The Toyota C-HR grew on me quite a bit… simply because it proved to be a fun-to-scoot-around-in, economical ride. It’s not fast. It’s not even quick. It won’t surprise you with all it’s cargo room (like the original Scion xB did). And definitely call shotgun if you get claustrophobic, because those backseat windows are small & they put you in a cave. But despite that stuff, the C-HR got its hooks in me. It’s like-able. You kind of connect with it. And surprisingly – it is nimble & fun to drive!! Not just ‘nimble for a crossover’. But nimble for an ANYTHING. It actually cuts corners really well! It’s kind of weird.
Bottom line: The C-HR is a pretty stout little Toyota crossover chassis thingy… that doesn’t come with a manual transmission like I wish it did. And I know I’m on the losing side of the manual-transmission argument, that’s fine I’ll save my breath. The C-HR is a good all-around, economical errand-runner (cut to Robert DiNero’s squinty/frowny nod of agreement).
But if I’m being constructively critical, as a friend of course, I juuuuust wish that Toyota would full-on play into the C-HR’s identity just a little bit more.
For example, the C-HR is eye-catching & futuristic, with the warped body panels & tail lights… and bold 2-tone paint options. But inside the C-HR – it’s like as ‘generic Toyota’ as you can get. It feels cheap. I guess we can swap the word cheap for ‘durable’ if we’re being optimistic. But everything is super-basic hard plastic, at least in the model we had. And about the only stimulation you get, is a random pattern embossed into the headliner… and a little bit of sparkly black around the radio. I will say, the seats were pretty good, with a nice blend of sport & comfort. Toyota/Lexus always gets the seats right.
But dang, I feel like there is a real open opportunity for Toyota (and others) to really play-up the personality of a small crossover like this. Make it a little more adventurous! Take the styling of the outside… and spill it over into the inside. Follow me here: But a ‘backpacker orange’ interior with this blue/white paint would be fire. Take a cue from the old Honda Element… and give us a function-minded interior that can get wet/muddy. There are a lot of Toyota loyalists & enthusiasts out there who need a good, economical daily. And an active-lifestyle crossover, similar to the Crosstrek concept, could really help some youthful buyers pull the trigger on this smart/sensible (and yes, fun) C-HR. To me, the C-HR is a stand-out option in its segment.
PRICE – starting at $20,900
Engine – 2-liter w/ CVT transmission
HP – 144
MPG – about 30