Most automakers involved in the SUV market have launched a compact crossover in recent model years and Toyota’s entry is the C-HR. These vehicles bring the SUV concept to buyers who need something that’s got many of the attributes on an SUV/crossover but don’t want anything close to a large footprint. These products are slightly smaller than what we’ve become used to as a company’s most compact SUV offering and are more suited to urban use thanks to their ease of parking and manoeuvrability. Buyers still get the ruggedness and moderate off-road capability associated with all products in this class except the size and the sticker price.
One thing that stands out on this little rig at first glance is its innovative and quite dramatic styling. It’s a wonderful combination of curves and creases all packed into a small package and managing to look very coordinated.
Despite praise for the original C-HR, Toyota has made a few changes for 2020, including a new front fascia, LED headlamps for all models and several new wheel designs, confirming that in these competitive times, no manufacturer stands still, even if the original design was right on the mark. All three equipment grades – LE, XLE and Premium – add some update or other.
For 2020, the vehicle is Android Auto compatible, adding to the Apple CarPlay capability the C-HR has always had. The top Limited model, which always had heated, leather trimmed, front seats and ambient lighting, now boasts an 8-way driver’s seat, adaptive front lighting and headlamp auto levelling. With the adaptive lighting, the headlight point into turns, aiding night driving safety.
The C-HR is great fun to drive and when you find a parking spot, you know it’s going to be very easy to back into thanks to the compact size.
On the mechanical front, the vehicle comes with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder producing a decent 144-horsepower. A continuously variable transmission is used. All-wheel drive is not available for this little crossover, but it has several stability control and electronic traction systems built into it and there should be no problem with moderate gravel and dirt roads. It’s more of an urban runabout than a full off-roader. Toyota has other vehicles on offer for that role.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: 4-door and hatch compact crossover
ENGINE: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 10-secs
FUEL ECONOMY: 8.2-litres/100 km combined (est.)
PRICE: Starts at $23,650 MSRP