The C-HR I’m sure wasn’t designed with family use in mind! It oozes single young male driver and its contours and lack of storage make it completely impractical as a family car!
So how would it rank as a sporty little second car, maybe not the main family get about but as a pop the kids in for drop-offs on the odd occasion or if you only have one bub and are not quite ready to give it all for boot space and practicality!!
Interested to see how the C-HR would fare we put it through its paces for a week to see how it would measure up!
Well, it definitely measured up small!! Lacking in storage and space and the ability to sit two fully grown adults in the front and a rear facing child seat behind!
It was very easy to park with a good, clear and wide view reversing camera which is needed with the lack of visibility out of the back! Whilst discussing visibility the rear side windows are shaped up at the back so that rear-facing children will not be able to see out of the side windows and there is a claustrophobic feel to the inside of the cab.
There is ISOFix in both the outer rear seats and top tether across all three rear seat backs I found I could fit two child seats into the C-HR. I installed the Mountain Buggy Protect infant capsule and the Infasecure Kompressor4 both rear facing in the outer seats.
The boot is not very deep at all, making its capacity small and impractical. I could only just get the boot closed with the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle stroller in there and three shopping bags!
Storage in the cabin was impractically sized too! Everything was just smaller than you'd like for a family car! But one great BabyDrive feature is the door bottle holders.
I had a couple of scary experiences driving the C-HR when the brakes slammed on because a car was turning right beside me, I had a similar experience in the Audi Q2, and there is a considerable delay when pulling out of junctions too.
The C-HR is a beepy little car too with very little options for turning them down or off!
The media system does not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and I did not find it easy to connect my phone to.
This is perhaps one for when the kids are out of their rear facing child seats, nappies and strollers and you do not need legroom or to cart so much equipment around with you!
The C-HR scored a five star ANCAP safety rating.
The two cup holders in the front of the C-HR were designed for tea addicts like me!! Situated in the central console either side of the gear lever they are shaped to hold a mug including the handle!! This would have been AMAZING for me – before having a child. From as early as my first car I always took a cup of tea in the car with me for any journey I was doing! Since having a child everything has to be lidded and sealed tight enough to roll around in my bag, leaving both my hands free for baby and baby ‘stuff’ carrying!!! (I have had many travel mugs and my favourite is the Cheeki brand if you’re interested check it out as I have never had a leak yet!!)
Back to the C-HR!! The cup holder nearest the dash will only hold a short bottle as the dashboard protrudes over the top of it so anything taller would not fit in. Where as the one nearest the central console storage box will hold even my big refillable bottle.
In the back there is a moulded cup holder in each door as there are no door pockets in the back, I found the cup holders were the perfect size to hold a Pigeon baby bottle, 600ml bottle or a re-usable or disposable coffee cup too.
There are only door pockets in the front of the C-HR, they are quite small and would only hold a 600ml bottle nothing bigger. I could just get my iPad in there too but the plastic of the door pocket did have to bend outwards in order for it to fit! It was the same thing with my wallet and you would definitely not get both in together!
The door handles are little wells, good for popping anything small in your or child's hands, when putting them into the car.
Storage in general is pretty limited in the C-HR and it feels it, cramped and limited. The only place to put your mobile phone is on a little shelf, well hidden away, behind the cup holder.
The USB port however is up on the media screen so you have to have a wire dangling down from there which looks a bit unsightly and is not very well designed. There is also no glasses case in the C-HR which means you have to decide which sits on the shelf your glasses or your phone.
The central console, between the two front seats, is a shaped shiny black plastic area, because it’s so glossy and curved you can not rest anything on it, keys had already scratched the one in this fairly new test car and everything just slides around damaging the surface and making a racket!
The central console storage box lid doubles as a padded arm rest. Inside there is a 12V power socket, well situated for recharging a portable DVD player in the back.
The glove box is really small, I could just get my wallet in with the manual but definitely couldn’t fit the iPad in there. The dashboard really juts out in a strange overhanging, spaceship controller like shape and the glove box is below that with a very difficult to locate press button opening. Because of the overhang, you have to feel for the button rather than see it and it didn’t become any easier to locate as the week went on.
There are half map pockets on the back of both front seats which are the perfect size for concealing an iPad.
