Should I buy a Honda HR-V Hybrid or Toyota C-HR Hybrid?

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Honda’s new hybridised HR-V finds a competitor in the enduring Toyota C-HR, but which of these two small SUVs presents the better buyer’s choice? We ask the question.

Toyota was once the titan of powertrain hybridisation, but as the rest of the automotive world moves toward electrification, we’re starting to see Toyota challenged. In addition to alternatives such as the Haval H6 Hybrid rivalling the sales-dominant Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, we’re now seeing alternatives in the small SUV space.

Among a host of new changes to the Honda HR-V, the top specification e:HEV L grade is now hybrid. This pairs equally with the Toyota C-HR Hybrid in GR Sport specification.

Both compete strongly on features and included equipment, while stocking frugal powertrains that return consumptions lower than 5.0L/100km.



For this comparison test we’ve paired the Honda HR-V e:HEV L and the Toyota C-HR GR Sport Hybrid. If you’d like to read about those cars in finer detail, here are the links to their reviews: Honda HR-V Hybrid, Toyota C-HR Hybrid.

This comparison will centre around the following questions to determine which of the two is the better buy. How much do the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR cost to buy? Are the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR safe? Do the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR have Apple CarPlay? How much do they cost to own and run? And which one should you buy?

How much does the Honda HR-V Hybrid cost?

With the 2022 Honda HR-V, the Japanese carmaker has made great strides in updating the ageing infotainment system and dated style of its predecessor.



It’s also added a hybrid variant to the model line-up – one of the few options in the segment to do so. But, with all this added equipment, prices are higher than you might expect. The range starts at $36,700 drive-away for the HR-V Vi X. The top-spec HR-V e:HEV L we spent time in costs $45,000 drive-away.

For context, that’s about what you will pay on the road for mid-spec variants of bigger and sometimes more powerful medium-sized SUVs.

Honda national standardised drive-away pricing means there is no haggling or discounting – the price is the price. That may appeal to some buyers chasing a fuss-free purchasing experience.



How much does the Toyota C-HR Hybrid cost?

The C-HR GR Sport certainly looks like it could be a go-faster C-HR. The swooping roof line – finished in contrasting black against the body’s Feverish Red metallic paint – lends it a decidedly sleek profile.

But, rather than engineering an extra skerrick or even two of performance, the ‘GR Sport’ badge signifies only that Toyota’s small SUV has received some sporty-looking cosmetic enhancements.

The price for all this faux-GR-ness is a C-HR range-topping $37,665 plus on-road costs. That top-of-the-range billing – and pricing – is shared with the C-HR Koba hybrid that brings the same 1.8-litre petrol-hybrid engine to the party. The drive-away price-tag for the C-HR GR Sport is $41,621 based on Sydney delivery.



There are equipment differences between the two, however, the Koba aiming for style and sophistication, while the GR Sport heads to the hills on the back of a sporty reputation built by other Toyotas wearing the ‘GR’ badging.

Key details2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport
Price (MSRP)$45,000 drive-away$37,665 plus on-road costs
Colour of test carMeteoroid Grey metallicFeverish Red / Black Roof
OptionsNoneMetallic two-tone paint – $1350
Price as tested$45,000 drive-away$39,015

How big is the Honda HR-V Hybrid?

We’ve come to expect a thoughtfully designed and roomy cabin from the Honda HR-Vs of old. With the 2022 HR-V we are not disappointed – both these experiences have been translated over to the new-generation car, which makes for a nice cabin ambience and pleasing overall lift in presentation.

It’s one of the few small SUVs that focuses strongly on passenger comfort and practical prowess, with ingenious details like the Magic Seats and an ergonomic cabin layout. The metallic doorhandles feel much more upmarket than they should, and the switchgear and dials look and feel premium too.



Some features I came to appreciate in the e:HEV variant – over and above the entry-level specification – include its heated seats, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming rear-vision mirror, power tailgate, and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

It’s great to see the Honda E’s next-generation infotainment design spreading across the wider Honda range as well. I’ll go into more detail about the system in the next section.

Driver space is good, making for a comfortable, cosy place to spend time, and everything is conveniently placed within the driver’s reach. There is not a huge amount of space for the legs of taller drivers, which becomes apparent when you slide in underneath the steering wheel and into the seat. But once ensconced, there are no huge complaints.

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Storage in the first row is plentiful, with a sizeable cubby in front of the gearshifter and a secret little slot above that too. It is odd to not find a wireless phone charger in one of those spots in this high-spec model.

