Born In Paris
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – The first drive of our week with the C-HR came on a day with gusty winds that prompted all kinds of weather warnings.
A perfect chance to see how this controversially styled small SUV stood up to howling cross winds of up to 50 mph that were roaring across open pastures along Route 340 en route to historic Harpers Ferry, WVA.
In short, it handled those challenges with nary a wander out of its assigned lane as operators of high sided vans fought to stay on their selected course.
Hmm, maybe there is something to this design?
The C-HR sports a 2.0 liter four with 144 hp @ 6,100 rpm with 139 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 tied to a CVT. It needs more get up and go.
Merging on to fast moving highways requires planning as does any passing of slow moving trucks and agricultural equipment on rural roads.
One can manually select gears (?) via the shift lever, but no noticeable improvement was detected.
Economy wise however, the picture brightens.
On 87 octane, the EPA predicts 27 city, 31 highway, for a combined 29 mpg. On a day long trip, 35 mpg was recorded. The 13.2 gallon tank was a quick fill at a pit stop.
Now let’s peek inside.
Front seat passengers have ample room, and two shorter adults can fit in back, but mind the low slung roof design. In other words, duck a little.
The XLE Premium Package brought forth among other items, heated front seat with driver’s power lumbar adjustment, puddle lamps, push button start, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Fog Lights, and folding rear view mirrors. Standard Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control was a nice touch at this price range.
Missing was Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
It did take some getting used to – the backup camera appeared only in the rear view mirror instead of the 7- inch center screen.
One can fold down the second row seats for additional storage, up to 36 cubic feet and a bit less than the competition.
With carpeted floor mats, and Paint Protection Film the test C-HR came to a reasonable $28,794 with delivery.
Excellent build quality, fit and finish, and Toyota’s reputation for long life with good fuel economy are all gold star material for the C-HR. It just needs some additional horsepower and torque to match its, (to some) exterior design.
And what about that design? Well author Margaret Wolfe Hungerford said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
There are two trim levels, XL and the tested XLE.
The XL carries a starting MSRP of $22,500.
The C-HR was first shown in concept form at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.