The boot space is equally limited in the C-HR; the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle stroller only just fits flat on the floor of the boot, the boot space is not very deep or tall so the door only just closes. With the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle I could get three shopping bags very carefully around it.
There is an indent on both sides behind the wheel arches which allow for just a little extra space. Perfect for wet shoes or delicate things that need separating.
With nothing else in the boot I could get ten shopping bags in there (five across the back of the seats and two deep).
Or the Steelecraft Holiday2 umbrella stroller will fit straight across the boot with five shopping bags behind it and the side wells are still empty for smaller items.
The boot space and its functionality are really important. I like to have a big boot space and little side wells or areas I can divide things into. So something I don’t want to move around while I’m driving such as Tulsi’s lunch bag or her wet swimming gear can be sectioned off in a little well where it’s not going to spill or get squashed by the rest of the things in the boot.
Hooks for securing shopping bags to are also favourites of mine, I like being able to secure the bag containing more fragile things like eggs so they don’t move around on the journey.
I measure the boot space in freezer shopping bags, prams and dogs. Not because I think all there is to a mum’s life is food shopping, prams and dogs. (Although it can feel like it sometimes!!) But because these are visually mesurable items we can all associate with. For me, the car company boot measurement of litres is not an amount I can easily visualise and 400L in one car may differ in usability to that in another due to the configuration or shape of the space.
The boot-space was a good height for accessing and loading, the small lip at the edge meant you could do an emergency nappy!
There is no underfloor storage in the boot and no 12V socket, just two plastic hooks for securing bags too. The parcel shelf was solid and removable, you would have to take it out if you wanted to carry anything taller than the collapsed Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle stroller as that was its height deep!
The C-HR is a beeping little Toyota! Luckily the beep every time you press the touch screen can be turned off in the settings, if you can find them!!
Accessing the settings on the touch screen is a little confusing. The Home screen is half SatNav map and half grey boxes and media/audio information.
I assumed in pressing Home I would be taken to the screen of category option buttons where I could select what I wanted to access, but it’s not the case with the C-HR or any of the new Toyotas.
Hidden away in the top right corner of the Home screen is a small button with a cog icon and that is how you access everything. This struck me as illogical and just an unnecessary screen to have to click through.
The parking sensors are rather sensitive and there is no button to turn them off on the dash board, like there is in most cars, or in the settings of the media unit.
There is no option to turn off the parking sensors, normally there is a button on a car dash to turn them on and off and in the C-HR there isn’t. There was also no option to adjust the volume of the rather sensitive beep in the display settings either so you have no choice but to have the sensors ON!
Becoming a parent I soon realised there are some noises and sounds I feel are unnecessary and I could happily live without if it meant my baby stayed asleep!!
That often the distraction of my screaming, distressed baby is more dangerous when driving than not having a lane departure warning for example.
If it is the lane departure warning beeping that creates distress with my baby then which is safest?
It’s where I think we need to be able to strike a balance and choose when we can mute the warnings or swap them to a vibration in the steering wheel or flashing light perhaps?
A lot of these noises come with the increase in technology and especially linked to safety features and alerts. For me these all have their place.
Another thing I have realised is I spend my time in a lot more places where small children roam, parks, beaches, play gyms, swimming lessons, daycare centre etc. I have become more aware that when I’m reversing or manouvering in the car parks I have to tripple check for small children running around behind me or being in my blind spot when reversing. For this I LOVE reversing cameras, I just don’t like their beeping sounds!!
I have become so much more aware of safety and potential accidents or hazards since having a child and so I love the peace of mind that I get from the cameras and sensors combined with my own vision from windows and mirrors as I don’t trust cameras alone.
You can turn the lane departure warning on and off with a button on the steering wheel but you can not adjust the volume of it’s beeping and it too is very sensitive and shrill! The icon also flashes in the bottom right of the digital screen to alert you.
The indicator volume cannot be adjusted but it is a nice dull sound.
The Satnav volume can be adjusted up and down through the settings on the touch screen. There is no verbosity settings like the other recently updated Toyota models, the C-HR just has the volume adjustments but no mute option.
The media system in the C-HR was not easy to connect to the first time I tried and it does not use Apple CarPlay. I had nursery rhymes playing on my phone and when I turned the car on and plugged my phone in the radio came blaring out at me full blast, so I had both going for a while! It took another two goes of unplugging and plugging back in for the C-HR to register my phone and then I had to re-press play again on my phone.