The door pockets contain a good amount of room for drink bottles, but the plastic moulding feels of a lower quality compared to the rest of the cabin’s upmarket materials. The plastic of the centre console appears similarly average.

The second row is accommodating for adults partly because of the HR-V’s longer wheelbase and also because Honda has only provided two seats in the second row. At first it might seem the lack of middle seating is an omission given this car’s otherwise spacious cabin, but actually, there is a reason, albeit an unusual one.

Given most occasions will only see two passengers at most in the second row of a small SUV, this isn’t a huge slip-up, but buyers will have to gauge for themselves whether it’s a negative.

There is plenty of legroom and headroom for taller people, while the Magic Seats can fold in all manner of ways to accommodate cumbersome items.

That extra available space is welcome because the HR-V’s boot isn’t big for the class – it is rated at 304L with the seats up.



How big is the Toyota C-HR Hybrid?

The exterior styling treatment of the GR Sport carries through to the interior, where there are plenty of reminders that you’ve bought into the, if not performance, then certainly the aesthetic of Toyota’s sporting division.

There’s a smattering of GR emblems – seat backs, start button – as well as some interesting textures used throughout, such as the weave on the door cards, called a “door garnish” in Toyota-speak. Soft-touch materials abound, lending the C-HR an overall air of plushness.

Storage amenities up front include the obligatory pair of cupholders, door pockets capable of swallowing bottles, and a small cubby ahead of the gear lever ideal for phones and the like. A central storage bin is good for wallets and smaller items and comes fitted with a padded lid. The seats are finished in faux leather and suede-like material, and they look and feel premium but more importantly comfortable.

Toyota has done well to stick with switches and buttons for the dual-zone climate control. They’re easily identified and easier still to use on the fly, which is not always the case in today’s new cars.

But, while the front row oozes with, well, a hint of sportiness, the second row is symptomatic of the C-HR’s positioning in life. And it starts with the exterior door handles that are positioned high and flush on the rear doors. My seven-year-old was bamboozled, unable to find them in all their colour-matched, inset obtuseness, nor could she properly reach them, prompting the rejoinder, “stupid door handles, dad”.

She wasn’t thrilled with the amount of space in the back either, nor the gloomy atmosphere thanks partially to the black headlining married to the black materials throughout, and partially to the high upward kink in the window-line that eats into available glassware and blocks visibility – critical features for a small human likely to spend the most time in the second row.



There’s no armrest with cupholders back there either, nor any air vents, or a USB socket for charging devices. Make no mistake, this is a two-person car that happens to be equipped with seating for four. A small family lugger, this ain’t.

Boot space is on the small side, too, measuring just 318L, in the unlikely event some small people are occupying the second row.

A space-saver spare lives under the boot floor.

2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport
SeatsFourFive
Boot volume304L seats up, 1274L seats folded318L seats up, N/A seats folded
Length4335mm4395mm
Width1790mm1795mm
Height1590mm1550mm
Wheelbase2610mm2640mm

Does the Honda HR-V Hybrid have Apple CarPlay?

A new infotainment system made its Australian debut on the current-generation Honda Civic and is employed in this HR-V. It’s a great system dominated by a simple home screen with easily viewed tiles. Shortcuts along the bottom of the 9.0-inch touchscreen allow you to easily skip between the functions.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto are present, or you can make do with the system’s own functionality with things like digital radio and native satellite navigation.

Graphics and displays show in an appealing fashion, while navigation throughout the various menu systems is responsive and intuitive.



Does the Toyota C-HR Hybrid have Apple CarPlay?

Toyota was late to the smartphone mirroring party, but we’re glad it did finally join the celebrations a year or two back, primarily because Toyota’s native system looks and feels very old. That’s not to say it isn’t functional, because it is. But everything from the inbuilt satellite navigation to the different menu screens looks old hat with ageing graphics and fonts that wouldn’t look out of place in 1985.

Luckily wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on hand to mitigate, bringing a touch of modernity and user-friendliness to the game.

Still, Toyota’s native operating system features the usual accompaniments such as digital radio and satellite navigation, while a six-speaker sound system is adequate. Where the system does score a big tick is in Toyota’s insistence on keeping physical shortcut buttons used to access the various screens and menus. It’s a welcome inclusion in an age where buttons and switches are disappearing faster than a politician’s integrity.

Is the Honda HR-V Hybrid safe?

Standard active safety kit across the range includes items such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, and autonomous emergency braking. This equipment comes as part of the branded Honda Sensing safety suite.

Specific to the e:HEV L model grade are additions such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The HR-V comes with front, side, and full-length curtain airbags.



