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  • 2018 Toyota C-HR

    Posted on November 14th, 2017 ninarussin

    Crossover combines versatility and affordability for young buyers

    By Nina Russin

    2018 Toyota C-HR

    2018 Toyota C-HR

    The all-new C-HR that debuts for the 2018 model year targets millennials with a combination of stylish exterior, versatile interior and affordable pricing. In a sense, the C-HR is to the current generation of young buyers what the Matrix was for their parents: a car that can take them through those quantum changes of life that happen right after college: new job, new home and perhaps a new family.

    The term, C-HR stands for ‘Coupe-High Rider’. The subcompact concept for the production vehicle originally debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show as Scion’s competitor to the Nissan Juke. Post-Scion, the production model carries the Toyota nameplate, but its edgy styling with an elongated front end, huge wheels and sharply angled roof reflects Scion’s youthful spirit.

    A contrasting white roof adds pizzazz to the test car’s aqua-colored exterior. Base price is $22,500 excluding the $960 destination charge. Options on the test car include the white roof, removable crossbars, tablet holder, carpeted floor mats and cargo mat, mudguards, emergency assistance kit, rear bumper protector and wheel locks. Final MSRP is $24,969.

    Styled to stand apart

    2018 Toyota C-HR

    2018 Toyota C-HR

    Toyota learned an important lesson with the Matrix: young buyers want eye-catching styling. The Matrix didn’t have it, and as-a-result lost sales to competitors that did. The Toyota C-HR has styling in spades, with cool touches such as the concealed rear door handles. The idea that coupes are sexier than sedans is a tenet near and dear to automotive aficionados. Hence the Toyota C-HR is a four-door that looks like a two door, with elongated hood, bullet profile and a sharp rear spoiler on the roof.

    Halogen-beam headlamps and LED daytime running lamps wrap around the car’s front end, flowing into a beltline that carries the viewer’s eyes to the back. As with all sporty cars, the C-HR has a narrow greenhouse and huge wheels. Tail lamps protrude outward to maintain the angular theme of the car’s back end.

    To be honest, crossbars on the test car look like an afterthought, cutting into the roof’s aero profile. But for buyers with active lifestyles, they add the option of an additional gear hauler, bike, kayak or snowboard rack. Since the car’s interior is relatively small, that’s an important perc.

    Test drive in southern Arizona

    2018 Toyota C-HR

    2018 Toyota C-HR

    This week I put the C-HR through its paces through Phoenix, Arizona’s east valley as well as sections of the Gila River Indian Community south of town.

    The C-HR’s two-liter engine and continuously variable automatic transmission deliver an appealing, peppy ride. This writer would like to have seen a manual transmission option in keeping with the car’s sporty character. But product planners knew that it would have limited appeal with the intended audience.

    The C-HR chief engineer, Hiro Koba, is a racing enthusiast, and his penchant for the track shows in the car’s nicely-tuned electric power steering system and nice balance. The C-HR is one of the first production vehicles based on TNGA, Toyota New Global Architecture, that also underpins the new Prius.

    2018 Toyota C-HR

    2018 Toyota C-HR

    Although the 144-horsepower engine doesn’t look that powerful on paper, variable valve timing and a new Toyota technology called Valvematic give it excellent throttle response, for firm acceleration off-the-line and in the 20-to-50 mile per hour range drivers use merging into highway traffic. Average fuel economy is 29 miles-per-gallon.

    A four-wheel independent suspension consists of MacPherson struts up front and a compact double wishbone setup in back. The C-HR is one of the few subcompact crossovers that comes with an independent rear end. Competitors including the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 have torsion beams. A stabilizer bar on the front axle keeps the chassis flat in the corners.

    Four-wheel disc brakes stop the car in firm, linear fashion.

    2018 Toyota C-HR

    2018 Toyota C-HR

    Visibility around the perimeter is good up front, but large D-pillars create some significant blind spots in the rear corners. The XLE Premium is the only grade available with blind spot monitoring. Anyone planning to drive in rush-hour traffic on a regular basis should seriously consider the upgrade for that reason alone.

    Engineers did a good job of minimizing wind, engine and road noise intrusion to the interior so occupants in both rows can converse with ease or enjoy the audio system.

    Versatile interior

    Toyota C-HR Interior

    Toyota C-HR Interior

    Despite its small dimensions, the C-HR’s versatile interior makes the car ideal for active buyers. Product planners included the latest in connectivity features including a seven-inch touchscreen, AM/FM/HD radio, USB ports, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth interface and streaming audio. A thin-film-transistor display on the XLE adds trip and odometer readings, fuel economy and driving range. Keyless entry and start makes the C-HR easier and safer to enter at night.

    Dual-zone automatic climate control keeps front seat occupants comfortable in temperature extremes.

    I found the driver’s seat easy to adjust for a clear forward view, offering plenty of lower lumbar support. Second-row seats fold flat in a 60/40 pattern to extend the cargo floor, making the C-HR bicycle friendly.

    Designers did an excellent job of including storage areas throughout the cabin, including cupholders, front door and center console storage and the tablet holder included on the test car.

    Standard safety

    The Toyota C-HR comes with ten airbags, antilock brakes with brake hold feature, stability control, traction control, Toyota Safety Sense with Pedestrian detection (TSS-P), hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring and blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert.

    The all-new C-HR is rolling into Toyota dealerships nationwide.

    Like: An affordable, versatile and stylish compact crossover with good power, performance and fuel economy.

    Dislike: Thick D-pillars create large blind spots in the rear corners.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Toyota
    Model: C-HR XLE
    Year: 2018
    Base price: $22,500
    As tested: $24,969
    Horsepower: 144 HP @ 6100 rpm
    Torque: 139 lbs.-ft. @ 3900 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: Available as option
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 27/31 MPG city/highway

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