2018 C-HR New Car Test Drive
A totally new vehicle, the 2018 Toyota C-HR stands apart from other small crossover utilities with trendy looks and a high-riding stance.
C-HR stands for Coupe, High Riding. Conceived for Toyota's youth-oriented Scion brand, which disappeared during 2016, it looks smaller than its dimensions suggest. Indisputably, the C-HR is one of the most audacious new models in recent memory, especially startling because it comes from a manufacturer long known for conservative products.
Although all-wheel drive is unavailable, Toyota calls the C-HR a crossover. We see it more as a small five-door hatchback that's taller than most. That translates to a higher seating position.
Visually intricate yet enticing, the C-HR's exterior is its most notable feature by far. Inside, the C-HR looks interesting enough, but mainly functional. Performance, in contrast, is sluggish.
Only two trim levels are offered: XLE and XLE Premium.
In each C-HR, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque, coupled to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is the sole configuration.
Three drive modes are available: normal, fuel-efficient Eco, and Sport. The latter re-programs the CVT to provide seven simulated gear ratios. Steering gets a tad firmer, too.
Manufactured in Turkey, the C-HR competes against the joyful Mazda CX-3, fuel-efficient Honda HR-V, and comparably conspicuous Nissan Juke. All-wheel drive is available on those models.
Ten airbags and a rearview camera are standard along with the Toyota Safety Sense-P group of active-safety features. They include forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.
A lockout for the touchscreen blocks functions that cannot be used unless the vehicle is stationary. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard with XLE Premium trim.
Visibility to the rear side is constricted. Back-seat headrests don't block much of the view through the sharply-angled rear window, but it's limited nonetheless. Thick pillars don't help.
Toyota C-HR XLE ($22,500) has fabric seat upholstery, power windows/locks, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, 7.0-inch touchscreen audio, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cargo cover, and rearview camera. Power mirrors contain turn-signal indicators. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
C-HR XLE Premium ($24,350) adds blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, heated front seats, pushbutton start, foglamps, and puddle lights.