2018 Toyota C-HR Is Distinctively Different

Toyota parked its national headquarters in our backyard a couple of years ago, and in recent weeks they have parked some new vehicles in our test driveway out front. We have written about a few Lexus products already, and now it is Toyota’s turn beginning with the new, distinctively different C-HR.

2018 Toyota C-HR/Images courtesy Toyota

Yes, Toyota busted out the acronym app on its phone for the naming of this new crossover with C-HR designating Coupe High-Rider in this model. It is shorter than KCRTRDH, or Kids Can’t Reach The Rear Door Handles. More on that later. The new C-HR looks like a concept vehicle that made it into production in almost all of its original form. It is a five-seater (four adults comfortably) powered by four-cylinder gas engine/CVT gearbox powertrain combination designed to bring a sporty feel to driving. It delivers on all those fronts and is as comfortable as it is fun to drive.

You will get a lot of stares in the C-HR, especially if yours comes in this Iceberg/Radiant Green two-tone as our tester did. Every time I saw it, I craved ice cream. It was designed by a Toyota team member who is a diehard racer and wanted the vehicle to perform well anywhere it was driven including the legendary Nurburgring circuit in Germany. C-HR takes the new face of Toyota a step further as designers sought to expound on the theme of “Distinctive Diamond” and arrive with a physical form that is matchless, sexy, muscular, and edgy and would almost be at home in a museum of modern art.

Under the hood is Toyota’s 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that delivers 144hp and 139 lb. ft. of torque in this application. It is mated to the Continuously Variable Transmission (with intelligence and shift mode), with power arriving at the front tires in this form of Toyota’s new global architecture c-platform. All-wheel drive might be a cool option for this model but sadly is not offered. Sorry, no rallycross with your C-HR. Engineers have given C-HR a new MacPherson strut front suspension as well as all-new double wishbone multi-link rear suspension system to deliver a sportier ride and improved handling while not giving up on overall comfort and cabin quietness. All of this rides on 18-inch alloy wheels with ventilated disc brakes up front and solid discs in the rear. As with every other car on the planet, the new C-HR utilizes speed-sensitive electric power steering over the archaic mechanical hydraulics.

Toyota was able to pack a good bit of safety technology in this compact package, including pre-collision system with active braking, full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, pre-collision with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, hill-start assist, rear backup camera, and blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert.

As we slip inside the new C-HR, we notice designers have given this area as much attention as on the outside with the diamond theme evident. The cockpit is driver-centric and features Toyota’s “MeZONE” orientation. It is quiet and comfortable, with only a hint of road noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. A 4.2-inch color multi-information display sits center instrument panel for drivers, while a 7-inch color touchscreen handles the infotainment duties atop the center dash. Sadly, there was no navigation offering as part of the technology package, instead, Toyota makes you connect your smart device to utilize one of your apps for assistance in finding your way around. Also, no CarPlay or Android Auto…yet. There is Bluetooth connectivity as well as voice recognition with voice training. At launch (model year 2018), there are only XLE and XLE Premium trim levels offered. In the rear, there are 19 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row of seats with that increasing to 36.4 with the second row folded. Seating is supportive and comfortable with good leg- and hiproom, again for four adults. And to address the rear door handles – they are mounted so high up on the exterior that our grandboys of five- and seven-years cannot utilize them to gain access to the vehicle. Deducting points for this, Toyota, sorry.

Pricing for the 2018 Toyota C-HR begins at just $22,500 with our test vehicle arriving with a final window sticker of $23,995. All things considered, that is a very good price for a vehicle offering this good of a driving experience as well as utility and comfort. Fuel economy is rated at 27 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

The all-new C-HR is a giant step forward for Toyota as other manufacturers are venturing into this new subcompact, urban-centric cute-ute segment. It would not surprise me if somewhere down the road we see an electrified version of this vehicle. This 2018 C-HR from Toyota is fun to drive, offers very good quality and comfort, has really decent fuel economy especially in town, and does not really look like too much else on the road. I think Toyota was looking to have some fun with this vehicle, and I hope they enjoy it as much as we did.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.