2018 Toyota’s New C-HR, small crossover aimed at Hipside

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Toyota’s swoopy new C-HR was supposed to be a Scion with it’s out there, styling aimed squarely at the hip Gen-Y youth and Hipster crowd. Standing for “Compact – High Rider.” Toyota describes the C-HR as having “kick-ass styling.” And who are we to disagree?  The C-HR has a bold, dramatic, edgy look to it, with its daring fascias, rear-sloping roofline, bulging fenders and complex curves and creases. The rear doors almost melds into the body and features high mounted hidden door handles.

There is only one powerplant available in the CH-R; namely a 2.0-litre, 144-horsepower four-cylinder producing 139 lb.-ft. of torque. Despite its vaguely off-road looks, the CH-R is only available in front wheel drive operated via a seven-step ratio CVT. (Continuously Variable Transmission.) The 2018 Toyota C-HR is available in only two trims: the $24,690 XLE, and the $26,690 XLE Premium. Now, the pricing does sound a little on the high side compared to the competition, but the Toyota arrives as very well-equipped vehicle, with dual-zone heated seats and safety technology, that includes pre-collision braking, lane-departure alert, and adaptive cruise control. These are feature found on mainly high end vehicles.

The interior is equally novel featuring several upscale touches with a theme called “sexy diamond” comprising of a plethora of diamond shaped themes in the cabin. The interior design is edgy and well executed with soft-touch surfaces, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen. Stepping into the C-HR is easy up front, and the interior cabin is roomy. The cloth seats offer good support. The cockpit is neatly laid out, with large analogue gauges for the speedometer and tachometer, and a central 4.2-inch configurable colour screen in mounted high up that operate the climate control system and entertainment functions. The centre console contains a decent sized storage compartment, and surprise, surprise a normal gearshift lever. Note; there is standard rearview camera, but it is located in a small monitor in the rearview mirror. Entry to the rear is tight, but the space is pretty good back there with good headroom and legroom. I would say it more of a comfortable two seater in the back than a tight three seater. There is 538 litres of cargo room behind the rear seats. The seats fold flat in a 60/40 split, and the rear hatch-like door opens nice and wide (As the dentist say!).

We tested the 2018 C-HR ($24,690) in a fetching Blue Eclipse Metallic paint equipped with Premium option package ($1,600) that included: 18 inch aluminum wheels, Blind Spot Monitor System with Cross traffic alert, push button start, smart key system and power folding mirrors with puddle lamps.  Total price for our tester including options, AC tax, freight and PDI came to an MSRP at $28,178. Note, there is no Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto are available, although Bluetooth and USB connectivity for smartphones is available. There is no integrated navigation system available either. However as mentioned before, the C-HR does offer such high end features as active cruise control and active lane departure warning as standard. My advice would be to ante up for the very good value premium package.

On the road, the C-HR is a comfortable, quiet and docile performer. It’s not a stand out hot –rod performer with its competent CVT transmission. However a sport mode option provides more throttle response. Handling is better though, with quick steering and good reflexes. The ride is stable and well composed. No issues to speak of it. Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 8.7 city, 7.5 highway. To sum up the C-HR offers a unique looking package that well- tailored to young demographic looking for something that’s a little more edgy.

2018 Toyota CH-R: Base price: $24,690. MSRP price as tested: $28,178