2018 Toyota C-HR

2018 Toyota C-HR Review

The C-HR's distinctive styling and sporty handling make it a fun pick for a subcompact crossover.
3 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

It's no secret that Americans don't buy hatchbacks and station wagons en masse anymore. But the last two decades have revealed that people really like them if they ride a bit higher, have optional all-wheel drive and look more like an SUV — i.e., a crossover. The outrageously successful Toyota RAV4 is a prime example, and now Toyota is hoping you'll have a similar affinity toward the all-new 2018 Toyota C-HR.

The C-HR is smaller and more affordable than the RAV4. In fact, it was originally developed for Toyota's now-defunct Scion brand, which largely explains the C-HR's flamboyant styling and sporty handling. These two key attributes, along with the extensive list of standard safety features, are the main reasons to consider the C-HR in our opinion.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Toyota C-HR as one of Edmunds' Best Small SUVs for this year.



what's new

The 2018 Toyota C-HR is all-new for 2018.

we recommend

The Toyota C-HR is well-equipped in its base XLE form, with automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control and traffic-adapting cruise control all standard. Considering the C-HR's high starting price (compared to the rest of the class), you might be wary of paying more for the XLE Premium, our recommended trim. But it doesn't cost much more than the XLE and includes desirable features such as heated front seats and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert. We think it's worth paying just a little more for the luxury and safety additions.

trim levels & features

The 2018 Toyota C-HR comes in just two trim levels, though you do get a lot of standard features on both. The well-equipped base XLE comes loaded with just about everything the C-HR has to offer. Stepping up to the XLE Premium involves a relatively modest price bump and adds a few more luxury and safety features. Though there are no stand-alone factory options, a number of dealer-installed accessories are available, including a roof rack and cargo storage solutions.

Every C-HR is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (144 horsepower, 139 pound-feet of torque) matched to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Standard features on the XLE include 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights with automatic high-beam control, LED daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, remote locking and unlocking, a driver information display, adjustable driving modes, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, height-adjustable front seats, a 60/40-split rear seat, a cargo cover, a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system with HD radio and a USB port. Several advanced safety and convenience features are also standard, including traffic-adapting cruise control, brake hold at stoplights, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning and intervention.

Upgrading to the XLE Premium trim gets you foglights, keyless entry and ignition, power-folding mirrors, heated front seats with two-way power lumbar for the driver, and  blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium (2.0L inline-4 | CVT | FWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.0 / 5.0

Driving

3.0 / 5.0

Acceleration1.0 / 5.0
Braking3.0 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling4.0 / 5.0
Drivability3.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration2.0 / 5.0
Climate control3.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Driving position2.5 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0
Quality3.0 / 5.0

Utility

2.5 / 5.0

Small-item storage2.5 / 5.0
Cargo space2.5 / 5.0

Technology

2.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation2.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration2.0 / 5.0
Driver aids3.0 / 5.0
Voice control2.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
There's no getting around it: The C-HR is slow. You really need to plan your moves in advance because there's a long delay before it starts moving. Once underway, acceleration is weak. That's really too bad because otherwise it's a dynamically capable little crossover.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The C-HR is one of the slowest vehicles we've tested, taking a considerable 10.6 seconds to reach 60 mph. Acceleration is characterized by a long hesitation between a pedal stomp and any forward motion. This is true whether you're stopped or trying to pass slower traffic on the highway.

braking

edmunds rating
Coming to a stop from 60 mph required 119 feet, which is about average for cars in this class. In panic-braking tests, we experienced moderate nosedive and some residual bounce, but the C-HR tracked straight and remained controllable. In everyday driving, the brakes operate just as you'd expect.

steering

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There's not much feedback coming through the wheel, but it feels direct and accurate in a sporty kind of way. At parking lot speeds, the effort is appropriately low and weights up as speeds increase. Sport mode makes effort a little too heavy.

handling

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We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the C-HR is somewhat entertaining to drive on a twisty road, even with a not very powerful engine and a lack of grip from low-rolling-resistance tires. There's noticeable tire squeal under moderate cornering, and the tires really howl when pushed harder.

drivability

edmunds rating
The small footprint and turning radius make it easy to maneuver the C-HR into tight spaces. The transmission works fine, but it's relatively unremarkable. Though the C-HR is classified as a subcompact crossover, the low chin spoiler scrapes on parking blocks and many driveways.

