Exploring the 2020 Toyota C-HR: powertrains

No other competitor in its segment can match the 2020 Toyota C-HR in offering customers a choice of two hybrid powertrains.

In this article we will see how the existing 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain has been updated. We will also introduce the new, top-of-the-range 2.0-litre system and explain how it manages to offer more than 50% greater power while consuming only 10% more fuel.

2020 Toyota C-HR powertrains: 1.8-litre hybrid

The 1.8-litre system in the outgoing Toyota C-HR already consisted of the most up-to-date, fourth-generation hybrid architecture. But for 2020 this cutting-edge powertrain has been equipped with a new high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack that is smaller, lighter and yet more powerful than the previous nickel-metal hydride unit. Located entirely beneath the rear seats to avoid any intrusion in the rear load space, it consists of 56 cells and is rated at 207.2 volts.

It is a revision that gives the battery the capacity to absorb and deliver more current. This means we’ve been able to improve the delivery of electric drive power and produce more natural driving characteristics without affecting the car’s excellent economy or emissions.

2020 Toyota C-HR powertrains: 2.0-litre hybrid

This new hybrid system consolidates our latest advances in battery, electric motor and petrol engine technologies into a compact, lightweight and efficient package.

At the heart of the system is a new 2.0-litre internal combustion engine. Every component was designed to be as small and light as possible, without compromising quality.

For instance, the outer wall of the cylinder block is just 2.3mm thick, while reciprocating parts such as the crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons and camshafts are made from special alloys to reduce internal losses. This, in turn, allowed the specification of super-thin 0W16 oil to enhance lubrication and reduce friction. The net result is an engine that weighs just 113kg – almost 20% less than our previous 2.0-litre unit – yet produces 148bhp.

Its thermal efficiency is unsurpassed among mass-produced petrol engines

Efficiency is also noticeable in the combustion process. The engine runs an unusually high compression ratio of 14:1 yet maintains stable combustion through a number of means. First is the adoption of an intake system that creates high air velocity as well as a powerful tumble effect as the air is directed into the combustion chamber. It is charged with fuel both directly and indirectly and compacted into a spherical shape surrounding the spark plug. Ignition is then performed on the efficient Atkinson combustion cycle, which ensures maximum combustion efficiency. This excellent aspiration is further tuned by intelligent, variable valve timing across both the intake and exhaust ports.

In fact, the engine is go good at converting fuel energy into power that it offers a peak thermal efficiency of 41%. This is a figure that is unsurpassed among mass-produced petrol engines; even the 40% thermal efficiency found in the current Prius.

The electric motor can propel the car at motorway speeds of up to 75mph

The nickel-metal hydride hybrid battery in the 2.0-litre system (above) is specified to suit this model’s more powerful electric motor/generators. Its high-density energy pack consists of 180 cells and offers a nominal output of 216 volts, which allows the largest of the motor/generators to deliver 80kW of power (equivalent to 107bhp) and 202Nm of torque. Although bigger than the hybrid battery in the 1.8-litre system, it remains covered by the rear seats and does not intrude into the luggage area.

While the hybrid battery provides the muscle, the fully redesigned Power Control Unit can be described as the heart of the electrical system. Now 33% smaller and 20% more efficient, this multi-purpose device controls the motor/generators. It uses an inverter to boost their output to 650 volts, and also provides a suitable level of direct current for the vehicle’s auxiliary power needs.

Both motor/generators (MG1 and MG2) are housed within a redesigned transaxle (above), together with a single planetary gear and a reduction gear to the final drive. MG1 is primarily used as a generator and converts any surplus energy from the petrol engine into electricity, which is then stored in the hybrid battery. It also serves as the engine’s starter motor. The larger MG2 is the electric drive motor but also reverses itself to regenerate power in braking mode. Its improved output means the motor alone can propel the car at motorway speeds of up to 75mph.

2020 Toyota C-HR powertrains compared

Engine code2ZR-FXEM20A-FXS
Compression13.0 : 114.0 : 1
Max engine power97bhp150bhp
Hybrid batteryLithium-ionNickel-metal hydride
Nominal voltage207.6V216V
Motor/generator output53kW80kW
Max hybrid system power120bhp @ 5,200rpm182bhp @ 6,000rpm
Max speed105mph112mph
Acceleration 0-62mph11.0sec8.2sec
Fuel consumption (WLTP)54.32 – 58.85mpg49.56 – 54.32mpg
CO2 emissions (NEDC / WLTP)86 / 109g/km92 / 119g/km

Read more: Introducing the 2020 Toyota C-HR
Read more: Exploring the 2020 Toyota C-HR design and technology
Read more: Exploring the 2020 Toyota C-HR driving dynamics and safety

For more information on the 2020 Toyota C-HR, or to build your car, click here.


