Planting a seed, whether figuratively or literally and nurturing that seed will result in growth. Toyota planted the ‘hybrid’ seed more than 20 years ago with the introduction of the Prius. Since then, we have seen the wide-spread introduction of hybrid vehicles by many other car manufacturers and the introduction of fully electric powered cars.
The Toyota hybrid system still has advantages though, being that you do not need to plug it in to charge like some hybrids and you don’t need a charging network like is required for electric cars. More Australians than ever are driving hybrids and I have been fortunate to have driven a number of the hybrid Toyotas including the Prius v, Camry, RAV4 and Corolla and I have now added the funky looking C-HR Koba Hybrid 2WD to that list.
The higher spec of the two C-HR models is the Koba, which is available either with a 1.2L petrol engine or a 1.8L Hybrid, which I drove. The hybrid models have a total combined power output of 90kW, are 2WD driven by the front wheels, and paired with an auto CVT transmission. The recommended fuel octane rating for the C-HR Hybrid is only 91RON and the official combined fuel consumption for the C-HR is 4.3L/100km, while I used 6.1L/100km of fuel for my week. You can select to drive in pure EV mode for certain driving conditions, in normal drive mode or B drive mode, which increases the amount of regenerative braking from the system.
I found the C-HR Koba to be a comfortable little SUV, with a good ride quality, a nice and light steering feel at low speed and a quiet cabin. The steering wheel is also lovely to hold, but there are some of its features that I am not keen on. The gloss black on the wheel gets bad hand/finger marks on it and the voice control button has a masculine silhouette of a face on it, like many other car manufacturers do. The C-HR also has an old-style cruise control stalk behind the steering wheel, with adaptive cruise controls on the front of the wheel.
At the centre of the dash is an 8″ colour touchscreen display, which has satellite navigation with the SUNA traffic channel, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other media sources on the Koba include AM/FM radio, Bluetooth and Miracast. The system has voice control and I found this worked well for making phone calls and setting an address in the sat nav.
The Koba has leather accented seats and the front seats are heated and manually adjusted, with the driver getting additional power adjustment for lumbar support. The passenger seat does not have any height adjustment and I found that it was too high as my head was almost hitting the roof.
The arm rest is narrow and has one 12V outlet under it and there is one cup holder in front of the arm rest with a removable base to make it deeper and in front of the gear leaver there is a second deeper drink bottle holder, which is good because the front door cubby drink holders are a bit on the small size. At the front of the centre console there is a narrow ledge with one USB port for your smart phone, but this ledge has no lip to stop your phone from slipping off. Also I found that the gloss black on the centre console attracts dust badly.
My children are in that tween stage of life and they found the windows of the C-HR were too high for them to see out of. Younger children may also struggle with the height of the rear door handle as well. In the back seats you have two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but in reality you would only fit two cars seats in due to the width of the SUV. I found that the back seats have an okay amount of head and leg room for two adults to comfortably sit in there. The positive points for the back seats include the removable mat that completely covers the rear floor, the drink bottle holders located in the arm rest, rather than under the arm rest and the texture finish of the door panels. The negative points include no fold down arm rest in the centre seat, no central rear air vents and no USB/12V outlets.
The C-HR boot is a reasonable size for a small SUV and would fit a pram or the weekly shop, just not both at the same time. If you need extra space the rear seats have a 60/40 split fold mechanism. The boot is opened and closed manually and there is a temporary spare tyre located under the boot floor.
The Koba comes with Toyota Safety Sense including Pre-Collision Safety System (includes Pedestrian (night and day), Cyclist Detection (day only) and Intersection turn assistance, Road Sign Assist, Lane Departure Alert, Lane Trace Assist, Active Cruise Control, which doesn’t operate in B drive mode, and Automatic High Beam. Plus Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert with automatic braking, and a reverse camera with a 3600 view and front and rear parking sensors. Overall the Safety Assist features have an ANCAP score of 8.2 out of 13 (68%).
Passive safety features include seven airbags with dual frontal, side chest, side head airbags (curtains) and a driver knee airbag. The Toyota C-HR has a 5-star ANCAP (2017) safety rating with an Adult Occupant Protection of 33.2 out of 38 (87%) and a Child Occupant Protection rating of 38.0 out of 49 (77%).
All new Toyota vehicles come with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and this can be extended for up to seven years with unlimited kilometres on Engine and Driveline if your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained as per the vehicle’s Warranty and Service book. Plus if a defect covered by the Toyota Warranty Advantage causes your vehicle to be undriveable, towing to the nearest Toyota Dealer and a loan car is covered.
For hybrid vehicle batteries the standard five year warranty can be increased to up to ten years with unlimited kilometres, subject to annual Hybrid Health Check. The service interval for the C-HR hybrid is 12 months or 15,000kms, whichever occurs first. Using Toyota’s website I calculated the first four services for the Koba Hybrid 2WD would cost $800 under the Toyota Service Advantage program.
The growth seen in the popularity of hybrid vehicles in general and Toyota hybrids in particular is not surprising. The introduction of the Toyota C- HR Hybrid now means new car buyers can have the benefit of hybrid power in a small SUV as well. Prices for the C-HR Koba 2WD Hybrid start at $37,665 plus on-road costs and as tested with Premium Paint ($500) and Two-Tone exterior ($450) my Koba was $38,615 plus on-roads. Visit your preferred Toyota dealer for more information about the C-HR range.
|Fuel efficient hybrid engine||High rear windows and rear door handles|
|Funky exterior and interior design||No central rear air vents|
|Nicely weighted steering||Fixed height of front passenger seat|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.