Toyota C-HR Compact SUV In-depth Tour and Review

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Toyota C-HR has modest price tag, and ticks a lot of boxes for many new car and SUV buyers.

Introduced in 2018, the Toyota C-HR is a brand new SUV model for the Toyota line-up. With a base price of $20,945, the C-HR is aimed directly at the swelling compact SUV segment. A fully-loaded example rings in right around $26,000, making this a very affordable option for new car buyers and young families.

For 2019, Toyota has changed the available trim levels, to further diversify the price point and available features list. Competitors like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Kicks all other similar price tags, options and features. So, what is special about the C-HR, and what makes it tick? Let’s take a look at this new Toyota SUV and find out.

Toyota C-HR Trim Levels and Options

For 2019, there are three trim levels of the C-HR, available in the United States, this includes LE, XLE and Limited. Mechanically, all three are identical, with the real distinctions being aesthetic and interior upgrades. A 2.0-liter four cylinder engine, which is good for 144 horsepower, is paired to Toyota’s CVTi-S automatic transmission. This setup means the C-HR is good for 27 MPG city, 31 MPG freeway and 29 MPG combined.

For an extra $2,035 over the base LE, the XLE adds 18-inch wheels over the standard 17-inch steel wheels, the option to upgrade the Toyota EnTune 3.0 to ‘Entune Audio Plus,’ which adds a wi-fi hotspot and Toyota Safety Connect, a safety-concierge service to the standard six-speaker stereo and infotainment system. The XLE also adds some leather-wrapped interior trim, a ‘SmartKey’ keyless-entry system, and the addition of blind spot monitoring to the standard Toyota Safety Sense system.

The top spec Limited sees a notable price jump to $26,000, and the list of standard and available goodies continue. The Entune Audio Plus system mentioned above is now standard, but an even further upgraded Entune Premium system, with navigation, is now available. Inside, more leather-wrapped items are now standard, like the seats, which are also heated up front. Rain-sensing, automatic windshield wipers are also now standard equipment. Exterior wise, some bespoke chrome and black trim pieces are added to the C-HR, as well as LED foglights.

2018 2019 Toyota C-HR Compact SUV Tour Walkaround Review Buyers Guide Jake Stumph

Driving the C-HR

Unsurprisingly, the C-HR is a rather agile little family hauler. I say unsurprising because it rolls on the new TNGA architecture. This new modular chassis architecture provides the underpinnings to the C-HR, Prius and the excellent new 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback. I also say unsurprising because I was able to take the C-HR on the race track and push it to the limit. It’s not a race car, but it will hustle through the corners.

Less lively is the engine, which is, frankly, underwhelming in the C-HR. With just 144 horsepower on tap, the 3,300 pound Toyota feels sluggish. Though, it actually seems to be less a function of the engine performance, and rather a complaint with the Toyota continuously-variable automatic transmission. The slow-moving transmission dulls what power the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine can produce. The 0-60 MPH sprint is accomplished in a leisurely 10 seconds. I can’t remember the last time I have driven a slower vehicle.

However, the tepid acceleration isn’t particularly notable when driving the C-HR around town. Instead, the relaxed character of the Toyota means you’re rarely inclined to drive the car in an aggressive manner.


ALSO SEE: 600 Horsepower C-HR R-Tuned Racecar Driven!


The relaxed theme carries into the ride quality, which is more compact hatchback than typical SUV. The C-HR rides softly and is a comfortable place to spend time. However, some early C-HR models have reportedly had issues with window seals/wind noise, so make sure to test drive your potential next ride at freeway speeds before signing the dotted line. This test car had general wind noise levels that were a bit higher than average, but nothing terrible.

Real world fuel economy proved unsurprising, at least to me, with the little Toyota showcasing a very real world result. Around town, the 27 MPG city figure claimed by the EPA seems optimistic. Instead, the C-HR hovered closer to 24 MPG, which makes sense given the general power to weight figures of the car. That engine and transmission combo has to work a bit harder around town to haul the C-HR around. Equally unsurprising is that, in the real world, the C-HR is extremely fuel efficient on the open road. With the 2.0-liter engine on cruise control, the MPG figures trended notably upward, crushing the EPA’s rating of 31 MPG freeway. Again, given the general size, weight and power of the C-HR, this is in-line with my expectations. However, a real world 36 MPG freeway score is very, very good for the segment.

The C-HR is a stellar roadtripper.

Continue reading about the Toyota C-HR on the next page.

Jake Stumph is a lifelong car enthusiast and racer, who has operated as the content editor for Internet Brands Automotive since 2015. He runs Corvette Forum, 6SpeedOnline, Honda-tech, and LS1tech, among other Internet Brands Automotive websites. His work has been featured by several other prominent automotive outlets, including Jalopnik and Autobytel.

He obtained a bachelor's degree in Political Science at the Ohio State University in 2013, then pivoted from covering politics and policy to writing about his automotive adventures, something that, he says, is a lot more fun. Since that time, he has established connections with most of the world's major automakers, as well as other key brands in the automotive industry.

He enjoys track days, drifting, and autocross, at least, when his cars are running right, which is uncommon. You can check out what he's up to on his YouTube channel, as well as his Jake Stumph Racing Instagram account. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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