The Toyota system does remember your phone and what you were playing last time you were in it. So the next trip in the C-HR I plugged my phone in and it started up straight away exactly where we left off and at that volume. This feature has pros and cons. If I have been out in the car on my own and had the music blaring then it remembers that next time you turn it on so you have to always remember to turn down or off the audio before turning the car off incase the time you use it you won’t want it to come on and wake up baby for example.
The windows have a clunky opening and close in the top section which could wake a sleeping baby, the sound would probably go unnoticed whilst driving along but if you have come to a stop whilst they’re sleeping for example then I think the noise could disturb them.
The windows even have an alarm in the C-HR! If you come to a stop and turn the engine off but have a window still open, the digital display comes up with a written warning and an alarm sounds.
Also if you have the engine running and get out of the car for some reason with the keys a beeping sounds then too. This is quite an important one in my experience as often when Tulsi falls asleep, I pull over somewhere and leave the engine running so she has the aircon going and I sit outside the car. With the number of beepers and alarms and rattling door pockets, it would be a miracle if she slept through this process!!
Since becoming a mum I spend A LOT of time parked up somewhere with a nice view while my daughter is asleep in the back! If it's hot I need to leave the engine running and the aircon on but I do like to get out and drink my cuppa tea in the fresh air while enjoying the fact my limbs are free from said dangling child!!
SO this is a very important test as I have found that sometimes I have been held hostage by a cars BEEEEPING alarms when I have taken off my seatbelt or opened the door while the engine is still running!! (I only stand outside the car, I am not a bad mother!!)
The doors are nice and quiet to open but when you shut them anything in the door pockets rattles quite loudly.
I had my keys in there, because of the lack of storage space in the front this was the only place I could find to put them, and they made quite a racket when I opened and closed the door.
An alarm not dissimilar to a heart monitor crashing in a hospital drama sounds if you move the car whilst a door is not properly closed as well as a flashing display on your screen.
There is no auto-engine cut out in the C-HR.
Road noise and engine noise are not too bad in the C-HR, it seemed to rev a bit going up steep hills but there was no baby waking or driver annoying sound!!
The five seater C-HR has ISOFix in the two outer rear seats.
There are top tether across all three rear seats. The anchor points for these are situated on the back of the back rests and are easily accessible from the boot and from inside the cab using the plastic catches on either end of the back rests to pull the seat backs forward. This is really simple mechanism to use, you can bring the seat back forward just enough to reach your arm through and connect the top tether.
The anchor points for the top tether are concealed within the fabric of the boot lining and seat base.
Although both are clearly labeled in the C-HR so you know where they are positioned, I prefer it when both the Top Tether and IsoFix points are fully visible in plastic cases so you can clearly see they are connected properly. When they are hidden in folds of fabric you can’t see 100% that they are connected properly, the fabric especially on leather seats becomes warped and damaged by the opening and spreading of the fabric to insert the ISOFix too. The plastic versions avoid these hurdles and make the removal of the seat easier too.
The inside of the C-HR is tiny. I could fit a rear facing child seat in both the outer rear seats without anything in the middle seat. As long as I was driving because I’m short enough to sit in front of it!! I installed the Mountain Buggy Protect infant capsule and the Infasecure Kompressor4 both rear facing.
When Tulsi’s rear facing child seat was behind the passenger seat I actually travelled in the back of the car with Tulsi as I just felt too cramped in the front passenger seat. My knees were up against the oddly shaped dashboard and I’m only 162cm. My 184cm husband could definitely not fit either, he travelled in the back too when I was driving!
Posting Tulsi into her seat from inside the car with only one car seat installed is quite difficult. Space is tight in the back of the C-HR, the ceiling is domed slightly which improves the feeling of space a little, there still isn’t room for a comfortable post from the inside. From the outside it is not too bad, you do have to bend down and peer in to fasten the child seat harness.
Feeding Bub in the back is fine with just one child seat installed it is just a tighter space than in a big SUV for example. From outside the doorway is quite shaped but I found it fine.
The seats are leather/pleather smooth fabric which would be easily wipe cleaned however both the rear and front seats perforated in a diamond pattern which of course will trap any crumbs, sand and dirt etc. Making them a lot more difficult to clean.
