2018 Toyota C-HR review with video

The basics:

Starting price: $24,690 + tax (XLE)
As tested: $26,290 + tax (XLE Premium)
Fuel economy over our week of testing: 7.0 L/100 kms (34 US MPG)
Competition: Chevrolet Trax, Honda HRV, Jeep Renegade, Subaru Crosstrek, etc

Toyota has arrived late to the table with its version of a sub-compact crossover… but you’re certainly not going to be able to ignore it. The C-HR is one bold (we would say downright odd) looking little thing. It was originally going to be offered under the Scion sub-brand before that division was scrapped last year. And that might help explain the aggressive lines since Scion was given a bit more creative license than we typically see from Toyota. Looks aside, Toyota says this is a fun to drive, feature-filled crossover aimed at young buyers who don’t have a family of their own yet. But we spend a week in it to see if the C-HR could also handle the needs of family life. To see our full review, watch the video above and then scroll through our report card below for the pros and cons.

– Fuel economy is solid with an average of 7 L/100 kms over a week of driving mostly in the city. That’s quite a bit lower than Toyota’s suggested combined rating of 8.2 L/100 kms
– Toyota is seriously upping its game on standard safety equipment right across its line of vehicles and the C-HR is no exception. Even the base trim is equipped with Toyota’s Safety Sense system, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, pre-collision detection with autonomous braking and auto high beams
– And, in the Scion style, standard equipment is also generally good. You get a 7 inch touch screen with back-up camera, dual zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel, a lot of decent soft touch surfaces and all those safety features. The downside is that it starts at a pretty high price point. The Honda HRV starts over $3000 cheaper. Even the Crosstrek’s base price starts $1000 lower and it has AWD standard
– While the C-HR hasn’t been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety yet, its European counterpart, NCAP, has given it a five star safety rating
– While it may have a modest amount of body roll under aggressive cornering, ride comfort is very good for regular cruising
– While rear legroom is non-existent if you have a tall driver up front, having someone around 5’8 in the driver’s seat still gives plenty of room for adults or front facing car seats in the second row
– The style! They style! Looks may be subjective but my wife actually thought I’d been in a car crash when she first saw the C-HR in our driveway. I had a passerby say it reminded her of the much maligned Pontiac Aztec
– Once you’re on board, the C-HR is encumbered with one of the worst continuously variable transmissions we’ve come across. It really drones along and revs the engine quite high while accelerating from a stop. It also sucks the power and fun out of the 144 horsepower 4-cylinder engine. CVTs are, in general, getting so much better. But not this one
– There is one seriously honking blindspot over the driver’s right shoulder. Unforgiveably bad. Bad enough to splurge on the Premium package just to get the blindspot monitoring system
– All wheel drive isn’t an option – which is rather limiting for Canadian drivers shopping for crossovers
– The infotainment system doesn’t include satellite radio, navigation, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on any of its trims
– Leather is not an option and the cloth used for the seats seems particularly prone to absorbing kid messes
– The second row door handle is really high on the body so young kids can’t reach it on their own
– The second row doors also don’t open nearly as wide as many other vehicles, which means helping kids into car seats or taking a young baby’s bucket seat in and out will be a serious pain
– With a cargo capacity of 538 litres, it’s a pretty small trunk – even compared to the competition. The Honda HRV has a 657 litre capacity
– The rear window is also sloped-off dramatically, which doesn’t give a dog much headroom at all in the trunk area

Family Wheels report card:

Family Wheels driver comfort score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 3.5/5 (68 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 2.5/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 3/5
Family Wheels trunk test score: 2.5/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 3.5/5

Family Wheels overall score: 33.5/50= 67%

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