2018 Toyota C-HR Review

2018 Toyota C-HR - Prices: $22,500-$24,350


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.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

For more reviews from Dan, visit Facebook.