It hasn’t been that long since Toyota first introduced the funky C-HR. Amid the growing subcompact crossover segment, Toyota’s entry joined the ranks as a 2017 model. 2019 brings a few updates for the C-HR, but the car is still largely similar to what we first saw. Still, it’s a good opportunity for us to see what’s good, bad and weird about the 2019 Toyota C-HR.
Toyota definitely took some risks in the styling department with the 2019 Toyota C-HR. The car looks aggressive and certainly different from much else on the road. Some design features that stand out include the big headlights with LED daytime running lights. There is a particular body line down the side of the C-HR that cuts downward and then flows upwards towards the rear of the car. The tail lights even stick out. The chunky shape noticeably protrudes from the rest of the body. Of course, the back end also features a small spoiler and, much to my surprise, no prominent exhaust tips. Some manufacturers would use fake tips, but Toyota just made the real pipe exit under the bumper.
While the styling is certainly different, and pretty fun in my opinion, there is one crucial issue that comes as a result. Take a look through the rear-view mirror and you are greeted with pretty terrible rearwards visibility. The C-Pillars are massive and the rear glass is tiny, making for a difficult view out the back.
Under the hood is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 144 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Frankly, the powertrain is one of the biggest let downs on the C-HR. 144 horsepower is really not a lot, and the car is pretty slow as a result. However, on the flip side, fuel economy is decent, if not earth-shattering. The 2019 Toyota C-HR manages 27 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined, according to the EPA.
Though, when you compare those MPG figures to the competition, things seem a little less great. The competition in question is most directly the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, and the Nissan Kicks. The MPG figures of which can be seen below (for front-wheel drive models):
Each of the C-HR’s competitors manage 2-4 MPG better. Apart from the mild MPG disappointment, however, there’s a big problem with the current C-HR. It’s particularly noticeable if you live, say, in Colorado during a snowstorm.
Frankly, I wish Toyota would sell the 2019 Toyota C-HR with all-wheel drive as an option. For those of us who live in places with snowy winters, AWD provides some great peace of mind. That said, the C-HR did perform pretty well on a snowy day in Colorado. It would just be nice to have that extra peace of mind.
Ride & Handling
Despite the pokey engine, the C-HR does have a pretty nice suspension setup. MacPherson struts in the front, multi-link in the rear and the results are quite entertaining. Of course, this is no sports car, but there is an element of toss-ability that makes the C-HR pretty fun to drive. Much to my ear’s pleasure, road noise is hardly noticeable in the C-HR. However, the CVT does tend to drone when you get it on the highway.
The C-HR is, when everything’s said and done, a crossover. That helps when it comes down to practicality. My 6-foot-2 self had no issues with space inside the cabin, both in the front and back seats. I figured the sloping roofline would negatively affect cabin space, but Toyota managed this well.
Open the trunk and you are greeted with 19 cu-ft of storage space. Fold the rear seats and that number jumps to 36.4 cu-ft. There is plenty of room to fit your things, and your friends.
One of the major updates for the C-HR comes in the tech department. Now, every C-HR comes with some form of Toyota’s Entune 3.0 infotainment screen. That is an 8-inch touchscreen that features Apple CarPlay connectivity. Unfortunately, Entune 3.0 still does not support Android Auto at this point.
The other part of the technology package has to be Toyota Safety Sense – P. This is a version of Toyota’s driver safety and enhancement suite. Though it is not the latest version (Toyota Safety Sense 2.0) TSS-P does still come with pedestrian detection, automatic high-beams, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist.
The exterior isn’t the only part of the C-HR that got some funky styling cues. Take a look at the interior and you find some really interesting design features. The one that stuck me instantly was the large, matte blue trim piece that stretches across the dash and into the door cards. Of course, there is also the textured grey plastic inserts and a really interesting diamond pattern that presents itself throughout the cabin.
Just like on the exterior, I think Toyota’s use of quirky design paid off. The C-HR has an interior that is functional, but also fun to be in and interact with.
Interestingly, Toyota reduced the base price of the C-HR for 2019. In 2018 the base trim started at $22,500. However, for 2019 that base price has dropped down to $20,945. It makes sense, given the C-HR’s competitors. In fact, here’s how their starting MSRPs stack up:
Mazda CX-3: $20,390
Honda HR-V: $20,520
Nissan Kicks: $18,540
Our tester is an XLE trim with some options, which brought the final price-tag up to $24,710. The 2019 Toyota C-HR, as a result, feels like a really good value for money, despite being a little pricier than its competitors.
Certainly, the C-HR is a mixed bag of good, bad & weird features. Yes, it is rather slow. Yes, the MPG isn’t quite as good as the competition. But overall, I am very pleased with the C-HR. I was particularly glad to see Toyota take some risks in the design department. Particularly because I think it paid off for them in the case of the 2019 Toyota C-HR.
Of course, we want to hear what you guys think as well. Please drop a comment down below and tell us what you think of the 2019 Toyota C-HR. To hear the rest of my thoughts, be sure to watch the whole video.
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