By Kimatni D. Rawlins
To experience what Toyota dubs their Coupe High-Rider Automotive Rhythms ventured to the diversity of Austin where the eclectic vibe is more like Portland and Venice Beach than Texas. The all-new 2018 C-HR CUV fulfills a niche market that clamors for value, fuel efficiency, and daring designs. Entering the stage this April newcomers will be introduced to an array of technological standard features presented in two renditions: the $22,500 C-HR XLE and the $24,350 C-HR XLE Premium.
With strong creases, sharp curvilinear lines, robust wheel arches, snazzy rear fins with a rear spoiler, and tough body cladding, the C-HR looks like its about to take form into something else like a GoBot. Designers flowed with the “Distinctive Diamond” theme of the gemstone to substitute for some of the vehicle’s characteristics. Toyota definitely wanted to ascertain C-HR’s silhouette was engaging and attention grabbing. There are nine hues in total to decide from with samples for the passionate customer including Ruby Flare Pearl, Blizzard Pearl, Silver Knockout Metallic, and Blue Eclipse Metallic. Also on deck is the $500 R-Code package with its white roof, side view mirrors, and A-pillar to contrast with either of three base, but special body paints. All R-Code interiors are black.
Five-leaf clover 18” alloy rims (vortex-styled) wrapped in chunky 225/50R18 Dunlop tires get the compact utility rolling while a 2-liter 4-cylinder engine with a reasonable 144-horsepower and 139 lb.-ft. of torque authorizes the FWD structure. Keep in mind there will be no AWD option because this vehicle was initially slated as a Scion. The 2-liter is paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission with intelligence and Shift mode (CVTi-S). Toyota engineered the CVTi-S with ECO, Normal, and particularly Sport mode since the vehicle’s Deputy Chief Engineer, Hiro Koba, loves to race. In fact, Toyota actually tested the Coupe High-Rider at the famed Nürburgring circuit to showcase that spirited driving could be one of its attributes. Interesting! Sport mode specifically focuses on CVT, steering, and throttle adjustments. On winding Texas back roads the steering was on-center and the suspension was firm enough to handle the roads with aplomb (built with a rear stabilizer bar and front and rear hydraulic shock absorbers). However, a turbocharger would be a nice addition for better acceleration.
With a rigid body due to the use of high tensile steel and aluminum for weight reduction expect 27 city, 31 highway, and 29 combined MPGs for your 3,300-pound C-HR. Also adding to the aesthetics of the chiseled body are bulging rear taillamps, projector-beam halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights, a front chin spoiler, rear lower diffuser, and unique rear handles which are embedded within the top corner of the doors. Whether close-up or from afar the C-HR definitely looks tough as nails!
Inside the unique cockpit are bolstered Sport Fabric-trimmed front bucket seats, a 7” touchscreen sitting atop the dash, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, backup camera integrated within the rearview mirror, and dual-zone climate control. The power windows are one-touch up and down but the seat and steering adjustments are manually operated. Since the C-HR is an entry level vehicle intended for younger buyers the CUV is devoid of a sunroof, Satellite Radio, and navigation which is fine since everyone uses their phone for directions anyway. I connected both through Bluetooth and the singular USB to listen to my phone’s music. The system also syncs up with your text messages and address book. Aha is Toyota’s main music app for this vehicle but I do not use that service. I also missed CNN 116 and The Joint 42 on SiriusXM while cruising along the Texan roads. While the front seats were comfortable, the rear looks tight until you craw back there and witness the vehicle’s ample space. More utility for items like bikes is accomplished by simply laying the second-row seat flat.
Preventative safety measures come in the form of Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) which is a suite of standard and active systems that help keep you and other drivers safe on the road. TSS-P enhances your C-HR with Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Then there is the Star Safety System providing Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Brake Assist, and Smart Stop Technology. Wait, there’s more. I can’t forget about Hill-Start Assist Control, the 10 airbags, and Brake Hold Function that manages the braking force at each wheel to maintain the C-HR’s stationary position.
As you can see Toyota’s Coupe High-Rider is distinct in many ways and offered at an affordable entry price. It doesn’t cover all areas such as infotainment but it is pretty menacing.