Toyota C-HR Compact SUV In-depth Tour and Review
A Pleasant Surprise, Inside and Out
This XLE model seems to offer an excellent level of value to the compact SUV segment, and it’s the interior that has me sold on that statement.
While the XLE doesn’t have the heated, leather thrones of the top-trim Limited model, there are still a lot of nice things happening in the interior. Of particular note is the dashboard, which is wrapped in a thickly-padded leather, and features contrast stitching. It looks and feels premium. Similarly, the arm rests in the door cards also use a nice, padded leather, making for a comfortable driving position. Though, interestingly, the center console, while also leather-wrapped, is not padded, for some reason.
The cloth bucket seats are comfortable, and with those front seats set at my 6’1″ driving position, I still have enough rear seat legroom to get comfortable in the back row. Similarly, the trunk space equally is commendable which makes the C-HR a very usable daily driver.
In-car Tech and Safety Equipment
In terms of safety, few manufacturers do it better than Toyota, and the C-HR is no exception. Ten, yes ten, airbags are standard, as well as Toyota Safety Sense, though, as previously mentioned, the base C-HR does not have blind spot monitoring. While some features of Toyota Safety Sense are excellent, like the radar-guided cruise control, some items are still a miss. The lane keep technology in the C-HR, much like the Yaris, seems to only work in very specific circumstances. But, hey, those ten air bags will save your hide, even if the lane keep assist doesn’t. Oh, and don’t forget the back-up camera, which is located in the left corner of the rear-view mirror.
The Toyota Entune infotainment system is generally well-regarded, offering an intuitive display and straightforward prompts, though, prepare for some minor irksome moments if you are a satellite radio user, as changing channels can seemingly only be done one at a time, or if you have a specific channel number to input. This is a nitpick, but Entune could be more slick with its integration here.
Beyond that, the interior proves to be a pleasant surprise, offering a lot of nice touches (like the headliner, styled like falling leaves), standard equipment, and upscale interior pieces (the dash).
Final Verdict on the Toyota C-HR
For $22,980 the mid-level C-HR XLE is the one to get. Of the three trim levels, it offers the best blend of value and features.
With that said, the XLE package C-HR compares very favorably against the likes of the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, in terms of standard features, power and performance. Indeed, all three are very close, with the Nissan Kicks being the only notable outlier. The Nissan is much less expensive, with a base MSRP of $17,990, but is also smaller, inside and out, and is about 20 horsepower down, compared to the Toyota, while lacking some standard features.
The C-HR has the funkiest styling, with aggressive cuts, swoops, lines and angles compared to any of the competition. This wild, newfound styling from Toyota is, ultimately the biggest differentiator between the C-HR and it’s competition. If bold styling is your thing, the C-HR is the compact SUV to buy.
Video, written review and photography by Jake Stumph for ScionLife.