No ANCAP safety rating is listed for the Honda HR-V. The comparable Euro NCAP test returned a four-star result; however, official results for the Australian market are yet to be published.

Is the Toyota C-HR Hybrid safe?

The Toyota C-HR wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating awarded in 2017. Crash testing earned the C-HR an 87 per cent score for adult occupant protection, 77 per cent for child occupant, 65 per cent for pedestrians, and 68 per cent for its safety assistance system.

The entire C-HR range is equipped with a comprehensive suite of modern safety assistance systems including autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and front and rear parking sensors.

Seven airbags cover both rows of occupants, while those looking to carry kidlets in the second-row gulag are served by a pair of ISOFIX mounts on the outboard seats and three top-tether anchors on the seatbacks.

At a glance2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport
ANCAP rating & year testedUnratedFive stars (tested 2017)
Safety reportN/AANCAP report

How much does the Honda HR-V Hybrid cost to own?

The price tag has headed north for the current-generation Honda HR-V, pushing it as a pricey small SUV option against rivals such as the new Kia Seltos GT-Line Limited Edition ($41,690 drive-away in Sydney), Ford Puma ST-Line ($40,045 drive-away), Hyundai Kona Highlander ($42,267 drive-away), and Skoda Kamiq Signature ($42,990 drive-away).

On the plus side running costs are kept to a minimum – some of the most affordable on the market, even. Each of the first five services costs a low $125 and must be completed every 12 months or 10,000km.



As well, Honda throws in a five-year warranty (with unlimited kilometres) and a five-year premium roadside assistance plan. We searched for an insurance quote at the RACV’s website for the HR-V e:HEV L based on a 35-year-old Melbourne man with a clean driving record and received a $1390 quote.

Honda has improved the fuel efficiency of the new HR-V over its predecessor. A fuel efficiency of 4.3L/100km compares with 6.7L/100km of the old model. It need only be filled with 91-octane petrol, which should keep running costs low.

Few other hybrids are offered in the small SUV category, though the Toyota C-HR is a comparable hybrid that uses an identical 4.3L/100km of fuel. On actual tests, our time with a hybrid C-HR returned a 5.1L/100km rating, which is higher than what we got with the HR-V e:HEV L (4.7L/100km) this time around.

How much does the Toyota C-HR Hybrid cost to own?

The Toyota C-HR GR Sport at $37,665 is a lot of money for a ‘Sport’ that actually doesn’t offer a lift in performance. You do score some nice aesthetic touches that help your C-HR stand out from regular painting-by-numbers small SUVs. But, is it enough to warrant a second look?

While there’s no performance boost, the C-HR does have a hybrid powertrain-sized card up its stylish sleeve. And that translates to efficiencies at the petrol bowser.

Toyota reckons the C-HR GR Sport will get by on 4.3L/100km of regular 91-octane unleaded. While we couldn’t match that lofty ideal, our week spent treating it as a typical buyer would – commuting, shopping, school run, and a long highway cruise – saw an indicated 5.1L/100km, which is bang on other hybrid-shod Toyotas we’ve driven.



Another weapon in Toyota’s arsenal is servicing costs, the Japanese brand asking for a flat $220 per visit to the workshop for the first five years/75,000km of ownership. Not many brands can match that, aside from Honda.

Services are required every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first, while Toyota covers the C-HR with its standard five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Additionally, Toyota will now extend the driveline and engine warranty for a further two years, for a total of seven, if serviced according to logbook schedules at a Toyota dealership.

Compared with the Honda HR-V’s $1390 quote, our quote for the C-HR GR Sport is $1075 based on the same data.

At a glance2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport
WarrantyFive years, unlimited kmFive years, unlimited km
Service intervals12 months or 10,000km12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs$375 (3 years), $625 (5 years)$660 (3 years), $1100 (5 years)
Fuel cons. (claimed)4.3L/100km4.3L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test)4.7L/100km5.1L/100km
Fuel type91-octane Regular Unleaded91-octane Regular Unleaded
Fuel tank size40L43L

What is the Honda HR-V Hybrid like to drive?

Tapping the public’s thirst for hybridised models, our top-spec Honda HR-V is powered by a new 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that has 96kW and 253Nm. While these numbers are down on the outgoing HR-V, fuel consumption is a much more frugal 4.3L/100km combined (Honda’s claim) compared to before. On test in a mainly urban environment, we managed 4.7L/100km.