  1. Excellent information, thanks.

    I have a few questions though:

    1) how many kWhs in each battery type
    2) how many miles can be travelled in EV mode (one in the Yaris Hybrid)
    3) what are the 0-31mph figures (was 4 seconds with the Yaris Hybrid)
    4) what are the design decisions that put NIMH in the performance version and Lithium ion in the ‘slower’ version?

    I look forward to a test drive in each version!

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your patience while confirmed this for you with our product team:

      1. The maximum output for 1.8l is 53 KW and for 2.0l is 80 KW.

      2. Our hybrid engines are designed to switch automatically between the petrol engine and electric motor in order to achieve the most efficient drive. As a rough indication, on the average urban journey 50% of the driving time is spent in EV mode.

      3. We use the standardised measure for this which is 0-62. For the 1.8L it reaches 0-62 in 11 seconds and for 2.0L it is 8.2 seconds.

      4. The use of a specific battery type is situation-dependent. Both nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries are available on the new Corolla adopted to each hybrid powertrain. We are using them based on the characteristics of each model, various customer needs and Toyota’s battery supply policy.

      While lithium-ion batteries have great potential for increasing energy density and reducing size and weight, nickel-metal hydride batteries have a proven track record of safety and stable operation.

      For greater improvement of the hybrid powertrains, we hope to promote the development of both battery types. We were able to realize dramatically higher performance and more compact size for both nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries, delivering identical performance levels.


      1. with reference to the reply to mikes question unfortunately you are stating the motor drive output but not the battery size and this is a confusion from toyota sales. on the 2ZR-FXE (1.8) maximum output is stated at 53 kW but the battery size, which was mikes original question, is mentioned as 56 cells , 3,7V per cell and 3.6 Ah (3HR). I am not sure what 3HR means, I am trying to get my head around the numbers but the 3.6 Ah probably per cell is still quite small to get enough range on the car with only battery operation.

      2. Hi yiorgos,
        Thanks for getting in touch.
        As vehicle specifications differ between countries, we would recommend contacting the Toyota distributor in your region for specific statistics relating to this.

  2. With the new two litre engine employing such a lot of new technology over the 1.8 version, I don’t understand why it’s fuel economy and emissions are worse than the older engine. To say it’s producing 50% more power for 10% more fuel is disengenuous since during the economy test both engines will be required to produce the same power output during the test cycle, meaning that the new power train is less efficient than the old one.

    1. Hi Nicholas,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Both the 1.8L and 2.0L engines were developed at the same time for our fourth generation hybrid cars and is only new to the C-HR itself. The 1.8L focuses on efficiency while the 2.0L focuses on speed and power. Therefore, if you are more interested in efficiency, we would recommend the 1.8L C-HR.


  3. I would like a clarification regarding engine oil type. My C-HR is the 2019-2020 facelift 1.8lt hybrid. I should use 0w16 oil only?

  4. What is the best battery charger to use on a toyota chr has Mysteriousy one day I got into my car and the Battey was flat and have so mana charger now and you need the right one

    1. Hi Jeffrey,

      Thanks for getting in touch. While we can’t recommend any specific products, a good quality, low amp, intelligent charger would make sure the battery isn’t overcharged and would supply the right amount of power at the right time.


  5. Hi
    Could I get the speed that the petrol engine kicks in from the e.v. on both models whilst driving conservatively.

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. There isn’t a maximum speed the electric motor needs to reach before switching to the petrol engine as the electric motor and a petrol engine work in tandem. The Hybrid system is capable of adapting to different driving conditions, and controls the power coming from both the motor and engine to tell the car how to combine them for the greatest efficiency and performance.

      EV driving range does factor in speed but also wind resistance, terrain, weight, driving style and much more. Our hybrid models are capable in traveling well over 50 mph in EV mode.

      You can find out more about how our hybrids work, here: https://mag.toyota.co.uk/how-does-toyota-hybrid-synergy-drive-work/


  6. Hi
    I would like to ask you, that what is the 53 kW electric engine max rpm? Or what is the gear ratio between the electric motor and the engine? Thank you for your answer.

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