2019 Toyota C-HR Review

Written by Anqoinette Crosby

Flying into DC’s recent deep freeze, I was anxious to land and get to long term parking to see how well the subcompact crossover 2019 Toyota CH-R could handle the dicey weather conditions. While the exterior design sizzles, it’s what was underneath the edgy styling that mattered most for my drive home.


As I asked the little Toyota to ramp up a bit of speed to merge us into the DC Beltway’s briskly moving traffic on the, I noticed acceleration was somewhat lagging. In part, that’s due to the C-HR's powertrain. The 144-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine isn’t quite up to the task. Further, it protested my  request rather noisly.


However, once I exited the Beltway and drove onto the District’s untreated icy roads, the CH-R’s front wheel drive powertrain was a Godsend. The athletic Toyota handled extremely well, giving me superb traction and confidence on the slippery streets. I particularly appreciated the smoothness afforded by the continuously variable transmission in these conditions as well. With no pauses between gear changes, I was able to maintain steady momentum. This was a real plus with traction at a minimum. 


Also drawing the cute little CH-R closer to my heart was its impressive roster of safety equipment. These included a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, radar-based dynamic cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and automatic high beams. An impressive array of kit at this price point, it’s all part of the Toyota Safety Sense standard package.


The C-HR comes in three trims: LE, XLE, and Limited. Introduced as an all-new model in 2018, the C-HR debuted notable tech improvements including standard Apple CarPlay and available navigation and satellite radio for 2019.  However, Android Auto was not available at the time of this writing (January 2019).


My LE tester also offered some nice comfort and convenience features; including remote keyless entry, a leather-wrapped shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control and heated outside mirrors. The easy-to-use Entune infotainment system had an eight-inch touch screen interface, voice recognition, six-speakers, a USB port and Bluetooth.


Interestingly, while the CH-R’s exterior styling is dramatic, the interior layout is simple and minimalist. The six-way manually adjustable front seats were comfy and upholstered in a nice grade of fabric. Accommodations were pretty roomy up front, but average-sized passengers riding in the back felt confined. And, while they contributed much to the edgy appearance of the little Toyota, the teeny weeny rear windows exacerbated the enclosed sensation. 


On the other hand, my large suitcase, a carry on and a rolling briefcase fit handily  into the 19 cubic feet cargo area. Had I folded the rear seats flat I would have had a total of 36.4 cubic feet with which to work.


All in all, as personal transportation Toyota’s CH-R showed considerable promise. It’s good looking, handles easily, and and is comfortable enough for two people. The C-HR  (which, by the way stands for Coupe- High Rider) will swallow more than its fair share of cargo.  What’s more, to make up for its lack of urgency in the engine compartment, the tiny Toyota CUV it offers reasonable fuel economy , registering 27 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway.,


Pricing starts at $20,995.

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