2018 Toyota C-HR Introduction

A totally new vehicle, the 2018 Toyota C-HR stands apart from other small crossover utilities with trendy looks and a high-riding stance.

C-HR stands for Coupe, High Riding. Conceived for Toyota’s youth-oriented Scion brand, which disappeared during 2016, it looks smaller than its dimensions suggest. Indisputably, the C-HR is one of the most audacious new models in recent memory, especially startling because it comes from a manufacturer long known for conservative products.

Although all-wheel drive is unavailable, Toyota calls the C-HR a crossover. We see it more as a small five-door hatchback that’s taller than most. That translates to a higher seating position.

Visually intricate yet enticing, the C-HR’s exterior is its most notable feature by far. Inside, the C-HR looks interesting enough, but mainly functional. Performance, in contrast, is sluggish.

Only two trim levels are offered: XLE and XLE Premium.

In each C-HR, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque, coupled to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is the sole configuration.

Three drive modes are available: normal, fuel-efficient Eco, and Sport. The latter re-programs the CVT to provide seven simulated gear ratios. Steering gets a tad firmer, too.

Manufactured in Turkey, the C-HR competes against the joyful Mazda CX-3, fuel-efficient Honda HR-V, and comparably conspicuous Nissan Juke. All-wheel drive is available on those models.

Ten airbags and a rearview camera are standard along with the Toyota Safety Sense-P group of active-safety features. They include forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.

A lockout for the touchscreen blocks functions that cannot be used unless the vehicle is stationary. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard with XLE Premium trim.

Visibility to the rear side is constricted. Back-seat headrests don’t block much of the view through the sharply-angled rear window, but it’s limited nonetheless. Thick pillars don’t help.

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