In terms of how the HR-V performs on-road, there is a willingness to use that power, but it can feel a bit underpowered in high-demand situations like overtaking. This may not be ideal for rural buyers, but city drivers will rarely notice a lack of power.

The continuously variable transmission paired to the powertrain is responsive to throttle prods and changing speeds, and doesn’t exhibit that typical CVT annoyance of being overly droney or loud. 



The driving position is comfortable and provides decent all-round visibility, which helps when manoeuvring the car around suburban streets. The light, direct steering feel is welcome in a small SUV, which makes it an entertaining thing to zip around in, and even impresses when sniffing out a set of twisty roads.

A small array of drive modes are available, such as Econ, which prioritises the hybrid powertrain to run the car in electric mode for a short amount of time, or you can lean more heavily on the petrol engine in Sport mode. If left in Normal, the HR-V does a good job of shifting between power sources without fussing the driver, and you can even get up to cruising speeds using electricity (and a light throttle pressure).

The car remains mostly quiet when running around the city, though there is some road noise on the coarser-chip bitumen typical of country B-roads.

Ride quality is a highlight of the HR-V, with a compliant and soft suspension tune that commendably shields people inside the cabin from large bumps and small undulations. It’s an impressively well-controlled suspension system for a small SUV.

I am not a fan of the Honda’s adaptive cruise-control technology, which brakes fairly aggressively to maintain a minimum distance to the car in front, and struggles at times to latch onto the right car.

Should I buy a Honda HR-V Hybrid or Toyota C-HR Hybrid?-0

What is the Toyota C-HR Hybrid like to drive?

Any sporting aspirations you might have for the Toyota C-HR GR Sport are soon dispelled the moment you press the ‘GR Sport’ branded starter button. There’s no engine sound, no rumbling of exhaust, merely a light electric hum and an electronic beep to signal that you have in fact started the C-HR. It’s a hybrid, after all.



A bit about the drivetrain. Under the bonnet lives Toyota’s 1.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol hybrid engine. Power outputs depend on the source of motivation. In electric-only mode, there’s 53kW under foot. That jumps to 72kW if the sole source of power is the petrol engine. But, combine both sources of energy and the little C-HR is good for 90kW. Torque is rated at 142Nm from the petrol engine, or 163Nm from the electric side, but Toyota doesn’t provide a combined figure.

Drive is sent to the front wheels (there’s no AWD C-HR GR Sport) via a continuously variable transmission with seven pre-set ‘ratios’.

It’s a not exactly thrilling combination, but neither is it cumbersome. Moving away from standstill is quiet and predictable, and under what we would deem ‘normal’ driving conditions, done purely on electrons until around 40km/h. Only then does the 1.8-litre petrol engine kick in.

And, as we’ve come to expect from Toyota, which pioneered hybrid technology, the transition between the two sources of power is seamless. The petrol engine remains quiet, too, meaning the cabin ambience remains unflustered and quiet.

There’s enough punch under harder throttle to get the C-HR up to highway speeds easily and with minimal fuss. There’s an urgent note from under the bonnet, but it – mostly – matches up to acceleration that is, while not exactly swift, brisk enough for most situations.

The CVT automatic transmission does a nice job, too, of modulating engine revs and speed with none of the tell-tale drone and slurriness CVTs of old built their reputations on. The one in the C-HR is a good ‘un.

Commendable, too, is the C-HR’s suspension tune that does a decent job of ironing out kinks and bumps, whether on the motorway or around the choppy suburban roads we’ve become accustomed to in Australia. It remains decently quiet and unflustered in the cabin. And that’s despite sitting on those shiny smoked-chrome 19-inch alloys.

We loved the light steering, too, and the way the C-HR handled corners with minimal body roll. Sitting on a slightly lower suspension over regular C-HRs helps here, as does the chassis brace.

The C-HR likes to police your driving style, featuring a little display that tells you how much of your drive has been completed in pure-electric mode. Around town, we saw returns of between 60 to 85 per cent depending on traffic conditions.

That figure drops to below 50 per cent when a decent highway loop is thrown in. Those 100km/h cruising speeds are not a friend of electrified powertrains, although it will help with energy regenerating, topping up the battery really quickly and effectively.

Key details2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport
Engine1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol-hybrid1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power78kW @ 6400rpm petrol

96kW @ 4000–8000rpm combined
72kW @ 5200rpm petrol

53kW electric

90kW combined
Torque131Nm @ 3500rpm petrol

253Nm @ 0–3500rpm combined
142Nm @ 3599rpm petrol

163Nm electric
Drive typeFront-wheel driveFront-wheel drive
TransmissionCVT automaticCVT automatic
Power to weight ratio69kW/t62.7kW/t
Weight1382kg1435kg
Should I buy a Honda HR-V Hybrid or Toyota C-HR Hybrid?-0

Should I buy the Honda HR-V or Toyota RAV4?

