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

 
 

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of Hyundai, has announced the formation of a new unit - New Horizons Studio. The new venture is focused on the development of what Hyundai calls Ultimate Mobility Vehicles (UMVs).

New Horizons Studio is part of Hyundai's larger focus on the future of mobility. Unit workers will work to envision vehicles that wander with "unprecedented mobility". These products will focus on target customers that have unconventional travel needs whether it be to access places they have never been or adapt their mobility limitations to their surroundings.

Hyundai 'Elevate' Walking Car Concept

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

New Horizons Studio is led by Vice President Dr. John Suh, who has held several leadership roles at Hyundai Motor Group since 2011. He served as founding director of Hyundai Ventures, and then led Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences) as its founding director based in Silicon Valley. He brings over 35 years of expertise in the automotive and emerging technology sectors, including roles at Stanford University, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC; formerly, Xerox PARC), and General Motors Company.

"We aim to create the world's first transformer-class vehicle, also known as the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle," said Dr. Suh.

Dr. Ernestine Fu will move to New Horizons Studio as Director of Product Management. She has led research on human operator and autonomous vehicle interactions at Stanford University's Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab, as well as scaled emerging technology companies for over nine years as a venture capital partner at Alsop Louie Partners.

The Hyundai Elevate is the first vehicle being developed by the Studio. It debuted at CES 2019 and does not rely solely on wheels to makes it way across urban, suburban, and rural landscapes. The unit sees the Elevate as being able to respond in emergency situations like natural disasters or assist with persons who do not have access to an ADA ramp.

Trending News

 
 

The Lamborghini Urus Graphite Capsule adds new interior and exterior color choices for buyers.

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

Expressions in color and trim meet at the Urus Graphite Capsule, a collection of SUVs produced by super luxury automaker Lamborghini. The Urus itself sits at the intersection of performance and practicality, and is the best-selling model in the Lamborghini lineup.

The Urus Graphite Capsule lets buyers push the limit in a pick-and-choose fashion. Lamborghini will offer the Urus Graphite Capsule in four new exterior matte colors including white Bianco Monocerus, black Nero Noctis, and grey Grigio Nimbus and Grigio Keres. The lower parts of the car, the front, rear, and side sills, are all finished in the color.

Lamborghini Urus Graphite Capsule

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

From there, buyers are able to choose from four tiny accent colors: orange Arancio Leonis and Arancio Dryope, yellow Giallo Taurus, and green Verde Scandal. Those accent colors are shown on the front splitter, door inserts, and rear spoiler.

The cabin of the Urus sports the same traditional design the SUV has had during this, its initial generation. The Urus Graphite Capsule check box adds dark, anodized aluminium trim on the dashboard and door panels, with new matt-finish carbon fiber inserts. The buyer's choice of exterior colors are carried over to the inside where upholstery is contrast stitched. Q-citura stitching and the embroidered Lamborghini logo reside on the headrests.

The ventilated Alcantara seats are an exclusive option only available on the Urus Graphite Capsule and the recently launched Pearl Capsule.

"The new Graphite Capsule endorses the inimitable versatility of the Lamborghini Urus as the original Super SUV: its color and styling is as adaptable and versatile as its presence in every high-performance and lifestyle environment." said Automobili Lamborghini Chief Commercial Officer Giovanni Perosino. "The inherent design of the Lamborghini Urus, with the DNA of our super sports heritage, lends itself to virtually limitless potential for personalizing color and trim. The Urus Graphite Capsule is the latest collection to offer our growing clientele the opportunity to stamp their individuality and way of life on their Lamborghini."

The Urus Graphite Capsule is available on Urus model year 2021. It has a starting MSRP of $218,009 in the U.S.

Trending News