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-HRThe 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-HRThe 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

 
 

Family-friendly three-row SUVs

Three of our favorite three-row SUVs for 2022

The Grand Cherokee L is available with two different powertrain choices.

Jeep

There are more three-row SUVs on sale than ever before, so it can be tough to make a choice between them. You need to balance space, performance, safety, and tech to make your decision, and doing your homework is important. To help you get started down the right path, we've selected three of our favorite three-row family haulers. These are SUVs that bring the latest features and excellent design features to help keep you and your family rolling. Let's get started.

2023 Toyota SequoiaThe Sequoia is all-new for the 2023 model year, and finally stands on level ground with its rivals.Toyota

Toyota Sequoia

Toyota gave the Sequoia a much-needed overhaul for the 2023 model year that brought it up to speed with its competitors. The thirsty V8 and outdated styling are gone, and in their place, Toyota installed a twin-turbo V6 with a hybrid system that produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive are available.

The Sequoia’s update brought a new infotainment system with a much more intuitive, fluid interface. It runs on a standard 8-inch or an optional 14-inch touchscreen. Toyota’s new software offers voice controls, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more.

Inside, the Sequioa’s interior feels much more upscale and modern than before, and there’s plenty of room for the entire family and all their gear across its three spacious rows. Starting with the Limited trim, Toyota gives luxurious standard features, including heated and ventilated front seats, a larger touchscreen, a hands-free liftgate, and a heated steering wheel.

2023 Kia TellurideKia updated the ultra-popular Telluride for 2023 with refreshed styling and features.Kia

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is easily one of the best family vehicles from the last ten years, and it offers great value on top of its functional characteristics. Kia updated the SUV for 2022 with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system and a highway driving assistance system.

The Telluride comes with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The SUV’s engine may not be the most powerful or thrilling, but it gets the job done and offers refined, smooth operation.

Kia equips the base Telluride with seating for eight, but the optional second-row captain’s chairs reduce capacity to seven. Interior fit and finish, materials, and styling are all far more upscale than the Telluride’s price tag would suggest, making the SUV an excellent family companion for longer road trips.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee LThe Grand Cherokee got a third row for the first time with the new L.Jeep

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Jeep completely overhauled the Grand Cherokee for 2021 and added a new three-row “L” model shortly after. The new Grand Cherokee L features boxy, muscular styling that works with its stretched profile. Even with a new shape, the SUV is immediately recognizable as a Grand Cherokee.

Jeep offers two engines in the 2022 Grand Cherokee L. The base mill is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available that produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the V8 comes standard with four-wheel drive.

The L is more premium inside than most likely expect from a Jeep, but at the top end of the model line it’s deep into luxury territory, both on price and design. The Jeep is just shy of its competitors on interior space, but there’s still plenty of room for up to seven people. Top trims get luxury finishes like leather and woodgrain, and available tech like a rear-seat entertainment system helps keep everyone happy for the long haul.

Trending News

 
 

New minivan

Honda announces new Odyssey Sport

Sport is a new trim for the Odyssey minivan.

Honda

The Honda Odyssey may not be the most exciting vehicle in the world, but it's getting a new Sport model that at least makes it look the part. Honda will release the model for the 2023 model year, and the Odyssey line overall will be offered with a new Honda Service Pass, which includes two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.

The Odyssey Sport slots into the Honda catalog between the EX-L and Touring trims. It comes with gloss-black exterior trim and black 19-inch wheels outside, and black leather with red stitching inside. The cabin comes with red accent lighting on the dash and in the footwells, and the roof pillars and headliner are both black. Under the hood, the Odyssey Sport gets the same 3.5-liter V6 from years past. It makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, and comes paired with a ten=speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

2023 Honda Odyssey SportThe Sport comes with dark exterior trim and unique leather upholstery with red stitching inside. Honda

All Odyssey models come with Honda Sensing safety equipment, which includes adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection. The 2023 van hasn't been crash-tested yet, but the 2022 model earned a Top Safety Pick + award, so it's likely the new model will be rated similarly.

Honda Service Pass is a new program for 2023+ Honda vehicles. It covers routine scheduled maintenance for up to two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Under the program, buyers get free oil changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections.

Trending News