14 June 2021

Toyota GR C-HR Sport 2021 Car Review

The current-gen C-HR has been available in New Zealand for over 18 months now, and sold 901 units in 2020 alone.


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Toyota GR C-HR Sport 2021
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Toyota GR C-HR Sport 2021
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Toyota GR C-HR Sport 2021
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Toyota GR C-HR Sport 2021
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Toyota GR C-HR Sport 2021
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Toyota GR C-HR Sport 2021
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Toyota GR C-HR Sport 2021

We reviewed the model in April last year, and loved the compact SUV’s quirkiness, efficiency and usability.

Now, Toyota NZ has decided to introduce the GR Sport variant into the mix, which adds sporty styling to an already enticing package.

The new Toyota C-HR GR Sport is available from $42,990 (TDP).

GR styling

The GR branding has already been used on the new Supra and the excellent GR Yaris, and stands for ‘Gazoo Racing’, which is Toyota’s motorsport/performance brand. These two models offer sports performance, while on the C-HR GR Sport, most of the changes are cosmetic. Toyota has even decided to make it a hybrid.

We thought the styling was great on the standard C-HR, but the C-HR GR Sport makeover only makes it more appealing.

Included are larger 19-inch wheels, and an in-your-face grille complete with a premium-looking shadow chrome insert to house your number plate. There are also lots of black parts and accents dotted around the car, including the mirrors and spoiler.

The styling updates ensure the C-HR GR Sport looks stockier, sportier and even more exciting than the standard C-HR. What’s surprising is that it does all this while not being over the top.

On the inside

The styling upgrades on the interior are less noticeable, but enough to make you notice that you’re not in the regular C-HR.

All five seats are finished in synthetic leather and a suede-like material, which helps give a premium, race-car-like feel. Genuine leather also wraps the satin chrome gear knob and the steering wheel, which is also finished in silver stitching.

There’s also an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system sitting attentively on the top of the dash, supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  

Piano black styling and aluminium sports pedals complete the interior’s GR makeover.

There is a noticeable lack of USB ports in the C-HR GR Sport, with just one in the front, so it’s even more of a shame to see Toyota ignored recent new car trends and decided against installing a wireless phone charger.

Much like you’d find in a sporty hatchback, the styling of this SUV means that tall people may struggle as rear passengers due to the swooping roof, and the car’s compact footprint means rear legroom isn’t available in abundance. For this reason, luggage capacity sits at a rather disappointing 318 litres.

Safety features

The Toyota Safety Sense package is included in the C-HR GR Sport, which includes safety features like Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Pedestrian and Intersection Turn Assist, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitor and Active Cornering Assist.

All variants of the Toyota C-HR received a Five-Star ANCAP rating 2017.

Frugal performance

This is where Toyota perhaps missed a trick – it would be great to see some more ‘GR’ going into the C-HR’s performance.

The C-HR GR Sport retains the same engine as the C-HR Hybrid models – a naturally aspirated 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid, which produces 90kW and 142Nm. This is paired to an e-CVT transmission which powers the front wheels.

The car has actually been lowered by 15mm, and has stiffer suspension, which improves handling but slightly reduces day-to-day usability. The steering has also been tuned to make the C-HR GR Sport feel more athletic.

With it being a hybrid, fuel consumption sits at 4.3L/100km with a CO2 emissions rating of just 99g/km.

Verdict

The C-HR GR Sport is a needed addition to Toyota’s line-up as it keeps the brands sporting DNA alive, and draws further awareness towards the GR sub-brand.

Although it was frustrating not to see a bit more of an overhaul to make this a hot, more performance-focused SUV, let’s not pretend that more of the high-end manufacturers haven’t been adding a performance badge and charging buyers a premium without increasing the horsepower (see Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW).

The C-HR GR Sport remains quirky, efficient and usable, and is priced at only $5,000 more than the entry-level C-HR Hybrid.

At a glance

Model tested

Toyota C-HR GR Sport Hybrid

Engine

1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid

Price

From $42,990 (TDP)

ANCAP safety rating

5 Star

Power

72kW, 142Nm

Transmission

CVT

Fuel economy/CO2

4.3L/100km (Combined), 99g/km

Towing capacity

Not rated

2WD/4WD/AWD

2WD (Front)

Seating capacity

7

Luggage capacity/payload

318L

Safety systems

  • Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Pedestrian and Intersection Turn Assist
  • All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
  • Automatic High Beam
  • Lane Tracing Assist
  • Road Sign Assist
  • Active Cornering Assist
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Seven airbags

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