You gotta love Toyota, but the automaker was shockingly late the baby crossover party. That finally changes with the newest edition to its lineup, the 2018 C-HR. Today I take you behind the wheel of the weird and fun all-new subcompact crossover aimed at millennials.
Comparable to the Nissan Juke, I didn’t know what to expect when I took the wheel at a recent media event. It definitely stood out thanks to its distinctive lines and two-toned color combo. From the white roof, eye-catching blue body, and marketing stickers all over it, the model wasn’t being shy about itself at all.
A Toyota rep rode shotgun as I took it for a spin at the Circuit of the Americas for the Texas Auto Roundup. But before we even hit the road he put up with my squeals of delight that began the moment I buckled up and turned to look at the rest of the cabin.
The interior dazzled me with a black sparkly dash that’s hard to capture with a photo. The interior is futuristic and it feels like there are a lot of well-thought-out details from the door speakers to the roof.
“The theme throughout the cabin is diamonds.” – Toyota Rep
This explains not only the dash, but also the cool diamond pattern on the ceiling, speakings, and trim panels.
The standard 7-inch touch screen grows upward out of the dash in a smooth fedora hat arch. The media buttons are simple. A single power and volume knob, a call button, and a media select button run along the left of the screen. The rest of the media controls are in the touchscreen. There is also a separate digital clock on the far side of the media panel.
Right below the screen is a set of air vents and the emergency lights button. Underneath you find the dual-one climate control environmental controls and heat seat buttons. The whole dash angles towards the driver creating the new cabin concept Toyota calls the “Me Zone.” Basically, everything is right at arms height and length and facing you. So super easy to reach and control.
Interior seating is roomy so there’s no problem with head or leg space here in front or rear.
However, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. There is no navigation option, no option for additional USB ports and the C-HR also doesn’t offer Android Auto or Apple Car Play.
The first thing you notice after its funky body shape is the C-HR’s extremely cool contrasting white roof (a $500 add-on). I love it. It really helps separate all the complex lines on the model and gives it an instant sense of being a classic even though it’s totally new.
It has a strong coupe-like roof line with a big built in spoiler. It’s essentially shaped like a slanted diamond. The front fascia features strong lines and long distinctive headlights and air intakes.
On the Track
Thanks to Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, the model is zippy and responsive with great cornering on the track. It was fun to feel it shift on the curves and ups and downs of the track.
I’d say the Toyota’s 7-speed Sequential Shiftmatic automatic transmission works quite well. A 144-horsepower generating 2.0-liter four-cylinder with Toyota Valvematic reminds me of everything there is to love about Toyota handling. Special Nürburgring-tuning comes from an all-new sport MacPherson front strut suspension and a double-wishbone rear. It makes the C-HR an all-around powerful, taught steering, fun, responsive, and smooth drive. It’s fuel efficient, too, with 27-city, 31-highway, and 29-combined mpg ratings.
The C-HR is not all about fun though. At least not in the reckless sense of the word. It comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P), a package of advanced safety features that includes Pre-Collision Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Auto High Beams, and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Another unexpected safety feature is the full height spare tire. So no hobbling in after a little too much fun resulting in a flat.
So How Much?
The 2018 C-HR just went on sale in April in two trims, the base XLE and the XLE Premium. The XLE stickers in at $23,495, toss on an extra $1,850 for the Premium at $25,345, and don’t forget to add on the extra $500 for the white roof and mirror caps.