2022 Toyota C-HR - Review by Thom Cannell +VIDEO
Funky, Safe and Inexpensive Crossover
By Thom Cannell
Senior Editor, Technology Desk
THE AUTO CHANNEL
Is fun your thing? If so, Toyota’s C-HR relatively inexpensive sport crossover “SUV” may hit your sweet spot with its entry price of $23, 880. Our Nightshade Edition test car seemed more like a massively shouldered sedan than boxy SUV. It’s fastback design and chiseled features—including a color-matched black cantilevered wing— appealed to our snarky side. Its sport alloy wheels, black door handles, black badges, black roof chin spoiler, two-zone climate control and 8-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto brought the price up to $24,645. That’s a lot, for a little.
Inside the uncluttered cabin are comfortable seats for four. Toyota says seating for five, which means three back seat children. The charcoal-and-black interior offers reasonably configured driver controls and the standard Nightshade mid-fi audio system made for a driving experience a bit more Tru by Hilton than Holiday Inn Express. (Comparatively, we’ve lately been testing a Prius and C-HR is way more fun and less expensive.)
Based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture, the center of gravity is low for pleasing handling and response, so the vehicle is responsive and feels solid. There’re typical MacPherson struts in front and multi-link rear suspension, which contribute to comfort and agility. Oh, fast EPS or electronic power steering felt solid, never too light, and never too heavy at highway speeds.
We drove this small crossover hard on our drive from Lansing, MI to Elkhart Lake, WI and the Road America fcility, and we were close to the EPA-rated 27-31 MPG. We decided upon a longer, 600-mile trek through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for our return, after saving 200 miles driving through Chicago’s rush hour. So, our 900-mile journey encapsulated all manner of traffic and roads, from Chicago’s 5-lane punishment to a scenic 2-lane peregrination. We learned things. First, this vehicle sips fuel, even at somewhat above the posted speed limit of 75 MPH. It’s acceleration, thanks to the only available transmission, a CVT (continuously variable transmission), does well enough to safely pass vehicles on Route 2, the 2-lane highway skirting Lake Michigan. The same CVT is the source of our single major complaint. Both it and the 2.0L 4-cylinder motor (144 hp, 139 lb.-ft. torque) are far from Lexus-quiet when pushed. However, at cruising RPM, powertrain noise is acceptable. A major feature, one you must have even if extra cost is C-HR’s LED lighting with automatic high beams. Darkness overtook us somewhere around Manistique, surely by Naubinway on our way home. Accurate, brilliant white light stretching both across and down the highway delivered safety and peace of mind. And, once again a Troll (what Uppers call those below the Mackinaw Bridge) and at 75+ MPH, those headlights vanquished darkness.
Thanks to Apple CarPlay, we had fingertip control of Pandora, Waze/Apple Maps/Google Maps, our own music collection, and hands-free calling. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide, in most cases, a better experience than even the most expensive factory system, particularly in voice response and navigation. If an inexpensive, sturdy, fuel efficient, IIHS Top Safety pick with good handling and funky-cool looks fits into your new-car needs, go for it.