2018 Toyota C-HR first drive Page 2

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2018 Toyota C-HR

2018 Toyota C-HR

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The C-HR's on-road behavior, however, is considerably better than we've come to expect from Toyotas of late.

It's often remarked that CEO and family scion Akio Toyoda is a race driver in his spare time, and his influence on the driving character of new Toyotas—starting with the fourth-generation Prius in 2016—has been substantial.

It's no Mazda, but the C-HR tracks accurately, has relatively little body roll for a car that sits higher than other hatchbacks, and has adequate if not stellar steering feel.

WEIGH IN: Are you driving a car, a crossover, an SUV, or a truck? Do you care?

Sitting below the high-volume Toyota RAV4 compact crossover, the C-HR was originally going to be sold as a Scion in the U.S.

That means it's well-equipped for the segment, with lots of standard equipment, just two trim levels—XLE and XLE Premium—and only a single option, the contrasting-color roof known as "R-Code" that's offered with three of its seven body colors.

Every C-HR has power windows, locks, and mirrors; 18-inch wheels; dual-zone climate control; a 7.0-inch touchscreen audio system with steering-wheel controls; and a rearview camera.

2018 Toyota C-HR

2018 Toyota C-HR

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The XLE Premium adds blind-spot monitors, a power driver's seat with more adjustments, heated front seats, a keyless ignition, fog lights, and turn signals in the door mirrors.

The audio system on both versions includes AM/FM/HD radio, a USB port, and Bluetooth pairing for audio streaming and voice controls.

Toyota remains adamant that it will not include Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. That seems an increasingly puzzling omission for 2018, especially among the younger buyers Toyota is targeting with the C-HR.

Buyers who want to personalize their C-HRs can choose from almost two dozen appearance, utility, and performance accessories at the dealer, following the model established by Mini, Scion, and other stylish small-car brands.

The C-HR XLE starts at roughly $23,500 including delivery, while the Premium adds $850 more. While The C-HR includes a few niceties you wouldn't expect in a car this size (a rear cargo light, for example), that's still a lot of money for a compact to mid-size hatchback for four people.

The price underscores the goal of taking the C-HR well out of that segment and into the “personal statement” category of small cars.

2018 Toyota C-HR, San Antonio, Texas, Feb 2017

2018 Toyota C-HR, San Antonio, Texas, Feb 2017

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Whether Toyota can convince buyers that this tall hatchback is a "crossover" sans all-wheel drive and the ground clearance typical of the breed remains in doubt.

But if nothing else, the usually conservative Japanese carmaker is right on trend: the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Kia Niro are also five-door hatchbacks being pitched as "crossovers" despite their lack of all-wheel drive.


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