New dynamic engine for a new Toyota C-HR Dynamic Force

Toyota C-HR Dynamic Force is not the name of a new Power Ranger show, it’s a new engine on a new (almost new) Toyota’s car. First of all, why I have tested an hybrid SUV while, you all know, I’m not a big fan of hybrid car (except the smashing Lexus LC500h) and not crazy about SUVs (except the glorious Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV)? Simply because 184HP.

Honnestly, when Toyota France told me they will offer me to test a 184HP SUV I was surprised and obviously intrigued. It was therefore curiosity that pushed me to open the door of this new car, which seems far from my usual concerns. 

Here is a 1.5 version for the Toyota C-HR hybrid superstar.

Toyota C-HR, what is it?

It all started in 2014 when Toyota presented a furious concept car. The C-HR Concept was a compact, coupé SUV with a futuristic and strong body.

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Toyota C-HR Concept

Thanks to the public reception, Toyota chose to produce it and that’s how a serious competitor to the already famous Nissan Juke and others compact SUV born. Honestly, I remember the day I first saw a Toyota C-HR. It was a beautiful rainy Parisian spring morning, I was crossing the street in front of my house and TADA! Parked nonchalantly: an UFO. The first thought that came to my mind was “what is this thing? “. After, “it’s special, it’s bold but it’s pretty cool”, “they really manage to sell it?”, “C-HR : what does it means?”.

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Toyota C-HR Concept

Now, I can answer. It’s a car, it has pretty cool design and yes they sold it. More than 400,000 C-HRs are already on the roads since 2017 and Toyota is targeting more than 150,000 sales of its new version in 2020! Insane!!

 By the way, C-HR means Coupé High–Rider. High-Rider, isn’t that fascinating?

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Well, well, honesty time: I’ve never touched a C-HR in my life. I can’t compare the existing 1.2L or 1.8L hybrid engines with those renewed for 2020. So, because I’m a hard worker, I’ve made some research about the beast. Frankly, I feel like I did the right thing by never fighting to try the C-HR 2017. Toyota is all excused, it was a first version, like a draft (which has, in any case, found its audience), before proposing something more assertive, more mature and perhaps even more dynamic… Suspense.

What about the Dynamic Force driving pleasure?

The suspense was not very long, since the real novelty is under the hood. However, opening the hood is a little disappointing. It looks like a big computer motherboard. Yeah, I know, most contemporary cars are like that. Anyway, we don’t have a plastic cover on our pre-series version (which is probably why I have this feeling too). Don’t worry, your future Toyota C-HR 2020s will have a splendid matt and rough plastic piece.

Behind the wheel with Jalil Chaouite, everything is like in a regular hybrid car. No noise, the steering wheel is as light as air, a slight slip on the tar and then a discreet whistle disturbs peace and quiet on board. The real difference is felt when you start going faster. In hybrid cars already tried before, such as the Toyota RAV4 or Lexus UX, suddenly, the CVT gearbox goes crazy. In fact, it goes into action in a loud sound that literally tears up the calm inside the car. Not on board the new C-HR Dynamic Force. The new CVT gearbox is much softer and more progressive, it almost gently awakens the internal combustion engine to gradually give more torque to this small SUV. This is truly remarkable, especially since there is also a real concern for sound insulation in the cabin.

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Okay, enough politeness, I put the pedal to the metal and see what really happens. The two electric motors panicked then, they gave it all. Oh, that’s it, I can hear the gearbox and the engine going crazy again. I also feel the front wheels slipping, I see the dashboard blinking, it’s the funny part. The front wheels quickly regain grip in the same time as the internal combustion engine starts blowing. With a weight of 1485 kg and a cumulative power of 184HP (including 152HP available from the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine), this Toyota C-HR Dynamic is not ridiculous. 8.07kg / HP is a good average, to give you an order of comparison the Lexus LC500 h (a sports GT coupe) has a weight/power ratio of 5.6 kg / HP. So there’s nothing to smile all night long, but we still smile when we do some fiery standing starts. I wonder why Toyota didn’t produce a C-HR awd : it could have been the new Toyota C-HR All Wheel Drive Dynamic Force. It would have corrected the lack of grip to pass the power, it would have been a little less fun but would have given an extra feeling of efficiency (despite the weight). Usefull for a Coupé High–Rider.

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Credits Jalil Chaouite

Technical moment: on the road, the engine is pleasant, honestly. In fact, it’s the new Toyota Corolla engine : a new 4-cylinder which combines two types of injection, direct and indirect, and an “Atkinson cycle” design. What is that? Due to the special design of the crankshaft, the expansion ratio is higher than the compression ratio, which improves engine efficiency. I warned you, it’s technical. As a result, this engine achieves a maximum efficiency of 41%, making it the most efficient production gasoline engine in the world. No need to comment on the article, I know you’re impressed. Finally, if you have questions about hybridization and wonder if the Toyota C-HR is a plug in hybrid, the answer is simple. No, like all Toyota cars.

After a little more driving, I must say that the engine / gearbox combination is quite convincing for urban trips. They propel the car at relatively high speeds as soon as your feet get a little heavier, and that without necessarily realizing it. So it’s not a rocket (despite its shape), but the calm on board contrasts quite often with the speed displayed on the speedometer. Except on motorways where the air flow is heard at the window joints. Classic.

