September 06, 2019 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE

The all-new Toyota C-HR (also known as the Compact-High Rider or Coupé-High Rider) is quite a visually fetching sub-compact crossover that is neither a coupé nor a tall vehicle. The extroverted design on its own certainly captures your attention, then when you apply a color palette on top of that like our test unit with the optional Radiant Green Mica R-Code with contrasting white mirrors and roof, the little car screams for attention.

Based on the new excellent modular Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform used in the 4th generation Prius, the C-HR rides and handles exceptionally well thanks to excellent SACHS damping and an independent rear suspension. The US-market vehicles, like our test unit, are built in Sakarya, Turkey and are only offered with one pitifully underpowered 144 bhp 2.0-liter powerplant. Other markets will get the same Hybrid 1.8-liter drivetrain sourced from the Prius, an odd 114bhp 1.2-liter direct injection turbo, the 102 bhp 1.5-liter engine used in the Avanza, and the 132 bhp 1.8-liter from the US-Spec Corolla. The Hybrid powerplant is definitely the one to have for both fuel efficiency and better drivability. Even with the Sport mode enabled via time-consuming navigation through the auxiliary 4.2-in. TFT central multi-information screen that sits between the analog instruments, the C-HR was never quick off the line, thankfully the more usable mid-range power delivery makes up for that deficiency for everyday driving routines. The fact that the little screen can be toggled to also display a G-Force monitor is almost insulting. All of a sudden, our complaints about the Chevrolet Trax being underpowered is revisited and now it feels like a much higher performance crossover when compared to the C-HR which could be the slowest vehicle in its class.

I am reminded of how I felt when I first tested the 86 coupé, over 5 years ago, I recognized and appreciated the quantum effort by Toyota to build fun cars again but I was deeply frustrated with the unnecessarily modest 197 bhp 2.0-liter boxer engine. The C-HR has the appearance, chassis, and handling to support a considerably more potent force-fed powerplant. As a Hybrid, the C-HR would be a very compelling alternative to a Prius Prime since both seat only 4 adults even if the bench in the C-HR can theoretically squeeze a lithe fifth passenger under protest. The front seats are actually very comfortable and spacious but the rear seating is even more compromised than in a Mazda CX-3.

The interior design is highlighted by the abundant and unique textured diamond-finish trim, a pretty good sounding 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment audio system (which grudgingly does not have navigation or popular now user-required Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot) with 6 overachieving speakers, a fresh and modern dashboard, a rear camera imbedded in the rearview mirror much like our old C! Fastfleet Kia Sorento with no other supporting parking sensors, 10 SRS airbags, and the brilliant Toyota Safety Sense™ P suite system (which has the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control).

Opting to pay a bit more for the Premium XLE variant gets you front fog lamps, a smart start-stop ignition, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, more powered adjustability on the front sport bucket seats, and puddle lights, which are not that much. The good-looking Vortex 18-inch x 7-inch alloys are shod with good Dunlop SP Sport 5000 225/50R18 95V all-season tires. At rest, you would think that the Toyota C-HR was a real road scorcher, it certainly has the vociferous overall design but it does not have the engine to motivate it in proportion to its aesthetics. Thankfully once you do break inertia, supported by the very compliant suspension and strong chassis, you can waft along uneventfully which has its own charm in that respect.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4, 1987 cc, dohc 16V, Port Injection, Valvematic, CVT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 144 bhp @ 6100 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 139 lb ft @ 3900 rpm

Performance

Top Speed 190 km/h (118 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 10.8 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 27 mpg City / 31 mpg Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) US$ 24,969.00
What's Great Standout looks, handles and rides better than many sedans, about the same space as a Prius Prime, comfortable front seats.
What's Not So Halogen headlights, no navigation, no front fog lamps though the Premium variant has them, seats only 4 adults, anemic engine.
C! Editors Rating 8.5/10
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