Entry Price: $22,500
Price as Tested: $24,049

We’re driving the all-new 2018 Toyota C-HR this week, a sub-compact crossover built to do battle with competitors like Chevy Trax, Ford Eco Sport, Nissan Kicks, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, and Mazda CX-3. This vehicle joined the Toyota family when corporate decided to discontinue sales of its lower priced Scion models and moved this unit over to the Toyota family of vehicles. This move results in many positives and a few negatives when discussing this brand new Toyota crossover.

First the positives, and specifically one big positive: Price.

Scion was noted for its low entry and final retail prices, and the new Toyota C-HR follows suite. Two models are available, starting with the XLE entry model at $22,500 (our tester this week) or the upscale XLE Premium, which adds more amenities and starts at $24,350.

One thing I really liked about the compact C-HR is its handling, as I put over 400 miles on the C-HR during my week long review. Thanks to standard Dunlop 18-inch tires on nice alloy wheels, there wasn’t a turn or corner in front of me the little Toyota didn’t like. Cruising was comfortable, too, although there is more than the usual road and engine noise common to these lower priced subcompact models. But overall, and thanks to well built underpinnings, lots of safety features and good ABS 4-wheel disc brakes, this little car was much fun to drive.

As for the negatives, it pretty much surrounds the infotainment system, or lack thereof. Specifically, Toyota previously used the same lower grade stereo/info 6-speaker system on its Scion models. Simply stated, “lower grade” means consumers seeking a new C-HR with navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are out of luck. Although most everyone knows a Google Maps app on your Android or iPhone will fill in for the navigation needs, if you must have Android or Apple Smartphone integration and you happen to be part of the main target consumer demographic group (millennials), you’ll need to upgrade to a Rav4, which starts at $24,500. I recommend Toyota bring over its respected Entune Infotainment system to replace the dated Scion info system.

Sans the modern Entune and Android/Apple drawbacks, the new C-HR is a pretty nice looking vehicle. The actual nomenclature stands for “Coupe High Rider,” which is somewhat similar to Chevrolet’s HHR, which stood for “High Heritage Roof.” The C-HR “coupe” design 4-door layout is both sporty and “high,” as the ground clearance is generous while the overall motif is somewhat like a coupe thanks to the rear door handles hidden high into the rear door roof area. You really have to look closely to see them, so Toyota passes the “coupe” look test with flying colors.

Delving more into the mechanicals finds an all-new 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder sitting under the hood that delivers 144 horsepower and 139 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine mates to a CVT automatic which could use perhaps an upgrade in the years to come. As this is the only drivetrain combo available, you’re either going to accept it or look elsewhere for your next car. For me, I got used to the CVT and its “Sport/Normal/Eco” mode selects, but I’d sure like to see a 6-speed manual or even a 4-speed automatic behind this engine for more peppy results. As for acceleration expect zero to 60 mph in about 10.5 to 11 seconds, which is nothing to write home about. Fuel mileage, however, delivers EPA estimates of 27 city and 31 highway, both very competitive in this growing subcompact crossover division.

Now for more “really good” news on this all-new Toyota.

C-HR XLE comes packed with standard fare safety features, meaning you don’t need to spend a few thousand more on the XLE Premium model to receive the topmost protection features. Toyota’s standard Safety Sense package delivers pre-collision and pedestrian detection, 10 airbags, lane departure warning, lane keep assistance, daytime running lamps, automatic high beams and automatic emergency braking. The C-HR also receives adaptive cruise control and the now expected rear safety camera as standard, although the backup view is in the rear view mirror instead of the 7-inch display screen. (Again, bring on the Toyota Entune System.)

More standard fare includes dual-zone air conditioning, Bluetooth, leather steering wheel, nice bucket seats and a cargo cover. Our tester came in at a final retail of just $24,049 when adding special color paint for $395, carpeted floor mats for $195 and delivery of $960, solidifying that the new C-HR offers a great value for a Toyota compact crossover. If you opt for the XLE Premium, you’ll receive upgraded seats, fog lamps, blind spot warning, heated front seats and push button start.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 103.9 inches, 3,300-pound curb weight, 17.1-ft. turning radius, 5.9-inch ground clearance, from 19.0 to 36.4-cu. ft. of cargo space and a 13.2 gallon fuel tank.

The 2018 Toyota C-HR currently comes solely as a front-drive unit, although in the future an AWD would be a smart move and maybe even a turbo for more power. Your Toyota dealer is waiting to explain everything in person when you visit the showroom.

Likes: Excellent value, lots of safety equipment, good looks.
Dislikes: No Smartphone integration, noisy, needs more power.

Next week: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media publications.