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2018 Toyota C-HR Road Test Review

2018 Toyota CH-R Road Test
Athletic & Magnetic

We were blown away when the 2018 Toyota C-HR showed up in turquoise and white or as Toyota labeled the color - ICEBERG AND RADIANT GREEN. To our eyes, it was a bright turquoise and white, so bright it looked like mini race car ready to leave rubber and ratchet up a little dirt. The youth-oriented performance C-HR stuck out like a sore thumb in parking lots so one could never forget where they parked their car amongst the sea of silver sedans and ebony SUVs. For once, I wasn't walking around aimlessly through a parking lot with hand in air pressing the key fob in search of a chirp to remind me where I parked, hoping all along that no one would notice. No problem (or embarrassment) with the colorful C-HR.

In fact, no matter where it was parked, I always returned to find people surrounding it with smiles and a look of curiosity. I wondered if they would have done the same if Toyota had sent us their standard silver shade to test drive for a week. It actually surprised me that so many were attracted to the stand-out color. It seemed to have a magnetic personality. One middle-age man, who was eyeing it from end to end, said..."Wow, I wish I had known it came in this color. I just bought one for my (college age) daughter in silver. She would have loved this color." Then another man expressed how much he loved the shape of the car and the color scheme as well. He then proceeded to ask a bunch more questions, making me feel like a car salesperson at a new car lot. Good for Toyota I did my homework!

Our building manager wasn't as thrilled at first and he's a car nut. Our parking lot, which fits about 200 vehicles, is a blend of Toyota and Honda sedans, mostly 90's and 2000's, silvers and tans, nothing stands out. But once the bright ICEBERG C-HR was planted in the crowd of sameness, surely it could be seen from the space shuttle. People of all ages, young and old, male and female, seemed drawn to it, and finally even the landlord, who especially liked the rear door handles which were blended nicely into the top of the rear door. One had to look hard to find them as the blending and streamlining into the side of the vehicle was so perfect, it gave the C-HR a much more athletic profile.

The 2018 Toyota C-HR was a blast to drive, definitely a head turner. Just the right size, more of a cool hatchback with sporty lines in appearance, yet a car-like drive, it had plenty of room beneath the raised roof for all sorts of personal, athletic and pet-friendly items on the go. Below is a full description of the all-new C-HR with a little help from Toyota.

The all-new 2018 Toyota C-HR – or, Coupe High-Rider – represents a leap forward in design, manufacturing and engineering for Toyota. The C-HR will serves as a springboard of excitement and wanderlust for its trendsetting drivers.

The 2018 C-HR maintains the concept’s avant-garde physique; modern, comfortable cabin; and bold, outgoing character. The C-HR is available in two grades, XLE and XLE Premium, each equipped with a long list of standard features that includes 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, bucket seating, and 7-inch audio display.

But, the C-HR doesn’t only look great – it’s got the sportiness to impress thanks to the efforts of Deputy Chief Engineer, Hiro Koba, who is a diehard racer with speed coursing through his veins. Koba-san and team made sure the C-HR exhilarates its driver anytime, anywhere, including around the famed Nürburgring circuit where vehicle development was chiefly executed. Like its uncanny looks, the C-HR’s blend of comfort, control, consistency, and responsiveness is extraordinarily impressive for the competitive paradigm it aims to shift.

Polished Diamond Style
Toyota’s team of global designers expounded on one theme: “Distinctive Diamond.” The iconic gemstone evokes universal notions of luxury, attractiveness, sophistication, and strength. Designers translated these traits into a physical form that’s collectively matchless, sexy, muscular, and edgy. From the get-go, they strived to sculpt an urban-dwelling crossover that would effortlessly navigate tight city streets and stand out, with an agile, dynamic expressiveness.

