Toyota, as always, is adjusting its lineup to reflect consumer tastes. The C-HR (Coupe, High-Rider) serves as the entry point to the company’s extensive crossover lineup.
Unlike most Toyotas, this one has an edgy if not funky design, that includes curves, sharp edges and elements of coupe, crossover and hatchback.
Visual updates for the 2020 model year included new wheel designs and a new front clip with slim LED headlights. Other updates included both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The edgy design of the 2021 Toyota C-HR stands out among other Toyota products but unique style comes at a price
The C-HR is a five-door hatchback but handles for the rear doors are hidden high up in the wide C-Pillar, adding to the coupe-like look.
The crossover portion of the design is achieved by jacking up the suspension for additional ground clearance. This is a visual ploy as the C-HR is only available as a front-driver. All-wheel drive is not available.
Although there are four doors and belts for five, rear seat space is best left for four. Legroom back there is also restricted by the size of the vehicle. Toyota has a variety of larger vehicles if rear seat space is a primary requirement.
As expected in a vehicle this size, cargo space is not exactly generous. It has however, been carefully designed and executed. There are little storage areas on the side and beneath the floor, a quartet of tie-downs, hook for grocery bags, and a standard cargo cover to thwart prying eyes.
The unique style comes at a price. The wide C-Pillar restricts rear visibility, and rear seat occupants will find the narrow windows limit their view. The only folks who might fit comfortably back there – youngsters – may find the outside handles hard to reach.
The C-HR is available in LE ($24,150); XKE Premium ($26,750); and Limited ($29,350) trim levels. All are powered by a 2.0-litre four sending up to 144-horsepower to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Sustained full throttle application results in more noise than the performance warrants
The resultant performance is, to be kind, adequate. The CVT can be fooled into behaving as if it has seven actual gears by selecting “Sport”. But that’s as close to sporty as this vehicle gets. Regardless of mode, sustained full throttle application results in more noise than the performance warrants. Your patience may be tested, but will pay off in great fuel economy.
The upside is that you can thrash the little devil, ‘shifting’ the simulate gears with little fear of getting into trouble with the law!
Surprising slew of standard features included
The tester was the base LE model. It came with a set of features not expected from a sub-$25K vehicle at the bottom rung of the trim ladder: 20-centimetre infotainment touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, remote keyless entry, dual zone automatic climate control, power windows and locks and the aforementioned LED headlights.
Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 rounds out the standard features, which includes: full-speed dynamic cruise control, automatic high beams, pre-collision system with pedestrian and bicycle detection, lane departure alert with lane tracing assist and road edge detection.
The only reminder that content was a consideration in keeping the price low is the amount of hard plastic visible from the front seats.
Price, practicality and stand-out styling are reason enough to consider the C-HR. Add in Toyota’s reputation for quality, reliability and resale and the C-HR becomes even more attractive.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2021 Toyota C-HR LE
As tested: $26,175 including freight
Lane tracing assist, pre collision system with pedestrian and bicycle detection, dynamic cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and road edge detection, LED headlights
20-cm touchscreen, six speaker audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
Remote keyless entry, power windows, dual zone automatic climate control
Premium paint, $255
2.0-litre four-cylinder, 144-horsepower, 139 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel. Continuously Variable Transmission, front-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 8.7/7.5
Length, 4,532 mm; width, 1,796 mm; wheelbase, 2,642 mm; weight, 1,500 kg.
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