2018 Toyota C-HR First Drive Review and Gallery

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Now that Scion is officially dead, some of their future products have migrated over to the Toyota parent company. One of those vehicles is the all-new, 2018 C-HR. But can this Coupe High Rider make a dent in the competitive compact crossover space? We went to Austin, Texas to find out!

The Toyota C-HR is a funky little crossover that’s designed to be “coupe-like” in appearance, but give you the practicality of 5 doors. The rear doors’ handles are cleverly disguised near the top, but retain easy-to-use functionality.

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The C-HR is a front-wheel drive only vehicle powered by a 2.0L engine making 144 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission offered is a CVT. Built atop the new global architecture, the folks at Toyota promise a better ride with sportier feel. They even tossed around the word Nürburgring quite a bit.

It shows. While it could use more power, the steering and handling and excellent for a vehicle of this type. It builds confidence as the driver enters a corner, and can hold momentum through the corner better than many Toyotas we’ve driven in the past. While it’s not a sports car, it might be the best-handling car in this class. At any rate, it gives the Mazda CX-3 a run for its money in the fun department.

This 5-door also has tons of space for cargo and passengers, which again bests the Mazda’s space. Also, the standard safety technology puts it ahead of all of the competition in this segment.

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Toyota Safety Sense comes standard on both the XLE and XLE Premium trims — the only two trims available. This means that autonomous emergency braking and full-stop radar cruise control are standard. For a car with that starting price, that’s an impressive offering.

Ordering a C-HR couldn’t be similar, because following in the footsteps of Scion, you just get the trim you want and there are no options.

It should be noted that if you want blindspot monitoring, you’ll need the XLE Premium version of the car. It’s what we’d recommend, because the blind spot in the car is quite large with the rear design.

Both versions have an EPA estimated fuel economy of 27 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, or a combined 29 mpg.

Starting price for the XLE is $22,500 and the XLE Premium is $24,350. Both of those prices are before a $960 destination and delivery charge.

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The only major drawbacks we can find are we really would like to see Apple Car Play and Android Auto Support from the infotainment. There is no navigation option available, as well as no SiriusXM. For a car targeted at Millennials, that smartphone integration would be helpful.

Also, the lack of all-wheel drive might be a deal-breaker for some. In many states people gravitate towards all-wheel drive for the winter, even if they don’t strictly need it.

While we won’t know what it’s like to live with until later in the year when we can get it for a loan, we are impressed with our first impressions of the C-HR. It seems to check all the right boxes without breaking the bank, and is a hoot to drive.

The automaker provided the transportation, lodging, and food for this trip. Opinions are always our own.
Chad Kirchner
the authorChad Kirchner
In addition to Chad Kirchner's work here, he's a freelance automotive journalist for outlets around the world.

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