Some may think the Toyota C-HR-or Coupe High Rider-is an off-roader. It's not because it doesn't have lots of ground clearance and comes only with front-wheel drive. However, it does fine as a roomy, conveniently sized crossover for the road.
The C-HR is a hatchback that comes in $22,500 base form and as the $24,350 XLE Premium version, which I drove. My test C-HR was painted a nice Blue Eclipse metallic, but I would have preferred the available Ruby Flare Pearl paint with the optional white roof and side mirrors.
Even the base model is fairly well equipped with such things as power windows, a leather-wrapped tilt/telescopic wheel, backup camera (with a rear display in the inside rearview mirror), dual-zone climate control, front bucket seats with side bolsters and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD radio-but no Android or Apple CarPlay.
The XLE Premium adds items including a pushbutton start, power lumbar driver's seat, heated front seats, remote keyless entry, blind-sport monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and color keyed power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators that fold against the side glass when the car is parked to prevent damage.
All C-HRs have full speed-range dynamic radar cruise control and a pre-collision system with automatic braking.
The engine is a 2-liter four-cylinder with dual overhead camshafts and 16 valves, hooked to a decent CVT automatic transmission with a responsive manual-shift feature controlled by the console-mounted shifter. The engine generates 144 horsepower and 139 pound/feet off torque. Acceleration is decent, but the C-HR weighs 3,300 pounds so a little more power and torque would be welcome.
Estimated fuel economy is 27 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on highways. The fuel tank swallows 13.2 gallons, and the owner's manual says the C-HR can use either 87 octane "or higher" octane gas.
It takes a slight step up to reach the comfortable interior, where the 61.6-inch-high C-HR lets occupants sit a little higher than they would in most cars. There's good front/rear head room. But rear leg room for a long-legged passenger isn't overly generous behind the driver in the 70.7-inch wide vehicle, which is best suited for four occupants. The 103.9-inch wheelbase C-HR is 171.2 inches long, and its handy size makes it easy to move quickly in traffic.
The hatch swings up on twin struts and has a wide, but somewhat high, opening. Cargo room is fairly decent, and split rear setbacks fold forward and sit pancake flat to increase cargo volume from 19 cubic feet to 36.4 cubic feet.
Fairly light, quick electric power steering helps make the C-HR easy to handle. The supple ride is on the soft side. An all-independent suspension with double wishbones at the rear, stiff body structure, 50-series tires on 18-inch wheels and vehicle stability and traction controls allow the C-HR to be secure at above-average speeds around curves. The brake pedal has a linear action, and the anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution ensure fast, secure stops.
The quiet, attractive interior of my test C-HR XLE Premium had soft-touch materials, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, unusually supportive front seats and plenty of cupholders, although the "fasten-seat-belt" buzzer was obnoxiously loud. Large manual climate controls were appreciated, and the 7-inch touchscreen for the audio system could be easily used. A 4.2-inch color multi-information display came in handy for various drive data. It displayed such things as outside temperature, fuel economy, a G-force monitor and warning messages.
Safety features include regular air bags and front and rear side curtains.
The hood is extremely heavy and held open by just a prop rod, although most fluid filler areas can be easily reached.
Despite its appearance, the C-HR is more pleasant and practical than sporty, although there's nothing wrong with looking snazzy-even without the Ruby Flare Pearl paint.