2018 Toyota C-HR

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$22,500

starting MSRP

2018 Toyota C-HR
2018 Toyota C-HR

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Edgy styling
  • Interior materials, design
  • Remarkably roomy cabin
  • Standard safety features

The bad:

  • Rear visibility
  • Rear doors' small windows
  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto connectivity not offered
  • Satellite radio, navigation not offered
  • Cargo room
  • Noise
  • Backup camera is in rearview mirror

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2018 Toyota C-HR trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • New for 2018
  • Seats five
  • Four-cylinder
  • Continuously variable automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Automatic emergency braking standard

2018 Toyota C-HR review: Our expert's take

By Jennifer Geiger

The verdict: The CH-R injects a shot of caffeinated style into Toyota’s otherwise sleepy lineup and offers an impressive list of standard safety features, but major driving and multimedia shortcomings stand out.

Versus the competiton: The C-HR outshines like-minded vehicles in terms of style but lacks the features and utility to rise above other subcompact hatchbacks and SUVs.  

The C-HR originally debuted as a Scion concept from Toyota’s now-defunct youth-oriented brand. After some retooling, it resurfaced at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show under the Toyota badge, but its target audience hasn’t changed: young millennial-generation buyers.

The Toyota C-HR is slightly smaller than the Toyota RAV4; rather, it the same size as subcompact SUVs like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax. Compare all four here.

What Is It?

I’m not exactly sure what the C-HR is, and Toyota’s explanation only muddies the waters. C-HR stands for Coupe-High Rider, and designers said it’s meant to combine elements of a coupe and an SUV. The fastback roofline and hidden rear door handles nail the coupe angle, but the SUV ingredients are less genuine. It sits higher off the ground than a traditional car and wears large, 18-inch wheels standard as well as rugged-looking fenders and body cladding, but it’s all for show: All-wheel drive is unavailable, making it more hatchback than SUV.

One thing it is, though, is striking. Stimulating styling is not a Toyota hallmark, but the C-HR bucks that trend — for better or worse. From some viewpoints, it looks like an awkward pile of elbows and knees; it even earned a spot recently on our ugly cars list. From other angles, though, it looks modern and edgy. It retained much of the concept car’s radical styling, including its raked roofline, sharp angles and slicing bodyside character lines. Toyota further amped up the rear with protruding, boomerang taillights and an aggressive wing spoiler.

Do You Want to Drive It?

Lower your expectations. Despite all its styling flash, the Toyota C-HR fizzles on the road. Its sole powertrain is a 144-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission. Takeoffs are adequate but definitely not lively, and the CVT is stingy in spooling out more power for passing and merging. Sport mode makes the Toyota C-HR feel more responsive and keeps engine rpm higher for better acceleration. It also firms up the steering for a weightier feel, but the effect is still too docile, too Corolla-like, for something with such sporty intentions. In Japan, the C-HR is available with a turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive — a combo that would no doubt increase the fun factor.

I could live with the mediocre muscle if it weren’t for the powertrain’s monotonous groaning and droning. It’s quite loud in other respects, as well, especially on the highway: There’s a lot of wind noise, partly due to its un-aerodynamic body, and road noise is also loud. Overall road manners on the highway are pleasant, however, with a comfortable ride and handling balance. Bumps are effectively damped, and the C-HR maintains composure in corners — but, again, I wouldn’t call it sporty.

In terms of fuel economy, the Toyota C-HR is mid-pack among other subcompact SUVs. It’s EPA-rated at 27/31/29 mpg city/highway/combined. Automatic, front-wheel-drive versions of the Honda HR-V are rated 28/34/31 mpg, while the Jeep Renegade is 22/30/25 mpg and Chevrolet Trax is 25/33/28 mpg.

All Scion Inside

Should You Buy It?

The Toyota C-HR appeals only to a limited pool of buyers: those who prioritize both break-the-mold styling and safety features, as the latter is where it earns some major points. The base XLE model is $23,460, including destination. Yes, that’s more than base 2WD versions of the HR-V ($20,405), Trax ($21,895) and Renegade ($19,090), but the C-HR is well-equipped with loads of standard safety features — many of which aren’t even available elsewhere in this class. Forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control are all standard. It has not yet been crash-tested, however.

The XLE Premium is $25,310 and adds heated front seats, a power lumbar adjustment for the driver’s seat, puddle lamps, foglights, push-button start and a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert. One more oddity in the features department: A backup camera is standard, but its tiny image is displayed in the rearview mirror instead of the multimedia screen — an antiquated and unhelpful setup.

Millennials like weird things — you can thank a pair of them for creating the dating app Tinder — but in the case of the Toyota C-HR, they’ll likely want something with character that’s more than just skin-deep.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 4.6
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value for the money 4.6
  • Exterior styling 4.9
  • Reliability 4.8

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Love my 2018 CHR XLE Premium

I drove a 2018 RAV 4 for one year before trading it in for the CHR. I really liked the RAV4, but it always felt just a little too big for me. I like smaller cars even though I am almost 6 foot tall! I should have driven the CHR before purchasing the RAV4 - I looked at it initially and thought it would not be roomy enough for me, boy was I wrong :) I am so in love with my CHR and plan on keeping it until I have to drive it like Fred Flintstone with my feet !!!LOL Thanks Toyota for making such a fun car to drive. - Can't say enough good things about it.

5.0

Best Vehicle I Have Ever Owned

The exterior styling is superior to any other brand. The body lines and sharp features were what made my gravitate to this vehicle. The interior is very comfortable with superior seat fabrics and sporty seats. Although it's not the quickest vehicle on the market, the overall acceleration is very average and has a much quieter cabin over other vehicles in it's class.

2.4

Least Reliable Car to Buy

Have gone into the dealership three times before hitting 36,000 miles to fix manufacturer defects all relating to the powertrain (engine and transmission). It used to make power, now it doesn't again, and we've got to go in a fourth time... a car that costs as much as this should not be as defective as it is.

See all 196 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Toyota
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
7 years/less than 85,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12, 000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
160- or 174-point inspections
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2017

Honda HR-V

$19,465

starting MSRP

2019

Hyundai Kona

$19,990

starting MSRP

2019

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

$20,140

starting MSRP

See all 2018 Toyota C-HR articles