Stick Shift: 2020 Toyota C-HR Limited

Since its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 2016, the Toyota C-HR has struggled to maintain the positive momentum it started off with. This is mainly due to the fact that the compact SUV crossover segment has become increasingly crowded over the last 4 years. Filled up with exciting offerings like the Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V and Kia Soul. Options that, frankly, offer better value and are far more exciting to drive. 

That’s not to say that it’s all bad news for the C-HR. To keep things fresh for 2020, Toyota revised the front-end styling, made LED headlights standard across all trims, and included Android Auto. An area of strength that continues in the C-HR are its bold looks. A blackened roof provided a sporty contrast against the Supersonic red paint my model wore. A rear deck spoiler, 18” alloy wheels and that hatchback shape give it a sportiness that’s hard to deny.

A high shoulder creates a small rear window, making visibility out the back limited. It also creates an already tight back-seat experience that feels extra dark and confined. A little too dungeon-like for my comfort. Front seats offer plenty of space though. Interior design follows the playful, brazen approach taken on the outside. Some angles won’t appeal to everyone, but a mixture of leather upholstery in the Limited trim, funky trapezoidal textures on the door lining and plenty of dark colors in the overall palette will satisfy most. 

Photo via: Toyota

Independent front and rear suspension with stabilizer bars and dampers help the Toyota C-HR achieve sporty handling while still delivering a decently soft ride. Acceleration from the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine could use a double espresso shot. Maybe a triple. It feels half asleep even with the throttle wide open. At highway speeds, road and engine noise enters the cabin in copious amounts as well. 

Though the Limited edition C-HR brings lots of leather, better front seats and tons of safety tech, the overall value is starting to slip. When approaching the 30K mark, simply put, more is expected. And the longer this category remains as popular as it is today, better vehicles will be debuted that will either force the C-HR to seriously up its game, or force it into extinction.

Price as tested: $28,880.00

By: Brandon Randall

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