The 2022 Toyota C-HR blurs the line between hatchback and crossover, with a relatively high seating position and a spacious cabin but no option for all-wheel drive.
It may be hard to categorize, but it’s an appealing choice for drivers looking for something practical and stylish. This year, Toyota dropped the LE trim to focus instead on XLE, Nightshade, and Limited models, which carry into 2022 with few tweaks.
The C-HR is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4 rated at 144 horsepower, which is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Fuel economy is fairly good, at 27 mpg city, 31 highway, 29 combined according to the EPA.
Safety-wise, the C-HR is fitted with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control, as well as blind-spot monitors. A Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS is offset by a four-star overall rating from the NHTSA.
The base LE trim level has been shelved for 2022, so the entry to this lineup is now the XLE. It’s equipped with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, automatic climate control, power features, a slew of crash-avoidance tech, and 17-inch alloy wheels. It’s priced just over $25,000.
Stepping up to the Nightshade mostly brings blacked-out interior and exterior trim, including the wheels for a modest $800 or so.
The Limited runs $28,115, which buys a power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, and leather upholstery.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen is simple to use and benefits from painless CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
For many shoppers, the C-HR’s main draw is probably its styling. This is a fun, playful, and sharply-styled model that remains eye-catching even though it has been on sale for a few years now.
The last update brought streamlined LED headlights and fewer front-end lines than before, which results in a comparatively clean – but still plenty busy – shape. It’s a hatchback in terms of utility and shape, but the stubby body and high roof lend the C-HR more SUV overtones.
An available black-painted roof adds drama, while the Nightshade edition trims more exterior trim and the wheels in – you guessed it – black.
The C-HR is comparatively conservative inside, though its shapes and controls are sufficiently functional. Design-wise, it prioritizes function over flair.
The big 8.0-inch touchscreen is perched up high on the dash for easy access, but even climate and secondary controls are a cinch to sort through.
Low front seats offer sufficient head room for tall occupants, and they benefit from a wide range of adjustment—and available power operation on the range-topping C-HR Limited, along with its seat heaters and leather upholstery.
Just 31.7 inches of leg room and limited head space for tall passengers await second-row occupants.
Cargo will be happier. Look for 19.1 cubic feet behind the back seat, and 37.0 cubic feet with the second row back rests folded forward.
With 144 hp on tap from its inline-4, the C-HR is not going to dominate drag strips any time soon. It’s a bit on the slow side, exacerbated by a CVT that can be slow to respond. A Sport mode opens up simulated gears that enliven the experience slightly.
More credit is due to the C-HR’s supple ride and its willing handling. It may be a high-riding hatchback, but it drives like it’s closer to the ground. The sophisticated suspension – by small car standards – results in good ride control and willing handling on a winding road. There’s good heft to the steering, too, even if feedback is light.
Standard adaptive cruise control makes the C-HR a relatively stress-free experience at speed, too, though it’ll take a while to get there.
Even though it looks and works more like a crossover than a hatchback, the C-HR comes only with front-wheel drive.
The 2022 Toyota C-HR is a stylish choice with a comfortable ride and a good array of amenities for the money. Its performance may not excite, but commuters will find an appealing blend of value and undeniable Toyota durability.
–by Andrew Ganz, with driving impressions from The Car Connection