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Fun and Functional: 2019 Toyota C-HR Limited Test Drive

When Toyota launched its subcompact C-HR for the 2018 model year, there was no hiding the fact that this model was originally destined to be part of the Scion lineup with its mono-spec, single-trim configuration. The 2019 Toyota C-HR takes care of that by adding a lineup of traditional trim levels including the new, lower-priced base LE model as well as a fully loaded Limited model (replacing the XLE Premium). Along with new trim levels, the C-HR also gets upgraded cabin content resulting in a surprisingly well-equipped vehicle even if you’re looking at the base model. For this review, we see how the 2019 Toyota C-HR Limited stacks up against top versions of the Nissan Kicks, Honda HR-V, Ford EcoSport and Mazda CX-3.

Toyota C-HR

2019 Toyota C-HR Exterior

The naming of the 2019 Toyota C-HR stands for “Coupe High Rider,” and this look is accomplished with hidden handles on the rear doors and gray cladding along the lower edges to give the visual appearance of a higher, crossover-like ride height. The C-HR’s design reveals a
sporty profile and bulging wheel arches, which makes this subcompact just aggressive enough to get noticed without looking too over the top or busy. I liken the overall design to the quirky and funky Hyundai Veloster. Love it or hate it, the C-HR has a pleasantly unique look to distinguish itself from a sea of subcompact competitors.

When it comes to the expanded range of trim levels, there are only minor distinctions that set each model apart. All trim get the body-colored rear spoiler and sporty fascia designs, but the XLE and Limited add 18-inch alloy wheels and power-folding door mirrors with puddle lights that feature the C-HR logo. This 2019 Toyota C-HR Limited comes standard with LED fog lights, blacked-out B-pillar, chrome beltline molding and the subtle red C-HR garnish in the rear bumper, while this tester was painted in the optimal ($500) R-Code two-tone paint job with a gloss black roof over the Ruby Flare Pearl body.

Toyota C-HR

2019 Toyota C-HR Interior

The biggest improvement made to the 2019 Toyota C-HR was the upgraded infotainment screen. All trim levels now get an eight-inch display (compared to the 2018’s seven-inch display) with a cleaner layout of buttons and knobs, and it also incorporates Apple CarPlay as standard equipment. My favorite change, though, was the backup camera display being moved to this large central screen instead of the small, grainy display in the rearview mirror.

In terms of technology, the 2019 C-HR is about par for the segment. XLE and Limited models come with Entune 3.0 Audio Plus with App Suite, which are a step up from the base infotainment system with Toyota Connected Services and Wi-Fi Connect (connect up to five devices using a 4G LTE hotspot). The Limited also adds a new Entune 3.0 Premium Audio multimedia system option ($1,040) that adds Destination Assist Connect and Dynamic Navigation, and our tester was fitted with this package.

It’s the details that make the C-HR not feel like a bargain-priced subcompact with standard features that include the stitched appearance on the upper instrument panel trim and one-touch automatic up and down function for all four windows – a feature that some luxury-branded vehicles don’t deliver. The Limited also gets leather seating, heated front seats, driver seat power lumbar, leather-wrapped steering wheel and Smart Key keyless entry with push-button start. My only complaint about this cabin is the cheap look and feel of the black plastic accents on the steering wheel.

Being a subcompact, small interior dimensions are to be expected, but this cabin doesn’t come off as feeling cramped. There is plenty of room for five passengers to be comfortable, and the cargo area behind the rear seats can accommodate 19 cubic feet of cargo; fold the rear seats down and cargo capacity almost doubles to 36.4 cubic.

Toyota C-HR

2019 Toyota C-HR Powertrain
The 2019 Toyota C-HR uses a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 144 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque, and this engine is paired to a continuously variable transmission with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 27 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway*. While you won’t find many complaints with this powertrain setup, there are two major downfalls of the C-HR: it lacks an all-wheel drive option and it’s heavy. For comparison, FWD versions of the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V are 500 pounds 400 pounds lighter, respectively, than the 2019 Toyota C-HR.

Sure, the 2019 Toyota C-HR has its flaws, but when it comes down to meeting the needs of its ideal drivers, that’s where this crossover really shines. The C-HR is a perfect urban vehicle being affordable, easy to park and fun to drive around town, while the suspension tuning and standard acoustic windshield result in an impressively smooth and quiet ride.

Toyota C-HR

2019 Toyota C-HR Safety

Safety is paramount in the subcompact crossover segment, and the 2019 Toyota C-HR performs flawlessly with a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All trims come standard with 10 standard airbags including a driver’s side knee airbag and a front passenger seat cushion airbag. During a collision, the seat cushion airbag (mounted under the seat bottom) raises up the front part of the seat bottom to help keep the passenger in place to avoid submarining. The Toyota Safety Sense P suite of safety is also standard with features such as Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

Toyota C-HR

2019 Toyota C-HR Overall

Whether you think of it as a coupe, a crossover or a hatchback, the 2019 Toyota C-HR is a fun and functional subcompact. We were impressed with our first experience with the C-HR after its debut last year, but the 2019 C-HR is an even more solid choice in this popular – and growing – segment thanks to a broader trim offering and upgraded content. Even better, the 2019 Toyota C-HR is now priced even lower with a base MSRP of $20,995**, which is a $1,505 discount compared to 2018 (where the base model was the XLE trim). Add in the Limited trim level and this tester’s optional equipment, and you have an as-tested price of $29,643. Now, that’s about $5,000 more than the 2018 C-HR XLE Premium we tested last year, but it’s also a comparable price to other fully loaded subcompact CUVs the C-HR is pitted against.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Toyota dealership and test drive the 2019 Toyota C-HR today!

* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

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