The 2021 Toyota C-HR is a fun-sized, entry-level SUV packed with safety features and technology, and its stylish design makes you look good on the road. Some elements of the design are nice upgrades from earlier designs of the C-HR.
For this year’s edition, you get Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 no matter which trim you prefer. And there are plenty of trims to choose from. Whatever your choice, you’re guaranteed to get nice estimated gas mileage for a great price.
What Is the Toyota C-HR?
The Toyota C-HR is a relatively new model, dating back only to 2016, with sales in North America beginning in early 2017. The “C-HR” stands for Compact High Rider and Cross Hatch Run-about. The model was launched as part of the company’s Toyota New Global Architecture program to design ever-better cars. Originally, the North American edition was to be launched under Toyota’s Scion brand, but Scion was discontinued in 2016.
Over the years, more trims, including more safety features, have been added to the selection. Toyota’s signature safety features now come standard.
With its low price, this car is a great option if you are a first-time car buyer or only want to do some light driving. You won’t have to sacrifice style or convenience either. Prices start at $21,600 MSRP for the cheapest trim.
What Is Under the Hood of the Toyota C-HR?
You won’t have to decide between engine types. All four trims—the LE, XLE, Nightshade, and Limited—are powered by a two-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 144 horsepower at 6,100 revolutions per minute. The major drawback is that the engine lacks an all-wheel drive; it comes only with a front-wheel drive. If you get a lot of snow or other harsh weather where you live, or you want to drive off-road, you may want to consider other options.
You may also want to look elsewhere if you need speed and power. As sleek and stylish as the C-HR is, its acceleration is somewhat weaker than that of many competitors. The engine does provide a nice responsive throttle. It also recovers rather quickly from road imperfections like uneven pavement.
What you get is a comfortable, easy-to-control experience but with lackluster speed and acceleration.
A key selling point is the excellent gas mileage. You get 27 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. If you like taking long road trips, the C-HR may be a good option.
What Is the Interior of the Toyota C-HR Like?
The appealing design of the interior of this car is one of its key selling points. The steering wheel is padded with premium leather and the gear shift is padded with satin, giving you a combination of luxury and sportiness.
If you choose the Limited model, you get leather seats that provide great all-around comfort. If you want hints of blue, you get it in the XLE: a black fabric interior with a blue accent across the dashboard. Park it in direct sunlight for a lovely metallic glaze. The LE and the Nightshade trims have black interiors with gunmetal and silver accents, respectively. Consider the color of the exterior when choosing the trim so that you can decide which color combination is best for you. The C-HR is available in black, metallic blue, supersonic red, bronze, pearl, and metallic gray.
The size of the C-HR is a major downside if you plan to carry many passengers. It is designed to seat up to five people, but the three in the back seat will feel cramped. Part of the problem is that the floors are higher than the floors of other cars. Also, some drivers have reporting difficulty seeing the back; so you may benefit from blind-spot monitoring.
If you need the car for long journeys, the trunk space isn’t very impressive either. Putting the back seats down does give you plenty of space. Even so, other cars in the same class offering more cargo space[.1] .
But the C-HR is subcompact crossover; you can’t expect very much space.
What Is the Technology of the Toyota C-HR Like?
Through almost seamless technology, you can connect your iPhone or Android to your C-HR using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto[.2] . As a bonus, you get SiriusXM free for three months.
Thanks to Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, the safety-related tech features of the C-HR are superior to those of many other vehicles. Safety Sense gives you automatic high beams, lane departure warnings with active steering, adaptive cruise control, and low-light pedestrian detection. The auto emergency braking stops the car if it senses an impending collision.
Because its design enables the C-HR to perform fantastically in crash tests, the car has received superior ratings in front-crash prevention tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Injury measurements were noticeably low, which means that the test dummies were not much damaged by test collisions. The C-HR has also received five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an improvement; last year’s model missed out on the high safety rating because of poor headlamps.
Our Take on the Toyota C-HR
If you’re looking for a safe car, the C-HR is a decent option. Try to get the XLE trim, which gives you the best bang for your buck of the four trims that are available. Although the LE is popular because of its price tag, spending a few hundred more for the XLE is well worth it.
If you live in a region with a rough climate or you often have many passengers, you may want to consider other options. The Toyota RAV4 is a good choice if you can do without the compact size.