I struggled to find a comfortable seating position in the driver's seat of the C-HR, I definitely couldn’t have a pony tail and this annoyed me to start!! The seat is bucket shaped meaning the front of the seat base tips upward under my knees and although you can pump the seat base up and down using the handle on the side you can not change that angle.
The front seats in the C-HR we drove were heated which is lovely but they remember your settings from the previous journey! So if you drive at night with your seat heater on then you have to remember to turn it off otherwise next time you use the car you’ll start feeling like you’ve wet yourself!! It is quite good for playing a trick on your partner if you know they’re driving it next!!!
Travelling in the back for mum is not too bad with only one child seat installed. You can not sit in the middle seat it is far too small and uncomfortable but at the side is fine, the domed ceiling gives you a bit more sense of space without intruding on the side of your head if you’re taller. The car is small enough that you can easily reach across to bub.
For the first year of Tulsi's life when we would go out as a family, if I wasn’t driving, I would travel in the back with Tulsi so it’s important to check the back seat comfort as you may be spending a lot of time in them! They were never something I gave any thought to before but I definitely notice a good or bad back seat now!
The steering wheel is fully adjustable in and out and up and down.
Cruise control is like all the Toyotas a simple stick control behind the steering wheel, it’s very simple and is quite accurate. I found the digital display in the C-HR to be a little slow, when you turn the cruise control on your digital screen changes to a disclaimer of a lot of text, warning you about using it only on a motorway. Then another screen comes up and finally a screen showing you the speed you have set. This is really annoying when you are trying to set your cruise control as you have to spend so long looking at your digital display and not at the road. Also, you don’t get the big digital speed display until after you have set the speed using the dial speedo. Really annoying as you would much prefer the more accurate digital numbers.
The disclaimer about using the cruise control only on a motorway is a ridiculous amount of text to expect anyone to read whilst driving as well! By the time you have read their version of war and peace, you would have gone into the back of someone!
The reason they say only on motorways became apparent when I used it on a dual carriageway! When a car moved into a right turning lane beside me and the C-HR suddenly slammed on the brakes at 90km/h!?? Luckily there was no one travelling behind me and I was alone in the car because Tulsi would have been distressed and a car behind without magical cruise control may not have stopped in time and hit me! I had exactly the same thing happen in the Audi Q2, very worrying that this seams to be becoming the norm with new cars. The only use on motorway disclaimer wouldn’t prevent this happening as everyone knows Australian drivers are notorious for undertaking so I can see the same thing happening again and again!
The air-conditioning controls in the C-HR were a little over complicated. There are four buttons on either side of a row of four silver paddles and a digital display.
I didn’t find the air-conditioning cooled the car in an instat and took a little longer than I would have expected to bring the cab down to temperature.
There were four vents across the front dash in the car and they were quite small and set deep into the dash so I think that contributed to the lack of flow.
The model I drove had the Nanoe air purifying system and perhaps this is why I found it different to what I am used to. The Nanoe air purifying system is said to neutralise bacteria, odours, pollution and allergens like pollen for example in the cab. I found the airflow in the C-HR to be more humid than regular air conditioning and less chilling. Interestingly it claims to reduce odours as we did keep remarking that the C-HR had a sweaty smell about it!!
The windows in the C-HR are very heavily tinted, the rear side windows are shaped to go up sharply at the back and so rear facing passengers can not see out at all. It is very dark inside the C-HR, the ceiling is tall but it slopes at the back and narrows at the sides adding to the overall dark and slightly claustrophobic feel.
The heavy tint is good for protecting passengers from the sun and you definitely do not need window shades or socks.
Visibility for the driver without car seats installed is not too bad although the side pillars in the back are extremely wide. It’s when you add the car seats that you are pretty much blind out of the back corners and side windows and having a baby mirror on the head rest adds to the obstruction also.
You can see really well using the rear view mirror straight out of the back windscreen and the side mirrors are a good size and compensate slightly. The reversing camera has an extremely clear picture and very wide view which is fantastic as all the other Toyotas I have recently driven the reversing camera view was narrow and very pixelated.
The lack of view out of the side windows for rear facing child seat passengers may have been a large part of Tulsi's dislike of the C-HR! Along with the darkness and there are no ceiling handles in the back so I couldn’t hang any toys for her either.
