With its futuristic and funky appearance, the Toyota C-HR has no problem standing out from the crowd.

It was one of the vehicles that ushered in a more adventurous design language for Toyota and now - following a facelift - it continues to catch the eye.

As a small family crossover, it already ticked many of the right boxes, but the recent refresh has made it an even more appealing machine.

A new and more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain, several styling tweaks and an improved interior are the highlights of the upgrade.

The petrol-electric engine, which arrived in 2019, feels a perfect match for the vehicle, providing extremely good fuel economy.

Unlike many other hybrid SUVs, the C-HR is not a plug-in vehicle, rather a self-charging hybrid.

That means electric power alone will only take you a short distance, but not needing to charge it enhances its practicality.

After a certain period of time, there's no doubt that the hybrid model calms your driving style as you try to avoid the excessive acceleration or speed that take you out of EV mode.

As you feather the accelerator, the information the vehicle provides about energy use challenges you to drive more economically.

The handling capabilities of the C-HR are superb, inspiring real confidence when cornering.

There’s very little by way of body lean, while grip levels are reassuring.

It's certainly agile enough on twisty roads to offer an element of fun, but its refined manners around town are probably more important in this marketplace.

CVT transmission comes as standard on the hybrid model. It’s not to everyone’s taste and certainly creates a noticeable whining noise under heavy acceleration, but some will consider that it further enhances the car’s ease-of-use.

The appearance of the C-HR has won plaudits over recent years, with its sharp creases and angular lines ensuring it doesn’t fall into the normal SUV trap of looking boxy and generic.

With that in mind, Toyota didn’t change much during the 2019 facelift, with the tweaks including new LED lights front and rear, which included fashionable scrolling indicators. The C-HR was also given a bigger grille at the front, along with some new colour options.

Chunky bumpers and side skirts and a swooping coupe-like roofline make the vehicle look much more sporty and dynamic than many of its rivals.

The interior feels a comfortable place to be, with some nicely-blended improvements to the quality of materials used.

A blue strip, matching the exterior paintwork, runs from the doors, across the dashboard and over the top of the display screen, drawing the key features together and lending the cabin an impressive uniformity.

That cohesive theme carries through to the seats, which are enlivened by blue stitching.

An updated media system still won’t rival the best in class, but it now comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s user-friendly enough, with a crystal clear screen and a row of four buttons on either side controlling functions such as the audio, satnav and phone connectivity.

Another collection of buttons beneath the screen control the heated seats and temperature.

In terms of comfort and space, the front seat occupants will have no problem finding a decent seating position, while there's a good deal of space in the back too - although not as much as some rivals provide.

The sloping roofline doesn't do much for the size of the rear side windows, but my children certainly didn't complain about a lack of space while on the school run and remarked on how they like the car's quirkiness.

In conclusion, it's a car with impressive driving manners, a frugal engine and distinctive looks.

The lowdown

Toyota C-HR Dynamic PRICE: £32,510 ENGINE: 2.0-litre, four cylinder Atkinson Cycle, hybrid TOTAL OUTPUT: 182bhp/135kW TRANSMISSION: Electric CVT PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds and top speed of 112mph INSURANCE GROUP: 22 EMISSIONS: 119G/KM ECONOMY: 49.56 - 54.32mpg