Written & Photographed Ramzi Estephan & Kishan Sondagar
2018 Toyota C-HR : First Impression
At first glimpse it was a little funky, a little quirky, and a little far from the average Toyota. The 2018 C-HR or Coupe High-Rider, is one of those vehicles that can really bring up conversation about a manufacturer outside of the motorsports world. Having ‘coupe’ in its name does not do the C-HR much justice since it is a four-door subcompact crossover which hides its rear door handles in the C-pillar. We, at The Greasy Fix, were lucky enough to get to take the brand new C-HR XLE for the day to take some photos and go for a drive around the streets of Ottawa; this is our first impression.
Upon getting the keys to the uniquely designed C-HR platform, I was very intrigued by the exaggerated body lines that flow through the magnetic grey paint. The compact cross over gives hints of a mixture between the newly designed Rav4 and the Corolla IM with many added touches for a unique look compared to the existing Toyota line up. The front end gives a mean frown with aggressive eyes which reminded us of the Iron Man’s helmet from Marvel comics. Though the front end does seem a little 'over stacked', it ties the large front quarter panels and the hood together very well in a smooth contrast between simplicity and contemporary styling.The roof and body line lead the eyes to the sharp rear end; which resembles that of a modern day sporty mid-sized sedan. The spoiler completes the rear of the C-HR whereas the gurney flap seems to add flare to an area that many don't pay attention to.
As I opened the drivers’ door of the C-HR, my first impression was 'woah', taken by surprise since I was expecting the interior to mimic the complexity of the exterior. The interior seemed to be well thought-out and simple in design compared to other modern vehicles with an overcrowded steering wheel and a center console cluttered with buttons and dials. The material also seemed to give a nice satin like look without seeming to try too hard. Sitting in the drivers’ seat felt very natural; where the center console is angled towards the driver and an easy to read cluster through peripheral vision as well as the 7inch capacitive-touch head unit; which is ideal for being able to keep your eyes on the road instead of looking at your cluster ever so often.
Leaving the Myers Toyota lot in Barrhaven and onto Strandherd Rd, I really got a sense of how much room the interior has. Being 5' 10" left me plenty of head room and a comfortable driving position without having to bend my knees too much. Acceleration down the main road was very smooth due to the CVT’s (continuously variable transmission) seamless shifting. The 2.0L engine which pushes out 144hp didn't lack a lot of power for its function of being a stylish family compact crossover. Only being front wheel drive, there wasn't any torque steer which is great for the everyday driver.
Driving the C-HR around corners felt sturdy as if driving a modern mid-sized sedan: it stayed flat with little body roll in harder corners. Though the chassis did not feel as though it lived up to the exciting exterior, it performs well for what it was designed for; being an everyday commuter car. Being partial designed and tested at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, you could tell a lot of design time was taken into the spring rate and shock rebound. Over minor bumps and our amazing pot hole infested roads, the C-HR tracked straight without any jittering in the steering wheel. The lack of road response was a little alarming due to the electric power steering, but this gives the driver an easy ride.
As for the passengers, there was plenty of leg room and head room. One concern was the small sized rear windows which can give anyone a light sense of claustrophobia. Other than that one issue everything else seemed amazing. The acoustics within the cabin were great, easy to hear all other passengers clearly and without any noticeable sound resonance or echo. Little to no road noise was audible from within the interior especially when equipped in Continental ProContact tires from the dealer. As for wind noise: the insulation from the exterior to interior is great, you can comfortably converse and listen to your music without the constant drone from the wind and road. Trunk space as was more than ideal.
Toyota went all out on the new CH-R, designing and building a vehicle that is safe, comfortably and sporty for any daily commuter in Ottawa.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
BASE PRICE: XLE, $23,460; XLE Premium, $25,310
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, port fuel injection. Displacement: 121 cu in, 1987 cc. Power: 144 hp @ 6100 rpm. Torque: 139 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm
TRANSMISSION: continuously variable automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 103.9 in
Length: 171.2 in
Width: 70.7 in Height: 61.6 in
Passenger volume: 84 cu ft
Cargo volume: 19 cu ft
Curb weight (C/D est): 3300 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
Zero to 100 kph (60 mph): 10.5 sec
Zero to 160 kph (100 mph): 55.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 18.1 sec
Top speed: 168 kph (105 mph)
EPA combined/city/highway driving: 29/27/31 mpg