Written by Bill Visnic

Owing to its sharky-oddball styling, you"ll be in your share of gas-station conversions with the C-HR. Apparently originally meant to be a member of Toyota"s Scion youth brand, the C-HR striking to look at mostly in a good way. A combination of too much curb weight (3300 lbs!) and sluggish midrange performance from its 144-hp 4-cylinder means the C-HR only kinda gets out of its own path, though you can sometimes coax the otherwise reluctant continuously variable transmission (CVT) to generate passable around-town action. Accompanying the C-HR"s general slowness are glaringly meager fuel-economy numbers of 27 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. What? Toyota"s relatively new TNGA platform (Corolla, Prius) acquits itself well here, though: the C-HR delivers pleasingly flat cornering and the creamiest ride we can remember in a compact anything. Interior space is decent, too, even if the truncated greenhouse and dark trim makes for a gloomy rear-seat experience. But the edgy looks and mini-crossover connotation go a long way to sell the C-HR. Like rivals Kia (Niro) and Nissan (Kicks), Toyota is blithely trying to sell the C-HR without all-wheel drive, which many buyers may consider a bait-and-switch and which Subaru"s ongoing success suggests is a mistake. I know FWD helps achieve the attractive price point here, but for a market gone crazy for crossovers, it seems misguided, not to mention more than a little disingenuous, to introduce a subcompact car with crossover looks that doesn"t at least offer AWD. 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Base price:       &n bsp;  $22,500 As tested:       & nbsp;    $23,495 Highs:         &n bsp;        Athletic handling and body control; luxury-car ride; good value Lows:       &nb sp;       &nbsp ;  Heavy; dark, dreary rear seats; dead midrange; where"s the AWD? The takeaway:     Interesting and unique runabout in seek of development focus.

Date written: 22-Jan-2018 12:40 EST

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