtly black and red environment. The seats are comfortable, and we are well settled in the front as well as in the back. On the other hand, and C-HR obliges, the rear is still just as dark. Sloping roof line, high waistline (and therefore reduced window area)… So many aspects that cause this feeling of ambient occlusion known on board the Toyota C-HR GR Sport. Windows and rear window inevitably impair rear visibility, as has always been the case on the crossover. And you will have understood it, the darkened windows do not help. We can still count on the parking sensors and the reversing camera, essential on this model. Finally, the trunk remains substantially identical with its 358 l under the tablet. There, even the Peugeot e-2008 does better!
Performance and handling: a bit more dynamic!
And with just enough under the hood. As a reminder, the first version of the crossover was limited to a single 122 hp version. It will be necessary to wait until 2019 to see the arrival of the 184 hp version, which is much more interesting. Our Toyota C-HR GR Sport comes with a 4-cylinder petrol engine producing 152 hp and 190 Nm. Of course, it comes with an electric motor, 80 kW (109 hp) and 202 Nm of torque. The 184 cumulated provide just the right amount of convenience and responsiveness on a daily basis, in town and beyond. In EV mode, the torque available immediately provides certain comfort when starting. The C-HR knows how to be lively, but its e-CVT automatic transmission quickly calms our ardor. Already, a slightly too heavy foot is enough to cause an unsightly rattle at the top of the towers. Then, no need to try to play pallets, as the auto box quickly regains control.
We are far from the Toyota GR Yaris, and that’s normal. The dynamism of the Toyota C-HR GR Sport lies less in its performance than in its behavior. After all, the manufacturer promised us new suspension and steering settings. The bet seems successful, with this compact SUV with excellent handling. It’s precise, stable, very sound when arriving fairly quickly in curves, and the Continental Premium Contacts give us confidence. Without going so far as to talk about the speed of passage in the turns, we confirm a more playful temperament on the chassis side. And good news: this dynamic personality does not disturb the passengers. The C-HR GR Sport is more comfortable than it looks, despite its 19-inch wheels. Without necessarily being typed comfort, the crossover remains pleasant in all circumstances. Forget about performance, enjoy behavior.
Toyota C-HR GR Sport test: the best version of the hybrid crossover?
EV mode and consumption: up to 800 km of autonomy?
As you will have understood, the Toyota C-HR GR Sport knows how to be responsive and pleasant when needed. And this even if it remains of a rather linear nature in general. On the hybridization side, we find the 1.31 kWh battery providing the electrical phases. If these come down to about 3 km at most, they are no less significant in town. Especially since the slowdowns and braking allow very rapid energy recovery. In EV mode, we benefit in particular from silence and precision in urban traffic. It’s very soft, it slides on its own. But be careful not to use the right pedal too much: the internal combustion engine is a light sleeper! A slightly more accelerated acceleration or a small drop and hop, the C-HR emits its exaggerated little rattle. Light hybridization obliges, we cannot have everything.
The advantage is that you quickly get caught up in the game by dosing as much as possible in order to favor electric. By being really relaxed (not to say lagging behind!), we even exceed the 80% in EV mode announced by Toyota in the city. In normal conditions, we regularly reach 70% without too much difficulty. With a 43 l tank and suburban consumption measured at 5.5 l/100 km? That’s almost 800 km traveled on a well-managed full tank. Concretely, we reach 5.8 l on the highway, and 6.2 l in the city. Counting the many starts and other constant elevations, we expect at least 700 km of autonomy in daily use. The WLTP consumption of 5.5 l/100 km announced by the manufacturer is not so far in the best conditions. Very interesting and more than correct figures for the Toyota C-HR GR Sport, not to mention the pleasure and comfort of the electric phases.
Toyota C-HR GR Sport (2023): from €35,700
The Toyota C-HR GR Sport has many arguments in its favour, there is no doubt about it. Always very stylish, it welcomes some appreciable touches of sportiness, all things considered. Because you have to keep in mind that the compact SUV remains the same very linear urban vehicle, despite its dynamic ambitions. The most demanding can always blame it for its rear visibility and its somewhat tight trunk volume. But for the rest, it’s pleasant, comfortable, and durable on a daily basis. Isn’t that the main thing? Especially since once the various premiums have been deducted, the crossover goes from €41,700 to €35,000 at Toyota. Opposite and with equivalent positioning, there is always the Kia Niro HEV with more trunk. But it will be necessary to deal with less power and a less radical look. But that will be a matter of taste. And you what do you think ?
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