Photo by Vince Taroc
Toyota’s new 2018 C-HR could be a good fit for a fleet that doesn’t require too much cargo space. Known as the Coupe High-Rider, this subcompact crossover enters the growing segment of compact SUVs. This all-new vehicle takes the place of the Scion xD and the Toyota Matrix. Its competition includes the Honda HR-V, Nissan Juke, and Mazda CX-3.
I had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the XLE Premium model, the topline model. The C-HR is also available in the XLE trim.
At first glance, I was impressed with the sleek, sporty look; I can see its appeal to the younger generation. The exterior design stands out and catches your eye — from the vibrant ruby red color that I drove to the various lines to the black trim that outlines the bottom of the vehicle. Toyota refers to it as precision-cut, diamond-like styling. Other available colors include blue eclipse metallic, black sand pearl, gray metallic, and radiant green mica.
Two rear spoilers complete the sporty look, but they also cut off some visibility through the back window. The top spoiler (above the back window) is aerodynamic and features a high-mount stop light and cantilevered design. A unique feature is the high-mounted rear door handles — similar to the Nissan Juke.
As I climbed into the vehicle, I was concerned with the small space. Would it be comfortable on my long work commute? Surprisingly, it does maximize the interior space, especially with storage features like pockets on the front door with bottle holders. At an overall length of 171.2 inches, 19 cubic feet is available for cargo volume. But if you fold down the second row of seats, the cargo space increases to 36.4 cubic feet. I especially liked the cargo area cover when storing luggage.
A leather-trimmed steering wheel provides controls for phone, voice, and cruise control. The fabric-trimmed front seats are comfortable and can be adjusted six ways. The center console features a 7-inch touch-screen displaying infotainment and communication options. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren’t an option. For me, a missing convenience feature is somewhere to place my smartphone.
Photo by Vince Taroc
When I put the vehicle in reverse, the backup camera doesn’t appear on the center touch-screen. For the premium model, the backup camera appears on the auto-dimming rearview mirror. I like the idea of it being on the mirror, but the camera screen is small.
The C-HR handled well on both city streets and on the highway. It features a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that gets 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. It’s only available as a front-wheel-drive. The manufacturer-estimated fuel economy is 27 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined.
The Toyota Safety Sense System comes standard, providing a variety of driver assist features, including pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control. The Star Safety System is also featured, which includes vehicle stability control, brake assist, and smart stop technology. Blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert are available on the premium model.
The 2018 Toyota C-HR is in showrooms now. Pricing starts at $22,500 for the XLE and $24,350 for the XLE Premium.