WITH an eye-catching look and hybrid tech to boost fuel economy, the Toyota C-HR is an efficient vehicle with plenty of kerb appeal.

This SUV has always had a striking design, but now it’s been given the GR Sport treatment – meaning it gets some extra aesthetic flourishes, as well as a more sporty suspension set-up.

It’s a vehicle that handles well and is smooth to drive, but lacks a bit of punch when accelerating.

That said, the 2.0-litre hybrid engine in my test car offered considerably more power than the 1.8-litre model, reducing the 0-62mph time to 8.2 seconds.

The hybrid powertrain works well, making for excellent fuel economy of over 50mpg on the official combined cycle.

A small button down to the driver’s left allows you to click onto EV mode, which sees the car running on pure electric at lower speeds. This was useful in stop-start traffic, but the combustion engine tends to kick on at around the 20mph mark, with a message flashing up to say the accelerator has been depressed too far for EV mode.

The Scottish Farmer: The Toyota C-HR pictured in wintry conditions in West Yorkshire

It also comes with continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive.

Much of the C-HR’s personality stems from its appealing look, with its curved bonnet and creased bodywork helping it to stand out from the crowd.

The light signature is immediately eye-catching, with the lights having a long and thin effect, extending round to the side of the front end and running almost the entire length of the bonnet. The latest models also get scrolling indicators.

GR Sport trim brings an even more sporty look, including bespoke 19-inch two-tone alloy wheels, a black roof and darker tint to the headlight lenses, plus sports suspension.

The tweak to set-up is noticeable when driving on the B-roads, with the car handling nicely and feeling well-balanced in the corners.

Inside, you’re greeted by a GR symbol on the digital instrument cluster when you start the engine. Similar badging can be found on the front seats.

The Scottish Farmer: The Toyota C-HR pictured in wintry conditions in West Yorkshire

The sporty seats are comfortable and supportive, with red and silver stitching running through the centre of them.

Plenty of nice materials are to be found dotted around the cabin, with a textured surface on the inside of the doors, some shiny black trim, and a curved leather strip running across the top of the dash, literally adding a layer of sophistication.

The central touchscreen isn’t the best in class, but functions well enough, controlling the satnav, audio and Bluetooth connectivity, while you can also select a function showing the car’s energy flow - a must for today’s economy-minded motorist.

The Scottish Farmer: The Toyota C-HR pictured in wintry conditions in West Yorkshire

A collection of conventional buttons beneath the touchscreen control the air conditioning, allowing you to select auto, dual climate control or fast eco.

Heated front seats are also provided, which proved useful in the recent cold snap.

The eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat allows you to find an ideal driving position, suiting both those who favour a low slung seating position or a higher and more commanding view of the road ahead.

Things get a bit tighter in the back, although you could get three adults in at a squeeze for a short journey. However, a six foot passenger sat behind an equally tall driver would undoubtedly struggle for leg room.

The C-HR hybrid starts at a shade under £30,000 for the Icon version, but that rises to over £36,000 by the time you’ve climbed the trim trail to GR Sport.

With that in mind, tech levels are high, with a raft of features including Smartphone Integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, Toyota Safety Sense and Toyota Smart Connect, which provides real-time map and traffic information, as well as road updates via over-the-air technology.

The Lowdown

Toyota C- HR hybrid GR Sport 

PRICE: £36,050
ENGINE: 2-litre hybrid
ECONOMY: Emissions of 120 g/km and average fuel economy of 53.3mpg
PERFORMANCE: 0-62 mph in 8.2 seconds
TRANSMISSION: CVT and front wheel drive
WARRANTY: Up to 10 years / 100,000 mile