- Unique styling.
- Decent ride.
- Generous advanced safety tech.
- Almost nonexistent back seat.
- Could use more power.
- Could use better fuel economy, too.
Would we buy one? Yes, the C-HR makes a strong value statement.
Vehicle Type: The Toyota C-HR is a subcompact crossover.
Price Range: The 2020 Toyota C-HR ranges from $22,420 to $27,470, including destination, but before options or taxes.
Powertrain: A single powertrain powers the C-HR for the 2020 model year -- a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque.
Power is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Overall Score: 7/10
Safety Features: 8/10
In safety crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the C-HR 'Good' in all crashworthiness categories. Still, it ranked the headlights for certain trims 'Poor.' The IIHS rated front-crash prevention with the standard safety equipment as 'Superior.'
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the C-HR five out of five stars overall in its crash testing.
Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) is standard for all C-HR models, including a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, steering assist, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, and full-speed adaptive cruise control. Other safety gear includes an engine immobilizer, hill-start assist, a tire pressure monitoring system, a brake hold system, a backup camera, and ten airbags. Blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and fog lights are available.
If all-wheel drive and tons of cargo space aren't top of mind, the C-HR offers substantial value with plenty of standard features and safety tech. Toyota does offer a good warranty and a reasonable retail price for the small crossover, but it's not as capable as its competition. Vehicles like the Mazda CX-3 offer more space and a more engaging drive.
The addition of standard Toyota Safety Sense, an eight-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate controls makes the base Toyota C-HR LE trim a steal, with pricing close to $22,500. Moving up to the Toyota C-HR XLE trim adds to the price without adding much to the overall experience. Leather upholstery and other features add luxury, but the fact remains that the C-HR is FWD only and doesn't offer enough rear-seat space to make it a viable family vehicle.
Stepping up to the top C-HR Limited trim moves the MSRP upward to $26,350, but there's enough standard content to keep buyers happy at the base level.
Tech Features: 8/10
Standard tech features include six speakers, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, push-button start, Amazon Alexa compatibility, USB inputs, voice recognition, and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, SiriusXM satellite radio, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, app functionality, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
A premium Audio Plus system is available in higher trim levels, but it only adds HD radio to the mix.
Navigation and other connected features are not offered for the C-HR, but most buyers will be satisfied with the mapping capabilities of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The C-HR is not a vehicle for people who need tons of cargo space or those that need to carry multiple passengers regularly. It's much more of an urban runabout and does that job well. If cargo space is a concern, the Toyota RAV4, Corolla, or Camry offer a better solution with less polarizing styling.
Though classified as a crossover, the C-HR feels much more accurately described as a hatchback car. It's got a short wheelbase, rides low to the ground, and doesn't offer the best interior space.
The lack of available all-wheel drive narrows the C-HR's use case slightly, especially for buyers who live in colder climates where snow is common. That said, the front-wheel-drive that it does have offers good traction and stability for lousy weather.
Styling & Design: 6/10
The C-HR's style can best be described as polarizing. The front end is sharp and busy, and the rear door handles are mounted high on the C-pillar. This decision was enough to keep many buyers away, but the C-HR has its fans.
Things don't get much simpler inside, where the dash and infotainment system is shaped in a futuristic way. The screen is mounted high on the dash and is oriented toward the driver for excellent visibility. The plastic accents on the dash flow in long, uninterrupted lines down each door for a unique and striking visual appeal.
Driving Experience: 7/10
The C-HR's 144 horsepower and CVT don't combine to produce an exhilarating driving experience. The vehicle's weight only adds to the drag on the powertrain. It's at least a quiet and somewhat refined engine and does its job mostly without complaint.
Though it's equipped with a continuously variable transmission, the C-HR's sport mode allows for a pseudo-shift sensation. Still, it's not a particularly useful feature, given the engine's lack of overall power.
The C-HR's suspension system is more advanced than is expected in such a budget-conscious ride. It's able to soak up the worst broken roads and yields tight, accurate steering.
Fuel Efficiency: 7/10
The C-HR lacks a hybrid option. Even with its small size and frugal powertrain, it doesn't manage to deliver impressive fuel economy.
The Toyota's EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings are 27/31/29 mpg city/highway/combined.
The C-HR's main competitors like the Honda HR-V offer all-wheel drive, more powerful drivetrains, and a more engaging driving experience, all while managing to match or beat Toyota's stated fuel economy.