By Asian Journal Auto Editor

2018 Toyota CH-RToyota’s swoopy new C-HR was supposed to be a Scion with it’s out there, styling aimed squarely at the hip Gen-Y youth and Hipster crowd. Standing for “Compact – High Rider.” Toyota describes the C-HR as having “kick-ass styling.”  The C-HR has a bold, dramatic, edgy look to it, with its daring fascias, rear-sloping roofline, bulging fenders and complex curves and creases. The rear doors almost melds into the body and features high mounted hidden door handles. The cars swoopy silhouette actually looks better in the two –tone model we tested. The complex curves, edges and sharp creases somehow looking interesting and daring. If Toyota is looking for attracting styling kudos, it certainly has it with the C-HR.

There is only one power plant available in the CH-R; namely a 2.0-litre, 144-horsepower four-cylinder producing 139 lb.-ft. of torque. Despite its vaguely off-road looks, the CH-R is only available in front wheel drive operated via a seven-step ratio CVT. (Continuously Variable Transmission). The 2018 Toyota C-HR is available in only two trims: the $24,690 XLE, and the $26,690 XLE Premium. Now, the pricing does sound a little on the high side compared to the competition, but the Toyota arrives as very well-equipped vehicle, with dual-zone heated seats and safety technology, that includes pre-collision braking, lane-departure alert, and adaptive cruise control. These are feature found on mainly high end vehicles. We tested a wonderful looking Radiant Green Mica painted model with a contrasting white roof. The car looked amazing and really stood out in the grey drab winter during our week with it. Our tester came with the Premium Package $1,600.00 comprising of: 18”-inch Aluminum Alloy Wheels, Blind Spot Monitor System with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Push Button Start, Smart Key System, Power Folding, Puddle lamps, and the two-tone paint option at $540. Pricing came to a Base MSRP $24,690. Plus Options $2,140. For a subtotal of $26,830. Federal Excise Tax – Air Conditioning $100.00 Environmental Handling Fee – Tires $17.75 Environmental Handling Fee – Filters $0.72 OMVIC fee $10.00 Freight & PDI $1,760.00 (Pre-delivery service & destination charges) finalized a Total MSRP of $28,718.

The interior design is edgy and well executed with soft-touch surfaces, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen. The cockpit is neatly laid out, with large analogue gauges for the speedometer and tachometer, and a central 4.2-inch configurable colour screen in mounted high up that operate the climate control system and entertainment functions. I would say it more of a comfortable two-seater in the back than a tight three-seater. There is 538 litres of cargo room behind the rear seats. The seats fold flat in a 60/40 split, and the rear hatch-like door opens nice and wide (As the dentist say!). Safety is excellent and comprises Toyota’s Safety Sense with multiple airbags, Pre-Collision System, Auto High Beam, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (full speed), and Pre-collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane.

On the road, the C-HR is a comfortable, quiet and docile performer. It’s not a stand out hot –rod performer with its competent CVT transmission. However a sport mode option provides more throttle response. Handling is better though, with quick steering and good reflexes. The ride is stable and well composed. No issues to speak of it. Fuel economy is rated at 8.2 L/100 kilometres. 8.7 city, 7.5 highway. To sum up the C-HR offers a unique looking package that IS well- tailored to young demographic looking for something that’s a little more edgy.

2018 Toyota CH-R: Base price: $24,690. MSRP price as tested: $28,718.