Inside is where I have my issues with the C-HR (and subcompacts in general).
The driver and front passenger seats are a bit snug, but you get used to it. The back seat though? I wouldn't recommend it … it’s way too snug for anyone but little kids, and even they might complain.
Best policy might be to look at this vehicle as a two-seater with some storage room in the back.
The main difference between Toyota’s small cars and the C-HR is ride height, a feature which motivates more and more car-buying decisions in recent years.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
The C-HR comes with a 2.0-liter, four cylinder engine. It’s paired with a CVT (continuously variable transmission), but there is a manual mode option on the shifter.
Numbers on the powerplant are 144 horsepower … and 139 lb.-ft. of torque.
The C-HR comes only with front-wheel drive, and features electric power assisted steering and an independent front and rear suspension.
To put it kindly, the C-HR isn’t the most powerful machine you can push down the highway. 0-to-60 numbers are in double-digits, for example.
The C-HR offers Eco, Normal and Sport modes. Eco is very, very, very slow. Normal is somewhat slow, with a bit of a whine when accelerating. Sport has some oomph to it, but not a lot. In short, this is not a car for someone interested in performance.
On the plus side, The C-HR is very small so it handles quite well and is good at getting you through traffic. Road noise can see through at times but it’s not deafening.
The C-HR comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense package, including: Pre collision system with pedestrian detection; Lane departure warning with steering assist; Auto high beams; and Radar cruise control. Tire pressure monitoring is also offered. For a small vehicle, these are surprising features to be standard.
THe C-HR had a very basic infotainment system. It was easy to use, though overall lagging behind the competition (i.e. Mazda’s CX-3 and the Chevy Trax have better tech setups).
The setup included a 7-inch touchscreen display and AM, FM and HD radio, plus AUX input, USB ports, and Bluetooth for streaming (it was easy to connect a phone). Voice commands for music and phone calls are available, but they only worked good at times and at other times were wonky.
Other disappointments include the fact that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are not compatible in the C-HR, and a small square on the rearview mirror is where you’ll see the backup camera image.
In summary, safety is impressive in the C-HR but the tech is not.
Official fuel mileage numbers are 27 city/31 highway/29 combined; This is slightly better than the Chevy Trax; but lags a couple mpg behind both the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. Overall the segment is pretty close in this area, so it shouldn’t be the deciding factor for most people.
My test vehicle was just under $24,000; base price starts about $22,500. On the high end the C-HR is about the same as most vehicles in the class, but on the low end it’s starting price is a few thousand more than some competitors. You have to keep in mind Toyota’s reliability, though. In the long run, that few grand extra may be a bargain as opposed to repairs other vehicles might require.
Don't buy the 2018 Toyota C-HR if you seek power and size. Do consider it if you seek good fuel mileage from a nimble small SUV with some height, and a safe and reliable vehicle.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.