This article appears in Presidents Day Auto Guide 2018
The 2018 Toyota C-HR is an all-new crossover joining the Toyota lineup below the RAV4. Toyota knows one cannot have too many crossovers these days.
Originally intended as a part of the now-defunct Scion lineup, the C-HR has funky styling that makes it stand out in the growing sea of crossovers. You’ll love it or hate it, but there’s no denying it is an attention-getter.
We like the C-HR’s design with its quirky rear doors that have a handle that will perplex people the first time they walk up to the car. They’re easy enough to open once you get used to reaching for a handle that’s at eye level up near the roofline.
Inside, things are not fancy, but they are comfortable. This is a surprisingly roomy car with an upright seating position shorter drivers will appreciate. There’s plenty of room for front and rear passengers, and you can genuinely sit three in those rear seats for more than a 5-second drive.
Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch touchscreen, auto-dimming rearview mirror with backup camera display, and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift lever. Also standard is Toyota Safety Sense P with pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams and dynamic radar cruise control.
Power for the C-HR comes from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 144 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. This is enough to make the C-HR a nice drive in the city, but it lacks power for highway driving. Merging is a challenge at high speed, and the CVT gets noisy when you accelerate aggressively.
Once it gets going, the ride is smooth with good handling. It’s also quiet, with very little road or wind noise.
If you’re looking for all-wheel drive, then cross this car right off your list. It’s available only with front-wheel drive, which is unusual in a crossover. Those who live where the sun shines all year won’t mind, but anyone who lives where it snows should consider carefully.
Fuel economy ratings are very good, with an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. This makes the C-HR a great choice for commuters who want more than a small sedan.
Although underpowered on the highway and lacking all-wheel drive, the 2018 Toyota C-HR has great exterior styling, good standard features and strong fuel economy. Pricing is $22,500 for the base XLE and $24,350 for the XLE Premium, making it an affordable choice, too.