comfort

edmunds rating
In terms of overall comfort, the C-HR is pretty good, but the amount of noise that makes its way into the cabin is a letdown. Over a long trip, that noise can add to the fatigue factor. Everything else seems to be well-executed in this regard.

seat comfort

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Even though there aren't a lot of adjustments, the front seats offer good padding and support to keep occupants comfortable over several hours. The fabric upholstery also breathes well in hot weather, eliminating the need for ventilation or cooling.

ride comfort

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For the most part, the C-HR delivers a comfortable ride. Smaller road imperfections are smoothed over as well as they are in other small SUVs, but there's a little jostling over moderate undulations.

noise & vibration

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The C-HR is loud inside. There's a noticeable amount of wind noise, even below highway speeds. Road noise is also present and increases at higher speeds and over coarse asphalt. The engine drones like a wounded cow under hard acceleration, and we noted an annoying rattle in the back of the cabin.

climate control

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The simple controls for the dual-zone climate control make it easy to operate, and the overall performance is good. Once the system was set, we never felt the need to readjust it.

interior

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The C-HR's interior is reasonably attractive thanks to a rather simple layout. It can accommodate adult passengers in all seats, though there are some drawbacks for taller drivers and rear passengers. Despite a few issues, we think most drivers will be fine with the interior over the long run.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The C-HR's simple layout is attractive, and the main controls are easy to operate for the most part. Some of the more advanced features, such as adaptive cruise control, were a little more difficult to figure out. Some staffers mentioned having to consult the owner's manual.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
Front passengers have easy seat access afforded by a slightly higher seating position, which makes slipping into the cabin a breeze. There's no climbing up or stooping down. Rear passengers need to dip their heads a little to clear the sloping roofline, a trade-off of the C-HR's sporty styling.

driving position

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The steering wheel doesn't telescope back far enough, even for average-size drivers. As a result, you have to sit closer and more upright than preferred. Drivers smaller of stature should be just fine.

roominess

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There's more interior space than you'd expect from such a small crossover. There's plenty of room up front in all dimensions. The rear seats can indeed hold regular adults in decent comfort. But the thick rear roof pillar and high windows might feel a little claustrophobic.

visibility

edmunds rating
Outward visibility is excellent thanks to the thin and well-profiled front roof pillars. The rear window is big enough to see all you need despite the big rear pillars. And there's very little guesswork when backing into a space so you won't have to rely on the tiny rearview monitor.

quality

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The interior is well-designed and uses quality materials that exceed expectations for the class. Were it not for an annoying rattle in the back of the car, this score could have been higher.

utility

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It should come as no surprise that subcompact crossovers are limited when it comes to cargo capacity, but the C-HR has one of the smallest maximum spaces in the class. You'd be better off thinking of it as a raised hatchback rather than a crossover.

small-item storage

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There's an acceptable amount of storage for your personal items, with small door pockets, decent-size cupholders, and a center armrest bin that is about average in size. The typical smart storage solutions that Toyota is known for are absent.

cargo space

edmunds rating
With the rear seats in place, you have 19 cubic feet of cargo space, which splits the difference between the C-HR's primary competition. The maximum capacity is 36.4 cubes, which is significantly smaller than any other subcompact crossover.

child safety seat accomodation

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LATCH anchors are easily accessed, but a rear-facing child seat will require you to move the front passenger seat well forward.

technology

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Toyota on the whole has been lagging behind the competition when it comes to technology, and the C-HR is an example. It lacks the smartphone integration that rivals include as standard. But it does offer more advanced safety features and driver assistance.

audio & navigation

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The audio system in the C-HR is decent but not at all impressive. It lacks some bass overall, but clarity is acceptable. The touchscreen mounted atop the dash is easy to read at a glance and operate with minimal distraction, too.

smartphone integration

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Puzzlingly, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not offered. With no factory navigation available, this is even more odd to us because the touchscreen only controls audio. On top of that, we experienced occasional slowdowns in the system's response.

driver aids

edmunds rating
We never had any frontal collision warnings, which either means it's well-tuned or not working (we're inclined to think it is working). Adaptive cruise control works well and operates down to a stop. The lane-keeping system is also good, but it only alerts you and doesn't steer you back in line.

voice control

edmunds rating
The voice controls worked pretty well, but considering that the system only operates the audio and phone, it's acceptable at best.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.