CH-R (XLE PREMIUM)
Wheelbase: 103.9 inches
Length: 171.2 inches
Suspension: independent MacPherson strut front; double-wishbone rear
Steering: electric power rack and pinion
Mileage: city 27, highway 31
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
Weight: 3,300 pounds
Base price: $24,350
Web site: www.toyota.com
A quick glance at the all-new Toyota CH-R (Coupe High-Rider) and the natural response would be, “Now, that’s unusual!” But that’s understandable. Indeed, the 2018 cheeky-styled subcompact crossover teases you with its coupe-like roofline and raked windshield meeting up to slim projector-beam headlights, black grille, and color-keyed front/rear bumpers, door handles and exterior mirrors.
Under the hood of the smaller sibling to the RAV4 (nearly 10 inches shorter) resides a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder DOHC engine developing 144 horsepower at 6100 rpm and 139 pounds-feet of torque at 3900 rpm. Power is put to the road through a continuous variable transmission, not one of our favorites.
Rounded analog gauges for speedometer and tachometer housing a driver info center greet the driver in the front-wheel-drive CH-R. The leather shifter with satin-plated knob lends a firm grip. Where are the rear-door handles? Hidden quite well, we must say, which could be a challenge for the little ones in the family. Other notable standard goodies include dual auto a/c, 4.2-inch multi-information display screen, eight-way adjustable driver and six-way front-passenger seats, 7-inch touch screen for audio, nav and phone controls, power-folding mirrors, sport/normal/eco drive modes, 60/40 rear seat and a leather tilt/telescopic steering column.
The now-standard Toyota Safety Sense includes a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians, lane departure assist and dynamic cruise control. Other features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, vehicle stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert, rear camera, front and rear crumple zones, side impact door beams, three-point seatbelts for all, tire pressure monitor and daytime running lights.
Sure, the CH-R is an odd looker but the gas-sipping and inexpensive ride displays decent handling and crisp steering while seating five in comfort. A word of caution. It is sluggish, taking its time to get up to speed, say like 11.7 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph.