Head to Head: Toyota C-HR Vs Honda HR-V
What are they like to drive?
Neither of these cars is particularly sprightly, with modest outputs from their very different engines but the same type of lazy transmission, the CVT (you can have a six-speed manual C-HR, but nine out of 10 will be auto).
Despite the slowness of the transmission and the modest outputs of the 1.2-litre turbo, the C-HR is tremendous fun to drive but also rides better than the Honda. The engine is happy to rev and despite just 85kW to its name, moves along reasonably in its lightest form. It gets a bit slower as you pile on the weight with CVT and all-wheel drive, but do you really need all-wheel drive? If you do, prepare to go slower and expect the engine to spend a lot of time in its upper reaches.
The HR-V is front-wheel drive only but with a relatively long wheelbase, also rides really well. The handling isn’t nearly as sharp as the Toyota’s but is tidy and secure enough to keep you out of trouble. The tyres fitted to the lower-spec cars can create a bit of a racket on concrete surfaces – zinging incessantly on a Hume Highway run to Canberra and back – and aren’t brilliant on slippy stuff. Inside it’s very quiet and the 1.8-litre engine is willing enough with 105kW and 172Nm.
The CVT is okay, which is lucky because it’s the sole transmission option and it only drives the front wheels. The lack of choice is no big deal, but worth noting. The view out of the HR-V is cinematic, with clear vision in all directions and somehow Honda has made the front seat feel higher than it really is, which is a good trick.
The C-HR takes out a convincing win here. Its chassis has some real sparkle to it and wants you to have fun. The CR-V takes a more cautious approach (and there’s nothing wrong with that) which is a pity, because Honda does know how to make a car handle.
Another win to the C-HR
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