At the C-HR’s nose, two slim projector-beam halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights (DRL) and auto-on/off activation wrap deep into its toned shoulders – nearly all the way into the front quarter panels. Because of this, the vehicle looks wider than it is, and possesses an assertive fascia that’s uncommon in the segment. In fact, its dimensions – width (70.7 in.), height (61.6 in), length (171.2 in.), and wheelbase (103.9 in.) – can best be described as compact and neat. Its front and rear tracks match that of Toyota’s diehard sports car, 86, at 60.6 inches. 

 
Video Review by Attrell Toyota

Deep, curvy character lines emerge from a prominent Toyota badge that’s flanked by the headlamps, and lead into the narrower core body. They run below the slender windows, and continue above the rear wheel where they marry to a high beltline and distinctive C-Pillar with hidden-type design door handle.

Look closely at the silhouette to see the clear resemblance of a diamond set on its side. Powerful arches housing the “vortex-styled” 18-inch tall by 7-inch wide aluminum wheels and 225/50R-18 all-season tires accentuate the C-HR’s sturdy posture.

The rear is a cohesive balance of its elaborate lines and 3D shapes. The tail lamps protrude outward, and the hatchback – outfitted with a lip spoiler and functional color-matched cantilevered wing – tapers neatly inboard, adding to the C-HR’s futuristic look, and, once more, imposing stance.

The XLE Premium model expands on the XLE’s exterior traits with color-matched front and rear passenger door handles with touch-sensor lock and unlock capability, integrated front fog lights, plus, power side mirrors with turn signals, blind spot warning indicators, puddle lights with “Toyota C-HR” projection, and auto-folding functionality.

As one can imagine, the exterior color options are aplenty for C-HR. Available colors include Ruby Flare Pearl, Blizzard Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, and Black Sand Pearl. Available all new-for-Toyota colors include Silver Knockout Metallic and Blue Eclipse Metallic.

For a bigger dose of individuality, the C-HR can be outfitted in R-Code, a special paint job that pairs body color with a white-painted roof, side mirrors, and A-pillar for a truly custom look. Available pairings include Blue Eclipse Metallic R-Code, Ruby Flare Pearl R-Code, and Radiant Green Mica R-Code. Radiant Green Mica can only be had in R-Code configuration.

Cutting-Edge Cabin
Open its doors to reveal a modern, spacious, and uncluttered interior having a keen placement of diamond accents and a driver-centric “MeZONE” orientation. Along with the soft-touch materials covering surfaces throughout, the diamond pattern influences the designs of the dual-zone climate controls, speaker surrounds, and black headliner above the front passengers. Passengers can easily converse thanks in large part to the acoustic noise-reducing front windshield.

Together with slim A-pillars, the slightly angled dashboard and amenity controls allow for the driver to have a clear view of the road ahead and intuitive access to instrumentation – a nod to the C-HR’s sports car influence. The 7-inch audio display is positioned centrally atop the dash, rather than in it, so as to help reduce a driver’s eye movements. An informative twin-ring gauge cluster resides behind the leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel. The tilt/telescoping wheel, with its slender profile, small diameter, and compact center pad, is reminiscent of a sports car’s easy-to-grip helm. The satin-plated shift knob exudes a high-quality feeling, and once in-hand, has a solid shift movement. A bright 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display (MID) sits between the twin-ring cluster and shows odometer, SPORT and ECO modes, outside temperature, fuel economy and trip information, fuel economy history, G-force monitor, and much more.

2018 Toyota C-HR Interior

Key XLE standard features include all-black appointments; premium leather-wrapped steering wheel; auto-dimming rearview mirror with backup camera; electric parking brake; dual-zone climate control; and Sport Fabric-trimmed front bucket seats with sport bolsters and six-way adjustability. XLE Premium adds Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert; heated front seats; eight-way adjustable power lumbar driver’s seat; and Smart Key System with Push Button Start. Both models are equipped with a six-speaker AM/FM/HD Radio™, Aha™ app, USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, AUX audio jack, Bluetooth® wireless connectivity, and Voice Recognition with voice training.

