AutosToyota unveils revamped Prius and C-HR with cutting-edge design

Toyota unveils revamped Prius and C‑HR with cutting-edge design

Toyota C-HR and Prius in new editions
Toyota C-HR and Prius in new editions
Images source: © Money | Marcin Walków

7:12 AM EDT, May 26, 2024

Toyota Prius and C-HR are two pioneering models of this brand. They have reached new incarnations, moving a step forward in design while focusing strongly on their primary goal: fuel efficiency. However, this comes at a price.

The C-HR was Toyota's response to the Nissan Juke, which paved the way for a new segment: urban crossovers. It appeared on the market in 2016. From the beginning, it was a highly futuristic car, somewhat controversial in terms of design. On the other hand, the Toyota Prius has a different story. It debuted in 1996 and was the first hybrid that defined the brand's future.

Their next generations prove that neither the C-HR nor the Prius will be retiring anytime soon. Despite the Japanese brand's broader portfolio today, both models still hold strong positions. Toyota has sold 840,000 units of the C-HR in Europe alone, and the Prius has become iconic in the world of taxi drivers.

new Toyota Prius and C-HR: appearance and first impression

The Toyota C-HR and Prius exemplify how designers learn from their mistakes. The Prius was never particularly handsome, but its latest generation is hard to fault from a design perspective. It is streamlined, dynamic in appearance, and even has a touch of elegance. The interior is spacious, featuring somewhat hard materials but looking quite decent overall.

The Toyota C-HR has also received a visual upgrade. It still has an avant-garde look but is now more cohesive with balanced proportions. The body is about 1 inch shorter, which has not reduced the wheelbase, and about 0.6 inches wider. The two-tone body adds a sense of slimness, visually shortening the rear doors and making them appear lighter. The body shows clear inspirations from the Toyota Yaris Cross and the new Prius, particularly in the shape of the front headlights.

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Both models have completely redesigned front and rear fascias compared to their previous generations. The front and rear lights are very slim, leaving plenty of smooth surfaces. Though the air intakes are sizable in the C-HR, they do not dominate its design. New features in the C-HR include a panoramic glass roof and ambient lighting in 64 colors.

Visually, both models have exchanged a minor detail. The rear door handle, once hidden in the C-pillar of the C-HR, is now a feature of the new Prius. From a distance, this might give the impression of a coupe designed by Italian designers.

The interiors of both models have also evolved. The Prius retains a somewhat eccentric style, but everything is in its place. The steering wheel is low, and the gauges are mounted above it in the form of a display. There are plenty of buttons on the steering wheel and a large "tablet" in the center of the dashboard. Numerous compartments, large and small, are available for phones and small items. The cup holders are large and deep. The interior is ergonomic and spacious but not particularly interesting or pretty.

The seats are comfortable, suitable for both city driving and longer trips. The downside of the Prius is its poor cabin soundproofing, which is not very noticeable at speeds up to 60-70 mph. The trunk is fairly flat (due to the sharply sloping roofline) but spacious enough to hold four carry-on suitcases without any problems.

The interior of the Toyota C-HR is more "classic" and clearly driver-oriented. The multimedia tablet in the center of the dashboard has been redesigned, digital gauges have been added, along with some compartments. The premier version features characteristic yellow-gold stitching in the leather upholstery.

The second row no longer feels claustrophobic as in previous Toyota C-HRs. The window shapes have been changed and positioned lower, making the cabin visually more pleasant. There is a decent amount of legroom, though not overly generous. The trunk is not very large. Choosing additional options, such as branded audio, takes up some space, potentially leaving only about 11 cubic feet. The base version of the C-HR offers a decent 14 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat.

Toyota C-HR and Prius: engine, performance, and economy

The Prius was never meant to impress with looks or even comfort but with low fuel consumption. That's why it has become one of the favorite models of taxi drivers, especially after installing LPG in a classic hybrid. The new generation is available in our market only as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in its fifth generation. The electric motor takes center stage with 163 HP and 153 lb-ft of torque available from the start. Additionally, it has batteries with a capacity of 13 kWh. A calm pace and urban conditions allow you to travel without fuel consumption for up to 43-50 miles. Solar panels on the roof, in the top equipment version, can add a few extra miles a day.

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Charging is done using a regular 230V outlet, as the Toyota Prius supports a maximum of 3.3 kW, so it doesn't make sense to connect it to paid AC 11 kW or faster chargers.

The fuel tank can hold 10.6 gallons of gasoline. When the battery energy is completely used up, the plug-in Prius becomes a classic hybrid. The electric motor will still default to turning on and taking over in traffic jams. The four cylinders in a 2-liter engine with 151 HP can also be counted on. The Prius accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds. In the city, with depleted batteries, you can expect about 52 mpg, similarly on the highway. On the freeway, about 36-38 mpg. I traveled to and from Krakow with a result of 43-45 mpg.

The fifth-generation hybrid system is also found in the Toyota C-HR. This model has also gained all-wheel drive AWD-i, thanks to the second electric motor with 41 HP and 62 lb-ft of torque mounted on the rear axle.

The more powerful engine variant of the new Toyota C-HR offers 197 HP of system power and 152 lb-ft of torque in a 2-liter four-cylinder unit. The combustion engine, like in the Prius, is 152 HP and 140 lb-ft, while the two electric motors together provide 113 HP.

The C-HR can accelerate up to 112 mph, reaching the first "hundred" in about 8 seconds. However, Japanese engineers prioritized low fuel consumption and maximizing the electric motor's use, which can work for more than 70 percent of the city's driving time. Fuel consumption averages about 47 mpg of gasoline per 62 miles. In city traffic jams, consumption can drop to a bit over 3 liters per 100 km (about 34 mpg), and on a quiet journey, a bit above 4 liters per 100 km (about 47 mpg).

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