Toyota’s new C-HR is a highly-styled crossover with a tall stance and loads of expressive character. With its swoops, cut lines and dynamic style, the C-HR is an interesting new vehicle that’s an adventure in design.

While design is the C-HR’s biggest draw, its reasonable price tag is attractive too. The 2018 C-HR starts at just $22,500.

The C-HR, first shown at the Paris Motor Show way back in 2014, is a big step for Toyota. Available in two trims – XLE and XLE Premium – the C-HR has deep, curving character lines that run below slender, rising windows.

The C-pillar in back has hidden-design door handles that allow entry to the rear seats. All in all, I like the design of the C-HR, but it’s the rear end where things get a little dicey for me. The taillamps bulge out from a lower spoiler on the hatch, separate from a larger spoiler on the roof. It just seems too busy. It’s hard to argue with wind flow across the design, though. Aerodynamically, the car is a winner with a 0.34 coefficient of drag.

Toyota likens the design of the C-HR to a polished diamond, saying the vehicle’s silhouette resembles a diamond set on its side. Diamond shapes and accents are a continuing theme inside the car as well. The headliner has distinctive diamond shapes, as do the front door panels.

The interior of the five-passenger C-HR is nice, with comfortable bucket seats covered in durable fabric, as well as soft-touch materials in all the right places. There’s a 7-inch audio display screen with excellent graphics atop the center stack. Audio, climate and vehicle controls were logical and intuitive.

The tilt/telescoping wheel has a slender profile and small diameter. A 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display sits between the twin-ring cluster and shows odometer, SPORT and ECO modes, outside temperature, fuel economy and trip information.

XLE standard features include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with backup camera, an electric parking brake and dual-zone air. XLE Premium adds a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, heated front seats and a smart key system with push button start.

Both trims have a six-speaker AM/FM/HD Radio, a USB port with iPod connectivity, an AUX jack, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and voice recognition with voice training.

Just one engine is offered in the C-HR, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 144 horsepower and 139 lb.-ft. of torque. Combined with a CVT transmission, the C-HR’s performance does not quite live up to its sporty character. On the road, the C-HR has power for normal driving, but if you need to get around an 18-wheeler on a two-lane road, you’d better give yourself plenty of room. Fuel economy, however, is decent at 27 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined.

On the road, the C-HR felt planted and surefooted with little to no body roll in hard corners. Visibility from the driver’s seat was excellent thanks to narrow A-pillars. Headroom in the front seat is 38.1 inches, and even better in Row 2 at 38.3 inches. Second row legroom is 31.7 inches, which was fine for my 6-foot-1 frame. Cargo space is 19 cubic feet behind the second row and 36.4 cubic feet with the second-row seats folded down.

Safety testing on the new C-HR has not yet been completed by the government or the insurance industry, but it comes with 10 airbags and Toyota’s Safety Sense system as standard equipment. Included are forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, and an electric parking brake with a brake hold feature.

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium


2.0-liter 4-cylinder


144/139 lb.-ft.


CVT with shift modes


$24,350 plus $995 in freight

EPA mileage estimates:

27 mpg city/31 mpg highway/29 mpg combined

Estimated highway range:

409 miles