Toyota Drops 2018 C-HR into Subcompact Crossover Grudge Match
Los Angeles Debut Reveals Toyota’s Juke-Fighter
One of the newest and most contested segments today is the subcompact crossover, currently dominated by the likes of the Honda HR-V, Nissan Juke, Jeep Renegade, and Chevrolet Trax. Toyota wants buyers to add one more funky alphanumeric designation to their shopping lists, with the C-HR subcompact.
Immediately, the Toyota C-HR makes a strong first impression, thanks to its aggressive styling elements and serious body sculpting. Its front end bears a passing resemblance to the Toyota RAV4, but a lower snout betrays it as the RAV's kid brother. Strong rocker panel sculpting moves the eye toward the rear of the vehicle, where the steeply raked hatch does its best impression of a sporty coupe. Whether it's attractive or not depends on each individual's perspective, but there's no denying the C-HR is one of the most unique crossovers in the segment.
A 144hp 2.0L direct-injected I-4 gives the C-HR its motivating force. That output isn't pavement-breaking at all, but it does compare favorably to the Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax. Lead-footed crossover buyers would be better served by the turbocharged Nissan Juke. The C-HR routes its power to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission. All-wheel drive doesn't look to be an option, at least not yet.
All Toyota C-HRs will come with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), a suite of active driving assistants that provide forward collision monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure alert, and full-speed radar-based cruise control. That's a long list of features that aren't expected in the subcompact crossover segment, and TSS-P will likely be one of the crossover's most appealing features to buyers.
With a subcompact footprint, it's not fair to expect the C-HR to offer Range Rover comfort inside, but the Toyota's artful interior design and various interior storage bins should make it a fun place to spend time. A 60/40 folding rear seat expands cargo space for larger items, while deeply scalloped seatbacks open up rear passenger kneeroom. As on most modern compact cars, the C-HR looks to be a very well-packaged machine, offering reasonable space with trim proportions.
Pricing has yet to be revealed, and the C-HR will only be available in two grades at launch: XLE and XLE Premium. We expect the XLE to start at around $22,000, while the XLE Premium should run $24,000. We'll get to know the C-HR more as it gets closer to its on-sale date next year, but given its cute styling, economical drivetrain, Toyota lineage, and adequate interior space, we're sure it'll be a hit with budget-conscious customers everywhere.