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2018 Toyota C-HR
Coupe High-Rider Review
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
My wife’s comment about the color-combo on the Radiant Green and Iceberg white C-HR wasn’t that good so I won’t mention it here.
Prior to that I had already said to myself that observers on the street are probably wondering what a guy like me (not a twenty-something) is doing driving a car like this.
Toyota positions the C-HR as a subcompact SUV. It’s more of a 5-door hatchback that sits up tall. Notwithstanding what we call it, I will agree that the C-HR is somewhat of a head-turner with its bold styling.
First shown in 2014 at the Paris Motor Show, and originally planned to be a Scion, the 2018 Toyota C-HR went on sale in the U.S. in April 2017. The C-HR is available in two trims--XLE priced at $22,500 and XLE Premium priced at $24,350. I was initially a bit surprised at the pricing which appeared to be a really good value.
On the practical side, the C-HR has seats for five and under the rear hatch there is a 19 cu.ft. cargo space that can be increased to 36.4 cu.ft. with the 60/40-split second row folded. On the outside it’s only 171.2 inches long that makes it pretty big-city friendly when it comes to maneuvering and parking.
There’s a 144-HP 2.0-L DOHC 4-cylinder driving the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). I’m not a big fan of CVTs with the way the engine has to operate at a higher, constant RPM that can tend to drone a bit in the cabin. But, that’s the way of the world today. To some folks it may be perfectly fine. The engine/trans combo does get the job done, but barely,
There are sport and eco modes and I got a kick out of the G-force monitor in the instrument cluster center.
I should point out, lest you wonder, all-wheel drive is not offered. Do you need it? Well maybe not. Does an SUV need AWD to be considered an SUV? Toyota says the C-HR has 5.9 inches of ground clearance, which is quite car-like, and they also provide angle of approach and departure data of 15.8 and 38 degrees, respectively.
EPA test-cycle ratings are a decent 27 city mpg and 31 highway for a combined rating of 29 mpg. The 13.2 gallon fuel tank should give you as much as 400 miles of driving.
What surprised me about the C-HR was its handling. Overall driving dynamics were pretty good providing a composed ride and good handling. Suspension tuning matched with the 18-inch wheels mounted with 225/50 tires certainly helped. Like many a new vehicle today, development and testing was done on the famed Nürburgring circuit. There’s a good bit of fun-to-drive in the C-HR.
On the safety front, both trims come standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense technology that includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard on the XLE Premium.
There’s a back-up camera however the display is incorporated into the rear view mirror, and not in the customary center touchscreen. Another slightly different item is the outside rear door handles that are mounted up high near the door/roof cut line. Unusual, yes, and not the best in my view when trying to open the rear door when your arms are loaded, or for small people.
Front seats are comfortable and fabric-trimmed in both models. There’s no leather seat option, although the steering wheel is leather wrapped and the shift lever is leather trimmed. On the XLE Premium you get 8-way adjusters versus 6-way on the XLE and also heated seats. The rear seat is a bit tight but youthful bodies might just fit OK.
The C-HR is well packaged with good content and lots of standard equipment. But, there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and I recall it having only one USB port, and the more the merrier is today’s rule. Inside materials are a mix of soft and hard surfaces that just might be OK for a young driver.
The two-tone paint job seems to be seeing a rebound in a number of carmakers products. The C-HR’s R-Code exterior costs $500 and it pairs body color with a white-painted roof, side mirrors, and A-pillar. If mono is your style, I did see a C-HR on the road done in black with purple-painted wheels that looked pretty good.
The bottom line is when it comes to the C-HR is it’s a pretty good value and seems to be a perfectly well suited vehicle for a new young driver who needs personal mobility.
© 2018 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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