THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The Toyota C-HR is a stylistic small CUV that features a comfortable ride.
- What’s Worst: The back-up camera is located on the rearview mirror making it tough to see what is behind you.
- What’s interesting: Great idea to project the name of the car on the ground when you unlock the doors at night.
It’s hard to pin down just what the Toyota C-HR is trying to be.
Is it a hatchback on steroids?
A shrunken SUV?
Depending on your view, it could be either but there is no mistaking the C-HR is a car that stands out in a crowd.
It looks like it would be right at home in a Transformers movie, switching from small CUV to a small robot.
The C-HR stands for compact high rider and I did like the fact during my week in the car that the C-HR is higher off the ground than most sedans and hatchbacks.
That extra height was good for visibility while driving on the highway and making it easier to get in and out of the car.
The Toyota C-HR features a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine which produces 144 hp and 139 lb/ft of torque that sends power to the front wheels by way of a continuously variable transmission.
That won’t win you any races at Mosport but it was more than adequate for highway driving and passing slower vehicles on Highway 7 during a drive to Port Perry.
The C-HR features three driving modes, eco, normal and sport. Unfortunately, switching the drive mode can take a few steps and might require you to take your eyes of the road.
You have to push a few buttons on the steering wheel and take a look at the screen on the dashboard to choose your driving mode. Toyota should think about changing that in the next evolution of the C-HR.
The drive in the C-HR is comfortable and all the controls are within easy reach. The seven-inch screen is a breeze to use and syncing my phone was simple but unfortunately it doesn’t come with Apple Car Play or Android Auto connect so you can forget about using your maps on your phone.
Also Read: Forester still defines the compact CUV
While the C-HR is classified as a small CUV it does have ample room inside for four adults.
During the week I drove my wife and neighbours to a Halloween fundraising dance for a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team, and there wasn’t any complaints about lack of legroom in the back seat.
But, there were a few complaints about the location of the handles for the rear door which is located at the top of the door. It would be difficult to open the door if you were carrying a heavy package.
The C-HR also has a nice feature when you get into the car at night. Unlock the doors and a logo with the C-HR name is projected onto the ground from the sideview mirrors.
And speaking of mirrors the back-up camera in the C-HR is located on the left side of the rearview mirror. Put the car in reverse and the image from the camera appears in the mirror. It is much smaller than if it was on the infotainment screen making it harder to see what might be behind you.
It was also tough to see when the sun was shining on the mirror. Like the drive mode, hopefully Toyota changes this in the next version of the car and puts the camera view on the seven-inch screen.
The C-HR is a solid car and my driveway showed me just how well the car is built.
My driveway has a slight slope and when I open the driver’s door of a new car when I park in it, inevitably the door will start to close on me as I get out of the car.
That didn’t happen with the C-HR. No matter far I opened the door on the driveway, it stayed right where I left it.
The C-HR comes in XLE and XLE Premium versions. The XLE has a nice list of standard features including 17-inch wheels; electric parking brake (a feature I really liked); hill-start assist control and Toyota’s safety sense package. That includes automatic high beans; dynamic radar cruise control; lane departure alert and pre-collision and pedestrian detection.
My tester for the week added the premium package which features 18-inch aluminum allow wheels; push button start and blind-spot monitors.
The C-HR is a good option for families or people who don’t want a hatchback but are looking for a similar vehicle with a bit of style.
The C-HR offers that but with a few tweaks it could be a whole lot better.
Also Read: CX-3 AWD conquers worst winter drive ever
2018 Toyota C-HR
BODY STYLE: Five-passenger small CUV.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-wheel-drive, CVT transmission with sequential shift mode
ENGINE: 2.0-litre, inline four-cylinder.
FUEL ECONOMY: 8.7/7.5L/100km (city/hwy)
CARGO: 538 litres
PRICE: Base $24,690. Premium as tested $26,290.