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"New Car Review: 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Review" By John Heilig

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2018 Toyota C-HR XLE

By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

ENGINE: 2.0-liter I-4
WHEELBASE: 104 in. (est.)
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 171 x 71 x 62 (est.)
TIRES: P225/50R18
CARGO CAPACITY: 19.5 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 27 mpg city/31 mpg highway/ 25.4 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 12 gal. (est.)
CURB WEIGHT: 3,290 lbs. #/HP: 22.8
TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Nissan Kicks, Chevrolet Bolt, Kia Niro
STICKER: $24,549 (includes $960 delivery, $1,089 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The Toyota C-HR is a quirky little sedan with out-of-the-ordinary styling that will appeal to some, but be soundly rejected by others.

My wife has often remarked about my fascination with the Nissan Kicks, nee Juke. I am fascinated by its quirky styling that, admittedly, pushes the envelope.

Now Toyota has come up with a competitor for the Kicks/Juke in the Turkish-built C-HR. It, too, has its own unique style that mimics the Nissan, in a good way. My only complaint with the CH-R is that Toyota has chosen to distinguish it with exotic paint schemes. Our tester, for example, was a bright blue with a white top. While it was easy to find in parking lots, it’s not exactly what I would have chosen.

Both front and rear styling is interesting. In the rear, the taillamp project beyond the fenders. A spoiler over the rear window helps keep debris off. Front styling is highlighted by projector beam headlamps that are mounted on the tops of the fenders.

Interior styling is pretty good, with a swoopy 3D dash. Instruments are conventional and there is a standard 4.2-inch multi-color infotainment screen. My only complaint is that our tester was not hooked up to SiriusXM, so we used Bluetooth audio with our phone for music.

Okay, let’s be honest. The C-HR is not a performance sedan by any means. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four pumping out 144 horsepower. Acceleration is casual, but with a couple of miles under our belts we learned to work with it. Still, it had more power than my old MGA. The engine is connected to a CVT transmission with intelligent shift mode. Shifting was generally smooth.

Overall performance is quiet, for a four, with no annoying engine buzz intruding into the cabin. 

Front seats are comfortable with good side support in the kidney area. The seat fabric went well with the “woven” side panels on the doors. Access to the rear is through a unique exterior door pull that is mounted high up on the C-pillar. Once you get in, legroom is tight and visibility is poor. Rear seat cupholders are on the doors. In the front is the requisite pair of cupholders, but they aren’t together. One is on the console and the other tucked up under the center stack. 

Trunk capacity is good for a small car at 19.5 cubic feet. The rear seat backs fold easily to double this size. Frankly, if I owned a CH-R, I’d probably keep the rear seats folded all the time for general use, unless I had to pick up a granddaughter at school.

Shift into reverse, and the rearview camera projection is at the left corner of the rear view mirror. All too often I looked at the infotainment screen for the image before remembering where it was. I prefer a larger image to see where I‘m headed when I’m backing up. In addition, the CH-R lacks a blind spot monitor or rear cross traffic alert, something that should be a necessity in a small vehicle. 

The heater worked well, but you would expect this in a small car. 

Like the Nissan Juke/Kicks, the Toyota C-HR has a certain appeal. It has its own take on styling and is a fun car to drive.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

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