The C-HR comes in one of just two trims for its first year on the market, XLE and XLE Premium. Both are powered by a compact 2.0L 4-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission sending power to the front wheels. In normal operation, the transmission will work to optimize fuel economy, but when put into sport mode, it will imitate a 7-speed sequential transmission. Toyota estimates the C-HR will achieve over 30 mpg on the highway and around 27 in the city.
One of the major selling points of the C-HR comes from the list of standard features. XLE versions come standard with LED daytime running lights, 18-inch wheels, powered rearview mirrors with integrated turn signals, Dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch touchscreen display for the sound system, a 4.2-inch screen in the instrument cluster, an electronically dimming rearview mirror with an integrated backup camera, a leather trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, power windows and keyless entry. Standard safety features include Toyota's Safety Sense P system, which includes a lane departure warning system, a pre-collision system, a pedestrian detection system, automatic high beams and radar controlled cruise control. Ten airbags are also standard.
The XLE Premium trim costs less than $2,000 extra, but includes fog lamps, touch sensors for the outside door handles and rear hatch, side mirrors that include blind spot warning indicators and puddle lights, heated front seats and a smart key with a remote start function.
At first blush, the 2018 Toyota C-HR's exterior styling is very aggressive. The compact crossover is sharply angled and steeply raked with bulging wheel arches. However, closer observation reveals that there is a curvaceousness to the design that also makes it look a bit fun and approachable with its Grumpy Cat face and rounded silhouette.
I get hints ofin details like the windswept headlamps and in the flared haunches. The trapezoidal rear door handles tuck in the upper corner of the rear glass, making the crossover look like a coupe. Despite the steeply angled roofline, there's a reasonable amount of headroom on the second row.
There's not an angle at which you can view the C-HR where it looks boring; though, there are a few unflattering ones. In profile, for example, the long front overhang is plainly obvious, sort of spoiling the sporty "wheels at the corner" aesthetic. But overall, I enjoyed the high level of curb appeal.
The Good Its bold, unique design helps it stand out. Performance is relaxed and the ride is comfortable.
The Bad The standard infotainment tech lacks all but the most basic functionality. The cabin feels as cheap as it looks.
The Bottom Line The C-HR looks neat, but there are far better options in this hotly contested segment.
Step into a Highlander Hybrid for $39,320.
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