There is a lit vanity mirror for either side front passenger and an interior light in the front ceiling which matches the diamond pattern on the doors. The C-HR doesn’t have a glasses case in the ceiling. The interior light in the ceiling for the rear passengers is easily reached by the driver. The boot light comes on automatically when you open the boot door.
I have found Tulsi does not like travelling in the dark in the car so if it gets dark whilst travelling then I reach back and turn the interior light on for her. Also if I am traveling home and it is getting near to bed time and I DON’T want her to fall asleep in the car as even a 5minute nap in the car means bed time is all over!!!! So I lean back and pop the light on so it’s not dark and try to keep her awake!!
The C-HR is quite fun to drive, it has a similar feel to the Audi Q2 in that it grips the road but not quite as well.
I did find it has a delay in accelerating out of junctions that felt dangerous on a couple of occasions. Considering its sporty feel and road hugging cornering, acceleration was not something I thought would be a problem but there was a definite two second delay from a standstill that caught me out on a few occasions, that I wouldn’t want to have to get used to and accommodate for this in everyday life.
Parking was really simple with the C-HR. It is really easy to place. Where you see the end of the car is where it ends. It is not like the big SUV Toyota Kluger I had the previous week where when you see the car end there is inches more bumper and plastic you can’t see that you need to take into account when manoeuvring.
One thing I have noticed since being a mum is I hate it when I reach a destination or get home from being out and Tulsi has either done really well in the car or she is screaming her head off and I have done really well to keep it together for the entire journey (usually the latter!!) and it takes 10 minutes to park the car! It can be really stressful. Usually I dread when we get big cars as they take longer in our tight apartment block carpark, but the little C-HR was easy to park!
The sensors are unnecessary with the C-HR being so small and easy to park so it’s a shame I couldn’t turn them off!
There is a single 12V socket in the central console where you could charge a portable DVD player.
There is lots of black shiny plastic in the interior of the C-HR which even has a shimmering galaxy like glitter through the dashboard plastic. Adding to the spaceship cockpit feel of the inside!
The shiny plastic surfaces do scratch really easily too.
There is an odd combination of surfaces, textures and colours going on inside the C-HR, the doors have a very strange brown 3D cube/diamond pattern to them which is also inside the interior light, which I am not convinced really works with the other surfaces and colours in the cab.
Two carpet floor mats are in the front and one long one across the back footwell. This carpet is already full of crumbs, dirt etc I would definitely add the Toyota rubber floor mats.
The tailgate is not powered unfortunately because it is very heavy! But the keyless entry was handy for unloading baby ‘stuff’ laden arms!!
The Toyota C-HR got a five-star ANCAP Safety rating and comes with both passive and active safety features.
All models come withToyota Safety Sense+ package including; seven airbags. A front and side airbag for the driver and front passenger and a driver knee airbag as well as head level curtain airbags for both the front and rear passengers.
The C-HR has an impact absorbing structure that is designed to absorb and distribute the force of an impact across the whole vehicle.
This Toyota comes with a lot of features to help with braking and staying on the road like; anti-lock braking system (ABS), brake assist (BA), vehicle stability control (VSC), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), traction control (TRC), hill-start assist control (HAC) and trailer sway control (TSC) incase you take the little AWD off road with your camper trailer for a weekend family camping!
The C-HR has a pre-collision safety system that kicks in automatically when it thinks it is needed. It uses a radar to identify any obstacles ahead, then the forward collision warning alerts you and as you start to brake the brake assist kicks in to apply more force than you can, to slow the car down and avoid hitting the obstacle. If it doesn’t think you can avoid the obstacle then automatic emergency braking (AEB) kicks in to reduce your speed at impact.
If the lane departure alert warns you that you are veering out of your lane without indicating and you do not correct it then the steer assist automatically kicks in to steer you back into your lane. This was very sensitive in the C-HR and you could really feel the pull of the steer assist.
The Toyota C-HR feels safe to drive, with the way it hugs the road tightly.
However the delay when accelerating out of a junction is worrying and on a couple of occasions, I did think I wasn’t going to make it in time and get hit in the side. Also, the experience I had with the car independently braking suddenly on a dual carriageway for traffic turning right beside me was another scary and worrying experience.
Some of these safety features are also features that drive me crazy as a mum! Like the lane departure and forward collision alert or the parking sensor beeping sound.
I want all the safety technology AND to be able to mute the sound when Tulsi’s asleep!