Behind the Wheel

2020 Toyota C-HR Review: A perfectly fine automobile with a nice feature set

Toyota has given the C-HR new fascia for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

I was watching a movie the other day and it reminded me of the car I've been testing this week. The movie was "Chef", a fantastic labor of love from Jon Favreau, the big budget director of "Iron Man", "Elf", and the live-action "Lion King".

The gist is that Favreau plays a formerly rising star chef who is toiling in a successful L.A. restaurant but without the creative freedom he strives for. After quitting in an expletive filled rant to a food critic that goes viral when filmed by a customer, he decamps the fancy restaurant for the pleasures of running a food truck. Though without the security of a fancy restaurant behind him, he has the creative freedom to make simple-but-amazing Cuban sandwiches and other delicious creations.

2020 Toyota C-HR The C-HR was originally designed to be Scion model, but the brand folded and it became a Toyota instead.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The best part of the movie is all the amazing food porn, overseen by chef Roy Choi who was one of the founders of the gourmet food truck movement. What does this have to do with my test car this week?

It's the Toyota C-HR, a subcompact crossover which has two of the letters from "Chef" in it. See what I mean about how important creative freedom is? I spent the first third of this review talking about a movie that has (almost) nothing to do with the car I'm reviewing. Thanks AutomotiveMap.

The C-HR slots beneath the RAV4 in the Toyota lineup, and you can think of it as a jumped-up version of the Corolla Hatchback. It's kind of interesting looking outside and in, with various nips and tucks and oddities like the weird flush-mounted door handle for the rear doors mounted high up around the roofline. Then there's these weird, unnecessary-but-kind-of-pleasing diamond cutouts in the headliner above the driver and passenger.


2020 Toyota C-HR The Toyota C-HR is currently the smallest SUV in the company's lineup.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

And don't forget the wacky rear-end that appears to be an homage to a multi-level modernist apartment building in Tokyo. That's not a bad thing, it's just a little bit different. It gives the car some personality, which is something that Toyotas of the past sorely lacked so I approve of it here.

I like the interior, with ample storage for a phone and your drinks, plus a standard shift knob and a high-mounted, easy-to-see 8.0-inch touch screen surrounded by a bunch of buttons you'll never use. Automatic climate control will keep your significant other from bickering about the temperature in the car (maybe), and there's excellent visibility through the front at least.

As with (almost) all Toyotas, the feature set is straightforward. My C-HR Limited weighed in at $28,435 nearly fully loaded, including a $465 Audio Plus package that presumably makes the stereo more... plus. It also has a wide variety of useful features like Toyota's excellent safety suite including full automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.

There's LED headlights and auto-folding mirrors (the latter of which has generally been a luxury car feature, so it's nice to see it moving down market), as well as more typical fare like heated seats, push-button start, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. It integrates with Amazon Alexa too, if you're excited about that.

There's a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 27 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that mostly stays out of your way — lots of car reviewers complain about CVTs but I think most folks don't really care, so it's fine.

On its own, the C-HR is a perfectly fine automobile with a nice feature set — but it is growing a little long in the tooth. This particular generation is almost four years old, and is facing very stiff competition from the Hyundai Venue that I reviewed last week. Also, at $28,400, you're getting close to entry-level RAV4 territory, which comes with a lot more space and also the option of all-wheel drive if you're likely to drive in slippery conditions.

There's also the question of how much longer the C-HR may be around given the recent debut of the Toyota Corolla Cross.

If you're looking for a solid subcompact crossover with a weird name, you can pick the Toyota CH-R. Or the Hyundai Venue. Or the Nissan Kicks. I'm pretty sure all those choices will make you happy. But only one of them has two of the letters from "Chef" in the name.

Trending News

Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2022 BMW M5 CS Sedan is the quickest, most powerful vehicle the company has ever produced.

Photo courtesy of BMW

The newest member of the BMW family is also the quickest and most powerful production BMW car ever made. The limited edition 2022 BMW M5 CS Sedan will be made for just one model year.

The model builds on the BMW M5, which was recently updated for the 2021 model year and combines an amplification of power with a weight reduction to achieve its performance and dynamics that enhancing both on-the-road and track capabilities of the 5 Series.

The design of the M5 is mostly unchanged with the new car, however there are definite differences. There is extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. There is a gold finish on the BMW kidney grille, model badging, and 20-inch forged light alloy wheels. The adaptive LED headlights feature L-shaped light tubes that illuminate to yellow instead of the standard white. There is a BWM Individual Shadowline trim that adds a dark shaded appearance and accentuating the yellow accent lighting.

The M5 CS is available in a standard Brands Hatch grey metallic paint with two optional BMW Individual colors – Frozen Brands Hatch grey metallic and Frozen Deep Green metallic.

