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2018 Toyota C-HR Ready To Take On Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V

Toyota’s new sub-compact crossover gets the green-light for U.S. market.

Like it usually does, Toyota has introduced a production model based on a concept from just one year ago. The new 2018 Toyota C-HR, which the company says refers to “Coupe; High-Riding,” will come to the U.S. market in the spring of 2017. This new model will join the excellent Mazda CX-3, the Buick Encore, and popular HR-V from Honda in the sub-compact crossover market. Although this market has not yet seen the extremely high volume of sales that the compact crossovers like RAV4 and CR-V have, it is an emerging segment and if gas prices turn upward, could explode.

The New Toyota C-HR will be built on Toyota’s newest platform, called the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Shared among many compact and subcompact cars, this new platform will enable Toyota to cost-effectively build multiple models with flexible production and component sharing. Toyota is making big promises that the C-HR will be fun to drive. We’ll see.

The drivetrain will be a 2.0-liter, 144 hp gasoline engine mated to a CVT. Although a stick-shift would be nice as an option, we feel the CVT is a smart move for Toyota. The fuel economy benefits are hard to ignore, and most drivers of mainstream vehicles want automatics anyway. For those that want a sporty feel, Toyota is including a 7-speed Sequential Shiftmatic feature that will mimic a geared transmission. We assume AWD will be optional, but as far as we can see it was not mentioned in Toyota’s initial data-dump.

One area Toyota will be ahead of Honda is safety. At last check, the Honda HR-V did not offer forward collision prevention with automatic braking. This technology has been proven to reduce front-to-back crashes by as much as 40% in real-world testing. The Toyota C-HR will come standard with this important safety technology, just like the 2017 RAV4 and Corolla do.

Toyota’s C-HR has the looks, specs, and lineage to take over this segment in sales in short order. It will be interesting to see how it feels when driven.