The Toyota C-HR is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by ladies.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The Toyota C-HR is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by ladies.

My Reading Room

Milla Jovovich is a female personality who approves of the C-HR, according to Toyota.


MY first impression of the Toyota C-HR was based upon images of the Toyota C-HR Racing that took part in the Nurburgring Challenge in mid-2016.

Competing under the banner of Gazoo Racing, the C-HR Racing was a race-spec version of the model that had yet to be launched at the time. Decked out in full racing livery with lowered suspension and GT wing, I couldn’t wait for the road-car version to arrive.

While I was wowed by the way it looks, the C-HR’s boy-racer appearance always gave me the perception that it would appeal more to men. It wasn’t until a recent test drive that I began to realise that the C-HR may have something for us ladies, too.

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend and the C-HR’s “diamond architecture” exterior theme comes close to that. Like a well-cut gemstone, its facets make the car stand out from the crowd.

Complemented by curves in all the right places, taillights that protrude beyond the body, and an upward sloping beltline that meets the sweeping roofline which terminates in a pronounced rear roof spoiler, there is that wind-blown hair effect and, with it, a suggestion of speed.

The speed element is more implied than actual and I do sense the strain in the 1.2-litre turbocharged engine (which produces a modest 115hp of power and 185Nm of torque), especially when accelerating slightly more enthusiastically from a standing start or when trundling uphill. The very audible whine from the Toyota’s 7-speed CVT doesn’t help matters.

But if you go easy on the throttle, the car gets up to cruising speed effortlessly and smoothly, which makes for quite a relaxing drive, so I don’t chew my nails off or tear my hair out.

The interior design language is unmistakably Japanese, and as with all things aesthetic, reactions will be mixed.

But what can be clearly established is the premium feel conveyed by the use of soft-touch materials, the way the 4.2-inch infotainment touchscreen is seamlessly integrated with the dashboard, and the controls’ orientation towards the driver.

Even the weight of the door panels has a robust quality and the doors shut with a nice thud.

The slightly elevated driving position is just sufficient to bolster the driver’s confidence, but the vehicle still feels well-planted from behind the wheel – an attribute that many women drivers will appreciate.

Despite the small rear windows, visibility is surprisingly not compromised. The seats are comfortable and the various storage compartments enhance the cabin’s practicality.

My daughter the backseat reviewer also gave the C-HR a thumbs-up.

My eight-year-old praised the car for its spacious cabin and generous legroom. The legroom is decent even for grown-ups.

I had initially assumed that she would complain about not being able to peer above the high window sills, but instead, she commented that they made the cabin feel extra cosy.

She did, however, lament the lack of rear air-conditioning vents, but that was soon forgotten when she spotted those unique rear door handles integrated into the C-pillars.

The equipment and features are also fairly comprehensive for a car in this segment.

Both the Active and Luxury variants come with dual-zone climate control, NanoE air purification, blind spot monitor, rear view camera and the Toyota Safety Sense P Package that includes dynamic radar cruise control and lane departure alert.

The C-HR targets the younger crowd and, indeed, it is a car I would consider buying if I was 10 years younger. While its overall image probably has a greater appeal to men, it possesses traits that could attract women, too.