The distinctively styled 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a new entry-level LE trim and a range-topping Limited model. Every version of this subcompact-crossover SUV has driver aids like forward-collision mitigation and intelligent cruise control, plus Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.
You'll Like The 2019 Toyota C-HR If...
The C-HR isn’t for wallflowers. Beneath these individual lines, though, are a relatively spacious cabin and a well-tuned suspension.
You May Not Like The 2019 Toyota C-HR If...
Maybe you’re a wallflower. Or more likely someone who doesn’t relish quite so much attention. And you may want all-wheel drive. Either way, the C-HR probably won’t be the ideal choice.
Not only is Apple CarPlay smartphone integration now available, it is standard equipment as part of an infotainment system that has an 8-inch touch screen. Navigation is also offered, along with leather upholstery. Two new trim levels join the range, LE and Limited, slotting either side of last year’s XLE trim. Consequently, standard equipment has been reshuffled.
The cabin sports a design that’s less eye-catching than the outside, which is no bad thing. Just some diamond patterns on the dashboard, doors and headliner echo the C-HR’s extrovert vibe. The quality of materials is somewhat upscale, and occupant comfort is perfectly acceptable for longer trips. As we’ve mentioned, the cabin is relatively roomy, but the wide rear pillars mean having to lean forward to get a good view outside. These pillars are also a good argument to select a trim with blind-spot monitoring. Otherwise, outward vision is absolutely fine. Cargo space measures 19 cubic feet behind the rear seats, 36.4 when they’re folded. This first figure is okay, the second is below average.
Everyone will have his own opinion on the 2019 CH-R’s outward appearance. It certainly seems “of the moment” with an abundance of angles and lines going this way and that. We’ll add that the styling works better (for us) in some colors (gray or silver, for example), but not so much in others. This also brings us to the R-Code option, which adds a white-painted roof and side mirrors. Each to his own. From a purely practical standpoint, the taillights protrude quite noticeably, making them more vulnerable to damage and a subsequent costly replacement.
There’s no kind way of putting it; the engine is underpowered. For a front-drive-only subcompact-crossover SUV, the 2019 C-HR is heavy at 3,300 pounds (the Honda HR-V, for example, is almost 400 pounds lighter). So this 144-horsepower unit struggles to keep a driver’s interest as it ambles up to freeway speeds, while the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) doesn’t make any positive contribution. That’s doubly sad because the chassis is clearly talented enough to handle some extra muscle. There’s a combination of suppleness and control reminiscent of expensive European cars. It can take bends with the kind of speed that would induce boring understeer in a more run-of-the-mill rival. A little easing off the throttle just at the point where the low-rolling-resistance tires start to chirp, and the shift in weight brings the tail around a little, tightening the cornering line. The cabin gets noisy in a hurry, though.
The 2019 Toyota C-HR LE has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $20,945. Add the $1,045 destination charge and we’re looking at $21,990. The XLE starts at $24,025 and the Limited is $27,045 before any of the few options. This pricing puts it in a similar ballpark as the Honda Fit, Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3, but noticeably above the Nissan Kicks and Hyundai Kona. Check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new C-HR. Regarding resale values, it's too early to tell, but Toyotas tend to be just as reliably strong in this area as they are in many others.
The introduction of an LE trim for the 2019 CH-R means a somewhat less well-equipped entry-level model than last year, but also at a lower price. The LE version still comes with those driver aids mentioned above, plus Apple CarPlay, LED daytime running lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, rearview camera, self-dimming rearview mirror, and selectable driving modes. Not crazy about the 17-inch steel wheels, though. For 18-inch alloy wheels, go to the XLE trim, also adding a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry/ignition, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Limited brings leather upholstery, heated front seats, satellite radio, Wi-Fi, and a swishier infotainment system.
The XLE trim is eligible for the Limited’s upgraded infotainment setup. Limited trim can be ordered with navigation. And the R-Code option ($500) is applicable to the entire 2019 C-HR range.
TOYOTA SAFETY SENSE-P
This array of safety features (aka TSS-P) includes forward-collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, and full-range active cruise control. It’s standard in the 2019 C-HR. Some rivals don’t offer this much even as an option.
The 2019 C-HR is based on the same platform as the all-new-for-2019 Toyota Camry midsize sedan, hence a surprisingly roomy interior. Even average-sized adult passengers in the back have sufficient accommodation for heads and legs.
Under the Hood
The sole engine for the 2019 C-HR is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit making 144 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. Not a turbocharger in sight. A CVT sends this meager muscle just to the front wheels. For all its crossover-SUV pretensions, the C-HR does not offer all-wheel drive. The silver lining in this mechanical cloud is fuel consumption of 27 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, but that’s not class-leading.
144 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
139 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/31 mpg
The 2019 Toyota C-HR moves into its second year of existence. Aimed at millennials who are spoiled for choice -- rivals include the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade, Hyundai Kona and Nissan Kicks -- this subcompact-crossover SUV makes its case with distinctive styling and a chassis that’s more engaging than it actually needs to be. This new model year also fixes a few missteps that marred last year’s debut, which we’ll go into below in the “What’s New” section. Not offering all-wheel drive, however, remains a glaring omission. Not every millennial lives in year-round warm climates. Even so, there’s still Toyota’s excellent build quality and reliability to enjoy, along with a good amount of standard equipment, including several advanced safety features.