The C-HR receives two Toyota-first features: Driver Distraction Secure Audio (DDSA) and Brake Hold Function. DDSA prevents certain multimedia menus from being selected while the vehicle is in motion by complying with NHTSA’s Driver Distraction Guidelines. Brake Hold Function is a convenience feature that maintains braking force at all four wheels to keep the vehicle stationary when at a full stop. As a result, the vehicle will remain still even if the driver reduces the pressure on the brake pedal. Once the driver depresses the accelerator, brake pressure will release, and the vehicle will move forward.

Bolstered bucket seats help to keep passengers snug and comfortable. All passengers will appreciate the generous amount of small item storage space (sculpted in-door pockets) and cup holders (two front cup holders; two front, two rear bottle holders). Designers used scalloped seatbacks, foot well cubbies carved below the front seats, and a chamfered headliner to create a spacious backseat environment. Sound insulating materials placed on the carpet, headliner, A-pillars, and door trim help to keep all unwanted noises out and the good chats in.

For extra cargo carrying versatility, the rear 60/40 seat can split and fold flat, and, when in an upright position, can easily accommodate child seats with its LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system. Seatback lock releases are positioned at shoulder height, making it possible to fold seats without bending over. The rear seats are designed so that seatbelts do not interfere when folding the seats. As an added bonus in the cargo hold, a hidden storage compartment located in the sidewall stores small items, as do compartments below the deck board. Everything in the trunk is concealed by a standard cargo cover.

Surprise Athlete
The Toyota C-HR scores high on style points, but it is also a hit when it comes to thrilling fun and impressive ride comfort. Deputy Chief Engineer Koba took full advantage of the C-HR’s adaptable Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) C-Platform to craft an engaging character that goes well beyond just a cool appearance. The C-HR’s core driving personality incorporates the ingredients of a well-sorted sports car – one that seamlessly melds cunning responsiveness, linearity, consistency, and comfort.

Years were spent developing on-road nimbleness and ride quality on some of the world’s most curvaceous and pitted roads, including the Nürburgring Nordschleife, an iconic racing circuit set in Germany’s Eifel mountains. Doing so took a mix of innovation and trial and error, and as a result, the TNGA C-platform – with an inherent low center-of-gravity, high strength, and low weight – benefited from extra rigidity through added spot welding, gussets, braces, and adhesives in and on key connection structures.

Feeling connected to the road is characteristic of a sporty drive, and the C-HR delivers with its column-type Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system. As is the case with other EPS systems, a tilt of the steering wheel will return light feedback at low speeds, and at higher speeds, drivers will notice stronger feedback for increased confidence while behind the wheel. The C-HR’s steering system’s feel, however, relies on a highly rigid rack-and-pinion steering gearbox that is installed directly to the front suspension. Braking is handled brilliantly by a pairing of 11.7-inch front ventilated discs with 11.1-inch rear solid discs.

For all of its sportiness, the C-HR’s ride quality is well-sorted, civilized, and highly capable in absorbing the nastiest of untidy pavement. In the end, the C-HR happily finds itself at home on congested boulevards as it does on serpentine roads.

Compact Punch
The C-HR’s engine, a punchy 2.0-liter four-cylinder dual-overhead cam producing 144 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 139 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm, sends all power to the front wheels via the Continuously Variable Transmission with intelligence and Shift mode (CVTi-S). The engine employs many of Toyota’s latest generation of technologies, including Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and Valvematic, both of which have received extensive optimization to enhance fuel economy and smooth operation. Valvematic offers a broader range of continuously variable valve timing (lift and phasing) to provide optimal intake valve (not on exhaust side) operation relative to engine demands. Furthermore, to reduce exhaust emissions, the catalyst is warmed earlier during the engine’s ignition cycle. Both models are expected to receive EPA-estimates of 27 city/31 highway/29 combined miles-per-gallon.

