The C-HR comes in one of just two trims for its first year on the market, XLE and XLE Premium. Both are powered by a compact 2.0L 4-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission sending power to the front wheels. In normal operation, the transmission will work to optimize fuel economy, but when put into sport mode, it will imitate a 7-speed sequential transmission. Toyota estimates the C-HR will achieve over 30 mpg on the highway and around 27 in the city.
One of the major selling points of the C-HR comes from the list of standard features. XLE versions come standard with LED daytime running lights, 18-inch wheels, powered rearview mirrors with integrated turn signals, Dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch touchscreen display for the sound system, a 4.2-inch screen in the instrument cluster, an electronically dimming rearview mirror with an integrated backup camera, a leather trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, power windows and keyless entry. Standard safety features include Toyota's Safety Sense P system, which includes a lane departure warning system, a pre-collision system, a pedestrian detection system, automatic high beams and radar controlled cruise control. Ten airbags are also standard.
The XLE Premium trim costs less than $2,000 extra, but includes fog lamps, touch sensors for the outside door handles and rear hatch, side mirrors that include blind spot warning indicators and puddle lights, heated front seats and a smart key with a remote start function.
With its wild styling and youthful vibe, I can see how you'd think the Toyota C-HR might be a fun little runabout. But really, this subcompact crossover was never intended to be anything more than an economical appliance, and it doesn't even really excel in the most basic categories, either.
The C-HR is powered by a 2.0-liter I4 producing 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. That engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission that causes the I4 to really drone under acceleration, though it does help the C-HR return EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 27 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. Even so, good as that sounds, the Honda HR-V, , Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Kicks all beat that number; the Nissan can stretch to an impressive 36 mpg highway.
There isn't much get-up-and-go in the C-HR's powertrain, even in Sport mode, which is accessed through the TFT screen in the gauge cluster. This changes the transmission mapping to have it behave more like a conventional automatic, with "upshift" sensations that keep the engine revving low. This doesn't really help with sporty driving, of course. It just tries to make the C-HR more fuel-efficient.
The Good ~ Cool style ~ Lots of standard driver-assistance tech
The Bad ~ Boring to drive ~ Lackluster fuel economy ~ More expensive than its competitors
The Bottom Line Despite its progressive styling and long list of driver-assistance features, the Toyota C-HR falls behind its subcompact competitors.
You don't need a full-size SUV to earn some versatility. A compact or small SUV can be just the ticket.
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