As one era draws to an end another one begins. With the 240 series, dating back to the 80’s, Volvo introduced diesel engines on a large scale, now with the new S60, diesel engines disappear from the Swedish maker’s catalogue in favour of plug-in hybrids
A queen among queens. Toyota has long been a leader on the global automotive market, both financial - thanks to a capitalisation of 202 billion dollars only recently surpassed by Tesla – and technological. Now, through an extremely articulated range, from urban vehicles to sports car, from family cars to crossovers, not to mention luxurious SUVs, Toyota has been able to include in its rather articulated list also models such as the C-HR, Coupé High Rider, a stylish crossover with a sporty and youthful look, which represents a new benchmark in the C-Suv segment.
First launched in 2016, the C-HR model year 2020 benefits from an upgrade that winks at technology rather than looks, confirming the stylish design of a coupé - with no lack of aerodynamic elements - that, at the moment, does not require any major changes. The few elements that differentiate the two generations can be summed up in a few touches to the grille and the overall front-end design and little more, leaving the technological component to bask in the spotlight.
In just under 4.4 metres in length (1.8 metres wide and 1.65 metres high), and a 2.64 metre wheelbase, the C-HR remains true to itself, with low overhangs, generous doors and small windows, a steeply sloping windscreen connected to a couple of slim rear spoilers.
Redesigned front light clusters now feature daytime running LED technology, the fog lights are located at the lower ends of the bumper, above two fake air intakes designed to enhance the sporty look of the vehicle, with a large central grille of great impact. So also at the rear, where full led rear lights are joined by a thin top line.
The fusion between a crossover and a coupé seems quite clear, so much so that Toyota saw fit to sacrifice useful space in order to obtain an unmistakable design, like a signature. The interior design of a C-class SUV, cannot offer the room of much more imposing vehicles, not to mention that the C-HR has to deal with bulky battery packs. All in all, the interior design work has made it possible to house four passengers comfortably, five would have to squeeze a little, with a useful 377 litre luggage compartment (slightly less on the 2.0 litre version due to a larger battery pack), which expands to over 1,100 litres after folding the rear seat.
Active, Trend, Style and Lounge, are the four trim levels, all refreshed with new soft-touch panel coverings and exclusive details, from fabrics to leather/alcantara suade, while, as far as connectivity is concerned, Toyota unveiled its new DCM (Data Communication Module) system, integrated with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a service that provides numerous real-time services, including the E-Call function for immediate assistance in case of emergency. At the heart of the system is the 8" touchscreen display, centrally mounted and facing the driver. From there, all on-board functions can be monitored, providing access to countless customized services, infotainment, air conditioning and audio, supported by an 800 W Jbl system with nine stereo speakers. The MyT app also allows the driver to plan a trip from home, sending the data to the car ready to indicate the set route, while the Hybrid Coach shows us the details of the EV mode with details on mileage and fuel saving.
An acronym encloses all the safety features. Toyota Safety Sense is the package designed to prevent and possibly reduce the effects of a collision. The front camera detects, through its radar sensors, any movement in the vicinity of the vehicle, providing support not only in identifying obstacles but also in adapting the cruise control, capable of autonomously maintain the safety distance while moving and quickly acting on the brakes in the event of an emergency. Road sign recognition, intelligent parking system, adaptive light beams, blind spot detection and other driver assistance wizardry complete the set of devices dedicated to vehicle and driver safety, in line with the high standards of the Japanese giant.
Hybrid Powertrains the only choice
The GA-C platform, also used on other mid-range cars of the group, including the Corolla saloon, lends itself to different engine configurations, hosting in this latest edition the new Dynamic Force series 2-litre petrol/hybrid engine (no Diesel engine), which replaces the previous 1.2-litre turbocharged car, raising the bar clearly higher. The new Atkinson cycle unit, with variable timing Dual VVT-i and D-4S direct and indirect injection fuel system depending on the circumstances, is flanked by two electric motors installed near the diffs, with the first named MG1 acting as generator and starter while the MG2 provides electric traction, alone or in combination with the ICE unit when all the available power is required. Thus the 152hp guaranteed by the four-cylinder engine is added to the 109hp of the permanent magnet synchronous electric unit, for a total of 184hp when combined. A new, compact 180-cell, 216 V nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack with an enhanced cooling system has been entrusted with the power reserve.
Still in the catalogue, we find the older 1.8 four-cylinder petrol engine, also with an extended stroke, whose combined petrol/electric power is 122hp, supported by a 56-cell lithium-ion battery pack and nominal voltage of 207.2 V.
Energy performance at the top of its category, which is expressed not so much in terms of speed, with peaks contained in 180 and 170 km/h and acceleration 0-100 km/h in 8.2 and 11 seconds respectively, but in terms of mileage, thanks to an average consumption declared in the order of 18.9 km/litre for the 2.0 and 20.4 km/litre for the 1.8, with reduced emissions, 92 and 86 g/km of CO2 according to the related NEDC test cycle. In thermal/electric combined driving, the C-HR can rely on zero emission mileage limited to few kilometres, as well as a coasting system that can deactivate the combustion engine while moving on a motorway.
Gone is the 6-speed mechanical gearbox combined with the 1.2 turbo engine, so the C-HR is now managed only by the new generation e-Cvt transmission, not a simple automatic gearbox with belt drive but a complex system that distributes the torque transmitted by both the thermal engine and the electrics between the axles and the generator, recharging the battery pack located under the rear seat, 53 kW for the 1.8 and 80 kW for the 2.0.
A four independent wheels layout that offers adequate ground contact, despite the absence of an all-wheel drive, sacrificed in this 2020 update in favour of lower operating costs, with electrically-assisted steering and four disc brakes, self-ventilating at the front, while the translucent alloy wheels are fitted with 215/60 R17 or 225/50 R18 tires, depending on the version.