Coupe High-Rider is what the acronym stands for, I am told by Freeway Toyota, who are showcasing the new Toyota C-HR to me today, their excitement palpable. It is a unique SUV crossover launched by Toyota to add a dash of zest and spice to the market, and from the looks of it, the vehicle is all that and more.

With a daring and overtly sporty styled body, the C-HR is a breath of fresh air in this particular market segment. It has a funky, playful design that resonates with the adventurous side of me, and I find the angular lines and styling reminiscent of a brightly shining diamond, alluring and incredibly remarkable. It also doesn’t stop there – much to my delight, the interior is similarly (if not more) fantastic, with soft-touch finishes, a gorgeous dashboard that feels as though it wraps around you, and tastefully laid out features and accessories. There seems to be an underlying nod to my sentiment of the diamond-like styling, with diamond shapes inlaid at the door, roof lining and map lights which I find to be attractive and quirky at the same time.

The seats are comfortable and supportive, and I sit high-up and enveloped in luxury – with ample space for my legs and sufficient headroom for the tallest of passengers, the cabin seems perfectly catered to my needs. With the whole nine yards of features (Bluetooth, USB, Touchscreen, multifunction steering that conveniently also telescopes to your perfect height) set in a magnificently trendy dashboard, I feel set to take on the urban jungle.

The drive feels immediately light and responsive at start up and take off, and although there isn’t an immediate surge of power, it revs nicely and eagerly builds up to speed in response to my urging.  Lovely smooth gear shifts make it marvellously sweet to drive, with a great sense of gravity holding it to the road. Acceleration and manoeuvring are great fun, I must honestly say, with instant responses and awesome grip as I round corners. There is almost no body roll (which I love in a vehicle that I would transport my family in) and the C-HR impresses on the highway, and in stop-go traffic as well – the C-HR gives the impression that it is perfectly comfortable being the centre of attention, and has the goods to back it up (and this utterly delights me).

The team at Freeway Toyota tell me that the C-HR performs really well in terms of fuel economy too, and as the wild card that Toyota have now thrown onto the table, the C-HR seems set to be a game-changer: it is a bold, innovative foray into the market – with style and out-there design that we have never seen from Toyota before – and with the classic Toyota benefits of reliability, service and quality, the C-HR is well on its way to the top.

By Desh Pillay Bechan