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When I start driving on small winding roads, I quickly realize three things. The chassis is not bad despite some rippling movements when the car quickly changes support. The suspensions are firm without being stiff, which is not to displease me. And finally the steering is soft, so soft that I sometimes feel like I’m turning the wheel in a giant yogurt pot. In “sport mode” (and yes they did), the steering is very, very, very, very slightly firmer in the middle, but not at all when the steering wheel has an angle. A little bit of a pity for a car that has to say it’s a dynamic force. It would have deserved something much more communicative in order to make the driver more precise, without losing comfort. Right now, it’s a bit like running a triathlon with a blindfold on. Even if you are prepared and run rather fast, you don’t really know where you’re going to go.

In the city and on the highway, these defects are not really felt. For sure regular customers won’t notice. And I suppose most C-HRs have to make daily trips from city to highway to city. Fair enough.

Toyota C-HR Dynamic Force : badass at first sight

Like in 2016 when I saw the C-HR for the first time, something happens. I don’t think he’s particularly beautiful. I don’t think it’s particularly impressive. But I can’t get my eyes off his body. It sometimes happens when you meet a woman or man, and you don’t know why your eyes follow her or him. You say yourself : “What are you doing? Stop it right now”. But it’s too late, your eyes are making their lives. Well, it’s pretty much the same here. Your eyes are caught by this very angular and sharp hood and then get lost towards the muscular lines of the wings to finally linger on this fleeing roof. Fleeing is an euphemism. This car is carved like a rocket. It almost looks like a Megazord module. Everyone remembers the Megazord, right? It was the giant robot that was assembled with the Power Rangers’ vehicles. In short, the Toyota C-HR Dynamic Force probably responds to a future car vision that children in the 70-90s had (except that it doesn’t fly). Only the rear lights that seem to stick over the bodywork bother me a little. It looks like a toy, maybe it’s done on purpose. The matt black plastic rear underbody is highlighted by fake chromed exhaust pipes. It’s also a little cheap, but the competitors don’t do any better.

About Toyota C-HR design , I still have to admit something. Faced with the C-HR 2020, I can’t find out what is aesthetically changing. You who may know C-HR very well (probably better than I do), you probably fell out of your chair when you are reading me, but let’s play a little game. Below is a series of photos of the old and new C-HR. Take a good look at them. Is it ok? So now find the 7 differences and write them down on a piece of paper. I await your scores in commentary. Good luck guy.

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Before receiving a shower of comments, I know, it’s a lifeting, not a new car. However, Toyota has clearly been cautious.

Onboard the Toyota C-HR Dynamic Force : the legendary efficiency of the Japanese

Despite a refreshing paragraph title, the C-HR is designed and produced in Europe, for Europe. More precisely between France, Belgium (for conception) and Turkey (for production). Inside, the car is sober. Here is the legendary talent of French designers. The dashboard is relatively clean, which is a good point.

The materials used are a shade of plastic cleverly chosen to give an impression of quality. It works very well. A brushed plastic lime imitating metal crosses the dashboard to reach the doors. Elegant. The interior doors are made of a slightly soft grey plastic with a raised diamond pattern. Genius choice. The material catches the light in a very nice way and it’s quite addictive to touch. The rest doesn’t make me wow, although we would have preferred a little softer plastics on the side parts and especially next to the rear seats. Well, by chance, I sat in the back and noticed a difference in treatment between the adults in the front and the poor children who holler and argue in the back.

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Credits Jalil Chaouite

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Behind the steering wheel, we have an SUV-like driving position but not too unpleasant thanks to a wide range of seat adjustments. Everything is relatively convenient at hand, except for an integrated GPS that is still not good. Fortunately you have Apple Car Play and Android Auto integrated to save your life. Well, if you don’t have a teenager or influencer inside already plugged to the car’s UNIQUE USB plug. Otherwise, you’ll have to endure the terrifying Toyota GPS… Wrong, you can still connect with Bluetooth. Thank God. Too late, your battery’s dead. Despite that, the new Toyota C-HR Dynamic has plenty of electronic assistance features that help to sell cars today but we haven’t really used them. Long story short, you have a 2020 car. A real one.

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Finally, if you’re wondering what the trunk looks like, you have some down-to-earth concerns. We definitely need people like you. Thanks to a very large number of requests (false, we had none), I chose to talk about the capacity of the trunk of the cars I’m testing. Knowing that I have no measurement standards except my “wow, it looks so deep” when I open a trunk. So I assumed that my height and weight are relatively constant parameters and I decided to try to get inside. Alright. I’m 1.9m tall and the trunk closes completely with me inside. Without lifting the backboard but within a few millimetres. So it’s not that ridiculous.

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#FunToDrive Score
Toyota C-HR Dynamic Force : 63/100

What’s the real advantage of this new Toyota C-HR 2.0? Its gasoline engine. For once it’s not anemic. It does the job in a rather pleasant gasoline / electric engine torque. The gearbox and suspension also work perfectly with the Dynamic Force spirit. Not really the chassis and not the steering at all.

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Credits Jalil Chaouite

So what’s 184HP in a small SUV? It runs. It runs pretty well. It makes you smile when the torque is too high. But it’s not particularly fun. It totally meets the specifications of a modern everyday car, probably better than most other hybrids, and it will satisfy all those who want a normal car with a “je ne sais quoi” of originality and mechanical dynamism. Perfect for the city, not bad for medium highway trips, not unpleasant on small country roads.

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Toyota C-HR Dynamic Force or could a 184HP small coupe SUV be a fun car?

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