2018 Toyota C-HR has a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder under the hood
that is rated at only 144 horsepower, so acceleration is
There is a
peculiarity to car design that seems to affect the industry in each
decade. The irrational exuberance of cars of the 1950s, followed by
the sober rationalism of the 1960s, baroque neoclassicism of the
1970s, the dull efficiency of the 1980s, which melted away in the
following decade. It seems that crossovers and SUVs have dominated
designersí dreams ever since.
But now it
seems that those who grew up playing video games are now designing
cars. The result are vehicles that look as they escaped via an
errant game controller, festooned with odd angles, crazy creases,
outrageously sized wheels and a number of grilles. One of the newest
styling ideas, the floating roof, employs a blackened rear pillar
that fakes the eye into believing the roof has no rear support. Itís
not yet a cliche, and still seems unusual, despite its use by
several manufacturers, including Toyota on their new CH-R crossover.
just the start of this carís over-caffeinated design, one that
challenges buyers with a cacophony of creases, planes and ungainly
angles that seems youthfully energetic. This bad boy looks like a
wild child; too bad the engine and transmission didnít get the
four-cylinder under the hood is rated at only 144 horsepower, so
acceleration is leisurely, a feeling exacerbated by the continuously
variable automatic transmission. Throttle response is impressive,
even if flooring the throttle creates more noise than forward
momentum. So CH-R buyers will have to settle for a slow car that
looks fast. Oddly enough for a crossover, the CH-R is offered only
with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is not available on either
of the carís trim levels, which include XLE and XLE Premium.
its petite size and quick steering lend the car perky, frisky feel,
not unlike that of a newborn puppy. Its ride is tolerable, with
well-managed body roll.
Even if Toyota
skimped on horsepower, it didnít when it comes to safety features,
which includes automated emergency braking and lane-departure
warning, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. Blind-spot
monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is optional on the
top-of-the-line XLE Premium.
As with the
exterior, the interior is clearly aimed at the young and young at
heart. And although the mock leather dash does warm up the economy
car ambience, donít expect lavish creature comforts. The
tilt-telescopic steering wheel adjusts manually, as do the front
seats. There is dual climate control, however, and heated front
seats are optional.
given this carís styling, youíd expect a killer tech package,
yet itís fairly unremarkable as well. A 7.0-inch touchscreen
allows for Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, augmented by a
single USB port, and an auxiliary input jack is standard. Thereís
no navigation, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Still,
it proves to be easy to use and responds quickly to the touch.
seat occupants will find the accommodations acceptable, rear seat
passengers will find leg and knee room limited, and the cars styling
creates a claustrophobic cabin for those in back, thanks its sloping
roofline, and lack of rear windows, which also inhibits rear
visibility. Cabin storage space is adequate for those up front,
meagre in the rear, and the carís shape limits its usefulness for
quibbles will not matter to a CH-R buyer, who no doubt will value
its extreme looks, even if the vehicle fails to deliver the sporting
driving experience youíd expect once behind the wheel.
Consider it a