2018 Toyota C-HR

After starting from afar as other automakers profited from the subcompact SUV market segment, Toyota has finally entered the segment with an all-new model christened “Toyota  C-HR”. It was first presented to the public as a 2017 model for the European and some other markets, while the US market carries the 2018 mark. The C-HR is based on the automaker’s new midsized global platform, the same platform that underpins the new Prius and Camry models. Actually, the model was meant for the discontinued Scion brand but now Toyota plans to position it below the RAV4.  The 2018 Toyota C-HR is available in two trims, the base XLE and XLE Premium. The C-HR is largely targeted to young buyers who are looking for a car that has an expressive design.

2018 Toyota C-HR

2018 Toyota C-HR Exterior

As said above, the C-HR best selling point is its expressive design which is enhanced by its high-riding height.  At the front, the C-HR features the familiar Toyota design language similar to the new Camry and Corolla models. However, the parts are mounted with an interesting twist that makes the model look a little wild. The model’s headlights clusters stretch down the front of the model’s robust fenders.

On the sides, the 2018 Toyota C-HR features heated and power adjusted side mirrors and rides on a set of 18-inch wheels. The rear looks wilder with a roof extension that seems to float over the rear glass. Taillights, on the other hand, stretch outwards from the body.  The model is available in a number of color options. However, choosing regular colors like silver or gray makes the model look normal and you can zoom past the street without many stares but if you want to stand out, opt for the R-Code treatment that adds a different paint color for the roof such as white.

Almost every exterior feature is outrageous in an attempt to appeal to youthful buyers.

Size-wise, the C-HR stretches 171 inches long, a whole 9 inches shorter than the RAV4. Its wheelbase on the other hand at 104 inches is just 2 inches narrower than that of the RAV4.

Interior

The C-HR has a simple and minimalistic dashboard design. The cabin is basically designed to offer a high level of functionality devoid of any fancy trimmings. The C-HR can accommodate five passengers on its seats which are upholstered in a quality cloth. The front seats are 6-way manually adjustable while the rear seats have a 60/40 split-folding capability. There is an option for an 8-way manually adjustable seat with lumbar support for the driver and heating on the two front seats.  The rear seats come with a couple sets of LATCH seat connectors.

A leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard.

The cabin space is rather constrained, particularly for the rear passengers.  Legroom is particularly constrained at the rear. Although headroom is sufficient for real passengers, outward visibility is constrained by rear windows which are pushed towards the front.

With seats in place, the C-HR has 19 cubic feet of cargo room which expands to 36.4 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded flat.

In terms of technologies, the C-HR comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, a USB port, HD radio, Bluetooth connectivity as well as voice recognition. A proximity key and a push-button start are optional. A 4.2-inch screen is mounted between the gauges in the gauge cluster to display important information for the driver. However, Toyota failed to equip the model with Smartphone integration technologies like Android Auto or Apple CarPlay which most of its rivals offer as standard features.

I don’t understand why Toyota decided to leave out a premium sound system considering the fact that it is the young generation that mostly loves high-output audio systems in their cars. Toyota offers an ordinary 6-speaker system that doesn’t even have a subwoofer.

Toyota, however, offers the TSS-P suite of safety technologies as standard; the suite features automatic high beams, active cruise-control, lane-departure warning supported by steering assist and a pre-collision warning system supported by pedestrian detection. The C-HR beats most of its rivals in this area as many don’t offer similar technologies even as options.

Engine and performance

Only a single engine option is offered for the 2018 Toyota C-HR. The unit is an inline-4 with a displacement of 2.0 liters. The engine produces 144 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque.  As with the outgoing model, the 2018 Toyota C-HR will be available in front-wheel-drive only without even an option for AWD.

Power is channeled to the two wheels via a CVT system with a manual mode. The C-HR is however impressive in terms of fuel economy ratings as the engine returns 31 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg on city drives. The C-HR is quite slow needing a whole 11 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 mph.

Price and release date

The base 2018 C-HR XLE carries an MSRP of $23,460 inclusive of a $960 destination fee. The XLE Premium goes for $25,310.

Competition

The C-HR competes with the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Jeep Compass and  Kia Stonic.

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