2022 BMW M5 CS Sedan: Exterior

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW's engineers have tuned the car's 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 to achieve 627 horsepower, a 10-horsepower increase over the Competition model, and 553 pound-feet of torque, delivered in a wider band than the M5 Competition. The engine is paired with an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission with Drivelogic. The M5 CS reaches 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the M5 Competition model. Top speed with the standard M Driver's Package is 190 mph.

The rear-biased M xDrive all-wheel drive system is standard on the car and is able to distribute all of the available torque between the front and rear axles. The Active M Differential further optimizes power between the rear wheels for maximum grip and lateral dynamics.

Drivers can select from three xDrive modes including 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD. The Dynamic Stability Control system can be adjusted to DSC ON, MDM (M Dynamic Mode), and DSC OFF. The Drivelogic switch on the gear selector lever allows three modes - Efficient, Sport, and Track.

There are three drive modes: Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. Individual configuration is available. Drivers can toggle between Road, Sport, and Track settings using the M Mode button. Engaging these modes also changes the look of the driver information screen and head-up display. Road mode is the default setting.

The M Driver's Package also includes a voucher for BMW driver training.

The car's dual-branch, electric flap-controlled sport exhaust system, with quad stainless-steel tips, has a tone that changes depending on the selected mode (Efficient, Sport, or Sport+). Additionally, the M Sound button can soften the exhaust tone for a more understated note.

The M5 CS builds on the M5 Competition Package's offering when it comes to chassis and suspension tuning. There are stiffer engine mounts, firmer springs, a 0.2-inch lower ride height, increased front negative camber, a firmer rear anti-roll bar, and tow-link ball-joint mounts. There has also been furtherspring and Dynamic Damper Control tuning.

Standard mixed-size non-runflat high-performance tires measure 275/35R20 at the front and 285/35R20 at the rear and are fitted to Gold Bronze 20-inch M forged Y-spoke wheels. Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires are available at no cost.

2022 BMW M5 CS Sedan: Interior

Photo courtesy of BMW

This car is the first time BMW has put four-passenger seating in a M model in combination with M carbon sport seats up front and two bucks seats for rear passengers. Headrests on all four seats are imprinted with the map of Nurburgring's Nordschleife.

The interior of the car has black Merino leather with Mugello red accents and contrasting red stitching. The M Alcantara steering wheel has a perforated section with red background and lightweight carbon-fiber shift paddles with matching red trim in the cut-outs and on the back panels. Alcantara is also used for the headliner.

The lightweight black Merino leather center console cover with red double stitching replaces the traditional armrest and together with the absence of the armrest area tray helps to further reduce weight. Red "CS" badging can be seen on the instrument panel and between the rear bucket seats. The M seat belts feature BMW M tri-color stitching and the "M5" badge also appears on the velour M floor mats with bespoke piping and in the illuminated "M5 CS" badge on the door sill finishers.

Pricing for the car will be announced at a later date. The M5 starts at $103,500. Expect the limited edition model to be priced higher.

Trending News

 
 

Two Lamborghini Siáns have arrived in London.

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini London

The Lamborghini Sián is one of the most expensive cars in the world. The Italian automaker is only making 63 of the models, with just three allocated to U.K. customers.Lamborghini London, operated by the H.R. Owen Group, took delivery of two of the models, and has had them take part in a photo shoot that reveals their full specifications.

Each Sián is individually styled by their owner, working with Lamborghini's design centre and Ad Personam personalization department. The lighter colored model is finished in a Grigio Nimbus paint job with exposed carbon weave roof and Rosso Mars accents, complemented by a Nero Ade interior with Rosso Alala contrasts.

The darker Sián has Nero Helene colored bodywork that is complemented by an exposed carbon fiber bonnet, front lamp inserts fenders, and engine cover. The car's highlights are finished in Oro Electrum, which is also used within the alloy wheels. This owner has opted for bespoke Pirelli tires with white detailing. The car's cabin has Nero Ade base leather and Oro Electrum stitching and highlights.

Lamborghini Sián in London

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini London

Both models are powered by a 6.5-liter V12 engine that is paired with a 48-volt battery to deliver 819 horsepower. The car can get from zero to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 217 mph. That makes it the most powerful and fastest accelerating Lamborghini every produced.

Traditional electrified vehicles have heavy battery storage below the floor of the car. Instead, the Sián uses a lightweight supercapacitor that is fully charged every time the vehicle brakes. The e-motor and supercapacitor system weighs in at just 34 kilograms total, making it three times lighter than a battery storing the same power.

The owners of the vehicles have yet to be disclosed.

If you can't afford a Lamborghini Sián but still want one at your home, you can opt for the LEGO Technic version.

Trending News