Toyota's compact C-HR crossover was a surprising addition to this conservative automaker's lineup in 2018. Competing in a class populated by straight-edge vehicles like the Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai and Ford Ecosport, the C-HR takes a page from the dearly departed Nissan Juke by bringing a dash of adventurous style to the category.
Changes for 2019 include a new LE trim level that cuts more than $1,000 from last year's base price. There are also a few new standard features, including a windshield de-icer, Toyota's Entune 3.0 infotainment system (which now supports the Android Auto smartphone integration platform) and a larger, 8.0-inch touchscreen through which to control those infotainment functions.
The XLE trim carried over from 2018 gains Entune Audio 3.0 Plus, and there's a new Limited trim that brings leather seating, ambient interior lighting and rain-sensing wipers.
We like the way the C-HR looks, but this little utility doesn't have much performance to back up its outgoing appearance. A 2.0L four-cylinder engine makes 144 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to the front wheels (there is no AWD option) through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Those power figures are perfectly in line with what's on offer elsewhere in the small SUV segment, but there's a certain amount of cognitive dissonance to get past in a vehicle that's this interesting to look at and yet drives more or less like a lifted Corolla.
A more pleasant surprise is the generous interior, which provides useful space for four adults in spite of a rakish roofline whose appearance suggests a cramped cabin like that in upscale "SUV coupes" like the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.
The new LE trim brings a lower price, but also leaves off the alloy wheels and heated front seats that remain standard in the XLE trim. Instead, this base model gets 17-inch steel wheels, but still includes power windows, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless entry, heated side mirrors and a wiper for the tiny rear window.
XLE adds the aforementioned alloy wheels (also 17 inches) and heated front seats, Entune Audio 3.0 Plus, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and electric driver's seat lumbar.
Also carried over from last year is an XLE package that brings 18-inch wheels, passive keyless entry, power-folding side mirrors, blind spot monitor with cross traffic alert and a new two-tone paint option that pairs a black roof with select paint colours.
The new Limited trim we mentioned up top is where you get leather seating (in black or brown) and the ambient lighting and rain-sensing wipers.
Toyota's fuel consumption estimates are 8.7/7.5 L/100 km (city/highway).