The 2018 Toyota C-HR enters the hot subcompact crossover segment with a plethora of standard advanced active safety features, above average interior room, and a quiet ride. On the other hand, its love-it-or-hate-it design, tepid performance, lack of all-wheel drive, and less-than stellar fuel economy numbers rank it below most of its competitors.

Best Value

SinceToyotaoriginally intended the C-HR to be a Scion, only two trim levels are offered. The base XLE starts at $23,495, while an uplevel XLE Premium, with the optional R-Code paint scheme (the only available option that consists of contrasting white roof and mirror caps) costs $25,845. Keeping things Scion-simple is one engine (a 2.0-liter four-cylinder) and a single transmission choice (a CVT automatic) with power going to the front wheels only.

Neither model offers any factory option packages, instead relying on a long list of standard equipment. Both trims come with the usual power features (windows, locks, mirrors), as well as LED running lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and normal, sport, and Eco drive modes. The Premium trim adds fog lights, blind spot detection, auto-folding power outside mirrors, more aggressively-bolstered heated front seats, and proximity entry (front doors and hatch) with push-button start.

With that in mind, here's how we'd build it:

  • Model: 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium
  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Output: 144 hp / 139 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Continuously variable automatic transmission
  • Fuel economy: 27 City / 31 Hwy
  • Exterior color: Ruby Flare Pearl R-Code
  • Interior color: Black
  • Options: Ruby Flare Pearl R-Code ($500, color-keyed body with white roof and mirror caps)
  • Base Price: $25,345
  • As Tested: $25,845

Performance Pros

Toyota C-HR
  • Very little engine noise enters the cabin, even under hard acceleration.
  • Toyota's latest 1.5-liter engine feels more refined than earlier versions.
  • The C-HR's handling is better than past small Toyotas.

Performance Cons

  • Unlike its competitors, the C-HR is not offered with the option of all-wheel-drive – at least in the US.
  • Despite three different driving modes, acceleration skews toward the languid regardless of which one is chosen.
  • The C-HR's lackluster performance and front-drive-only powertrain don't translate into better-than-average fuel economy numbers.

Interior Pros

  • Its tall shape translates into a spacious interior with plenty of head room for both front and rear seat occupants.
  • The rear seat is surprisingly generous, with enough room for three adults.
  • The flip and fold rear seats create a flat floor – something not typically found in this class.

Interior Cons

Toyota C-HR
  • The C-HR lacks the cargo space with the seats up.
  • Average interior materials and plenty of hard plastics give the cabin a low-rent feel.
  • Bits of silver trim don't do much to liven up the all-black interior.

Our Favorite Thing

The CH-R's small footprint belies a large interior with plenty of head and legroom for everyone – including up to three adults in the rear seat.

Our Least Favorite Thing

Toyota C-HR

Despite having better than average handling characteristics for a smallToyota, the C-HR's lack of performance mean it just isn't much fun to drive.

Right For

Both C-HR models come with a long list of active safety features including a rear view camera, pre-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, and automatic high beams. The Limited trim adds blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. In general, this is a solid choice for the safety conscious.

Wrong For

Enthusiasts need not apply. With a portly 3,300-pound curb weight that's anywhere from 176 pounds (Chevrolet Trax) to 491 pounds (Mazda CX-3) heavier than its competitors, an uninspiring 2.0-liter four, and performance-robbing CVT, there are much more enjoyable vehicles in this class.

The Bottom Line

Designed for urban environs, where its lack of performance is less of an issue, the C-HR excels. But tasked with navigating suburban sprawl and freeways or cosseting drivers during traffic jams, it's too compromised to stand out.