I want something to be clear. I am very grateful for the opportunities I have been given over the last two years while writing and filming for the automotive industry. That has to be clear, because I’m about to sound really ungrateful.
The 2019 Toyota C-HR has a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine and a CVT transmission. The drivetrain is sluggish and numb. You can put your foot flat on the floor without traction control on, and you still won’t have fun. Does the car work? Yes. It is a car and it will move your flesh vessel from one lonely place to another. That is not my point. It feels like the engine oil has been replaced with room-temperature oatmeal. The cvt is just a meaningless way of managing the engine speed vs the speed of the car. Whatever. Lastly, the C-HR is front wheel drive, which isn’t an issue, but there is no all-wheel-drive option. The HR-V from Honda is offered with it and so is the CX-3 from Mazda. Offering AWD separates the boys from the men in the compact SUV segment. The C-HR is a boy.
The interior is somewhat redeeming. It feels decently modern and fun, but again, nothing blows me away. The exterior reverts back to the C-HR’s original recipe: bad. On one side, you can’t really blame the C-HR because it was styled similarly to the RAV4, and the RAV4 just got a facelift so the C-HR looks old. That’s not my biggest complaint. My biggest complaint is the rear door. The window is too high, which kills visibility. The car isn’t that large, but a large blind spot makes the car feel like a submarine while backing up.
The CH-R feels like a cash-grab. SUVs are dominating the automotive market, and Toyota needed something to fit the growing compact market (Oh, the irony). The CH-R feels rushed, and lacking in effort. If you’re looking for a compact SUV, shop around before you settle on something you don’t want.
My video review: