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.

Pros:
– 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
Cons:
– 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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