The all-new the CVTi-S received much attention by engineers and utilizes redesigned pulleys to enhance acceleration and fuel economy; a new belt structure to reduce cabin noise; and a coaxial two-port oil pump system that allows for continuous oil pressure modifications in various driving conditions. A Preload Differential helps to distribute torque between the left and right wheels during low-speed operation to make for easier, composed driving.

Of course, drivers and passengers will welcome the powertrain’s well-sorted nature, but they’ll love Sport mode and the simulated 7-speed Sequential Shiftmatic. Engaging Sport mode via the MID increases the responsiveness of the throttle, quickens the CVT’s automatic artificial “step-up” shifts, and maintains high engine speed to enhance acceleration. The EPS’ feedback is weightier for a more confidence-inspiring feel. Pushing the gearshift over to the left while in Drive engages Sequential Shiftmatic, and lets drivers shift simulated gears at their convenience.

State-of-the-Art Safety
The C-HR comes equipped with standard Toyota Safety Sense P™ (TSS-P). It is anticipated to be the only vehicle in its segment with standard Pre-Collision System with Active Braking. It is also expected to be the only vehicle in the compact crossover market with Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control as standard equipment.

TSS-P is a multi-feature advanced active safety suite that bundles Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection function (PCS w/PD) featuring forward collision warning and Automatic Emergency Braking; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist function (LDA w/SA); Automatic High Beams (AHB); and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).

The Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) uses a camera and radar to detect a vehicle and/or pedestrian ahead of the C-HR in certain conditions. When the system determines there is a possibility of collision, it prompts the driver to brake with an audio and visual alert. If the driver notices the hazard and brakes, the system may provide additional braking force using Brake Assist. If the driver fails to brake in a set time and the system determines that the risk of collision with a vehicle and/or pedestrian is extremely high, the system may automatically apply the brakes, reducing speed in order to help the driver avoid the collision or reducing the impact.

Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist function uses an in-vehicle camera designed to detect visible white and yellow lane markers in front of the vehicle and the vehicle’s position on the road. If the system determines that the vehicle is starting to unintentionally deviate from its lane, the system alerts the driver with an audio and visual alert. When the alerts occur, the driver must check the surrounding road situation and carefully operate the steering wheel to move the vehicle back to the center part of their lane.

If the vehicle ahead is detected traveling at a speed slower than your set speed or within your distance range setting, the system is designed to automatically decelerate the vehicle without having to cancel the cruise control. When a greater reduction in vehicle speed is necessary, the system may apply the brakes and operate the vehicle brake lights. The system will then respond to changes in the speed of the vehicle ahead in order to help maintain the vehicle-to-vehicle distance set by the driver. When there is no longer a preceding vehicle driving slower than the vehicle’s set speed, the system accelerates until the set speed is reached and returns to the pre-set speed cruising. Full-Speed Range DRCC is designed to function at approximately 0 to 110 mph, and may enable low speed following, speed matching, stopping, and acceleration/deceleration to a preceding vehicle.

Automatic High Beams (AHB) helps enhance forward visibility during nighttime driving. It uses a camera to detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and the tail lights of vehicles ahead, and then automatically switches between high beams and low beams so as not to interfere with other drivers.

Complementing TSS-P are 10 standard airbags, standard Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) and rear backup camera, as well as available Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which are only available on the XLE Premium model.

The Price is Right
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the 2018 C-HR will range from $22,500 for XLE to $24,350 XLE Premium.

The MSRP for the C-HR does not include the delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $960. The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

MODEL #
GRADE
ENGINE (CODE)
TRANSMISSION (CODE)
MSRP
2404
XLE
2.0-liter (3ZR-FAE)
CVTi-S (K114)
$22,500
2406
XLE Premium
2.0-liter (3ZR-FAE)
CVTi-S (K114)
$24,350
MSRP does not include the delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $960
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