These two hybrid small SUVs both present strong arguments based on all-out equipment, style, functionality, and powertrains, so we’ll break them down by section by section.

Starting at the cabin, spend time in both interiors and it’s not long before a winner is found in the Honda HR-V. Presentation-wise the Toyota goes for sporty, the HR-V goes for an outright premium feel. While both spaces look nice and are easy to use, the Honda clinches this category thanks to its larger-feeling cabin. There’s a heap more room in the second row, and there is more practicality packed into the boot too.

Honda again takes out the infotainment stakes, with a larger screen that presents nicer graphics than the Toyota, and wireless functionality for Apple CarPlay. The Toyota’s commendably has handy physical shortcut buttons straddling the display, though it’s not enough to overcome the suave new system of the Honda.

Toyota claws back a win in the area of safety thanks to a proper five-star score from ANCAP and a full suite of safety gear available from the entry-level variants. You must go to the top-spec e:HEV L grade of the HR-V to get items such as rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.

Both cars put up a respectable fight when it comes to value. The HR-V gets dirt-cheap servicing costs which catch the eye, but compared to the C-HR its insurance quote is eye-wateringly expensive and its purchase price is a few thousand dollars more, on the road, than what the Toyota will cost. It’s not exactly like the Toyota blows the budget out on running costs either – it’s just under $100 more expensive to service every year.

The competition is still tight once you get each car on the road. Driving the HR-V you do get marginally higher outputs than the C-HR, but both feel lethargic in practice. At the least, each is quiet and comfortable, while both switch between petrol and electric power seamlessly. Ride comfort is a standout quality of both vehicles.

When both these cars’ merits are laid out on a table, it’s as though the Honda HR-V presents as a better product thanks to its newer interior, techy infotainment, and cabin space advantage. But you do pay a significant whack more for the experience, with the $45,000 drive-away price comparing poorly to the Toyota’s $41,621 drive-away cost (Sydney delivery).

If you’re happy to pay the extra premium for the benefits, the Honda HR-V e:HEV L is a nice option. But, on our experience, the Toyota C-HR GR Sport is still a very polished product for its more affordable price-tag.

Should I buy a Honda HR-V Hybrid or Toyota C-HR Hybrid?-0

CarIcon

Doors & Seats

EngineIcon

Engine

EnginePowerIcon

Power & Torque

TransmissionIcon

Transmission

DrivetrainIcon

Drivetrain

FuelIcon

Fuel

WarrantyIcon

Warranty

AncapSafetyIcon

Safety

2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon

Doors & Seats

5 Doors, 4 Seats

Power & Torque

78 kW, 131 Nm

Transmission

1 Speed, Auto (CVT)

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive

Fuel

Petrol (91), 4.3L/100KM

Compare All SpecsLinkIcon

Should I buy a Honda HR-V Hybrid or Toyota C-HR Hybrid?-0

Overall Ratings

Drive’s Pick

2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon

7.8/ 10

7.8/ 10

2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon

7.8/ 10

7.8/ 10

Ratings Breakdown

Performance
2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon
2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon
Ride Quality
2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon
2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon
Handling & Dynamics
2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon
2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon
Driver Technology
2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon
2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon
Interior Comfort + Packaging
2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon
2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon
Safety
2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon
2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon
Infotainment & Connectivity
2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon
2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon
Fuel Efficiency
2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon
2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon
Value
2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon
2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon
Fit for Purpose
2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV L Wagon
2022 Toyota C-HR GR Sport Wagon

Tom Fraser

Tom started out in the automotive industry by exploiting his photographic skills but quickly learned that journalists got the better end of the deal. He began with CarAdvice in 2014, left in 2017 to join Bauer Media titles including Wheels and WhichCar and subsequently returned to CarAdvice in early 2021 during its transition to Drive. As part of the Drive content team, Tom covers automotive news, car reviews, advice, and holds a special interest in long-form feature stories. He understands that every car buyer is unique and has varying requirements when it comes to buying a new car, but equally, there’s also a loyal subset of Drive audience that loves entertaining enthusiast content. Tom holds a deep respect for all things automotive no matter the model, priding himself on noticing the subtle things that make each car tick. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t learn something new in an everchanging industry, which is then imparted to the Drive reader base.

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