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My first opportunity to see the second generation C-HR from Toyota was a few months ago at a press event held on the shores of Loch Lomond in Scotland; move the clock forward and to the sunny island of Ibiza and the European press launch.

The first generation model has proved to be breakthrough model for the Japanese carmaker and proof of its popularity in Europe sales in excess of 840,000. On its arrival, it brought style and most important, a satisfying drive; key elements in is path to success. The new model has been engineered specifically for European drivers with the assistance of data from drivers. The distinctive coupe silhouette is certainly eye-catching; pioneered by the first generation model; however the latest C-HR is wider with an enhanced on road presence stance and new larger alloy wheels, up to 20 inches in diameter and a 25mm reduction in the front overhang. There are a number of premium features such as flush door handles, interior ambient lighting with 64 colour options and a panoramic roof that requires no sunshade.

The range offers choice hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric powertrains which feature the latest generation Toyota technology; the result, more power without compromising efficiency. Five trim levels in N.I. and ROI provide the buyer with an excellent choice and further adding to the appeal of this newcomer. Some markets will have the choice of all wheel drive. Beyond its class-leading efficiency on the road; it further reduces its environmental impact with the adoption of new recycled and animal product-free materials, together with advanced technologies to reduce vehicle weight and cut CO2 emissions during production.

While the exterior of the latest C-HR is certainly pleasing to the eye, equally so is the cabin; where sensory quality has been taken to a much higher level with a harmonious feel created through comprehensive upgrades to materials and high-quality detailing. The design follows what has been described as a “wing” concept with a slim, horizontal instrument panel that integrates perfectly with the door panels. The multimedia display is seamlessly integrated and the JBL premium audio system, standard on some models, has a custom-built fade-effect metal speaker, this a first in a Toyota model. We all have the need to carry items in our vehicles and practicality is designed-in with new storage points and charging options. The slim line wing design allows for an additional tray to be provided above the glove box and in the centre console there is a wireless charging tray large enough for two smartphones. There is much needed extra load capacity in the boot compared to the outgoing model.

To the heart of the matter and engines and of course depending on the various markets; 1.8 and two litre hybrid electric versions and a two litre plug-in hybrid electric. The 1.8 HEV system features an ultra-efficient engine and produces a total output of 138bhp/103kW while the two litre hybrid’s higher output is 195bhp/145kW. Throttle performance has been optimised for more direct and consistent acceleration feel, with precise calibration of pedal input sensitivity, making it easy to control yet highly responsive. On undulating roads, new Adaptive Hill Control Logic modifies acceleration according to the incline for a more natural and easy drive. For quieter running, engine speeds during motorway driving have been reduced by up to 500rpm, the aim to achieve class-leading acoustic comfort, together with optimised aerodynamics, vibration damping and noise insulation. The hybrid electric powertrains feature redesigned components for better performance and efficiency and reduced weight. A new high-power lithium-ion battery is located beneath the rear seat; more compact and weighs 1.5kg less than the previous unit and provides a14 per cent higher output while a new power control unit contributes to fuel efficiency through improved cooling and lower electrical losses; operating at a higher frequency also reduces cabin noise. Behind the wheel, just like the first generation car, the new C-HR is very much about style; handling and braking is good, it turns in well and when it comes to choice the 1.8 litre wins as I found the CVT transmission somewhat lacking when allied to the larger engine. Toyota has started production of the all-new C-HR, including its first European battery assembly operation. The Japanese company is committed to achieving full carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and is targeting carbon neutrality in all its European manufacturing facilities by 2030 and the C-HR production facility is progressing towards this goal by implementing measures to minimise energy consumption and switching to renewable energy. These include new paint shop technologies which minimise CO2 emissions, zero-carbon ventilation systems and the use of solar energy.

Ian Lynas