2018 Toyota C-HR Revealed, But Don't Call It a Crossover

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
2018 toyota c hr revealed but don t call it a crossover

Admit it: you woke up today missing the Toyota Matrix, didn’t you? Could Toyota interest you in a modernized, reincarnated Matrix?

This is it. The Toyota C-HR is roughly an inch shorter than the old Matrix, two-tenths of an inch higher, and about an inch wider than the dearly departed hatchback that we likely wouldn’t call a mere hatchback if it arrived in 2016.

The C-HR is already in production in Sakarya, Turkey, but until the North American production-ready reveal at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show today, there were details unknown.

Now, some of the unknowns are known.

“It looks like nothing we’ve ever created, and ushers in a new era of Toyota style,” says Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota division in the United States.

Uh, that’s for sure.

Initially intended to end up as a Scion in North America before the Scion brand was extinguished, the 2018 Toyota C-HR arrives to challenge subcompact crossovers in a burgeoning segment.

Though somewhat late to the party — there are already nearly a dozen rivals — the C-HR will beat the Ford EcoSport in the front door. But wait a minute. Is the C-HR really a direct rival for the Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, and a host of other small crossovers?

For the time being, the C-HR is a front-wheel-drive car only. AWD is an option in other markets.

Keep in mind, the front-wheel-drive-only Kia Soul sells more often in America than any of the subcompact crossovers that offer AWD. Claiming Nürburgring-honed handling, Toyota says the C-HR arrives in America with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 144 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque exclusively linked to a continuously variable transmission.

There’ll be XLE and XLE Premium trims, with the upper grade adding heated front seats, power lumbar support for the driver, proximity access and, “puddle lamps that project Toyota C-HR.” Both the XLE and XLE Premium are equipped with Toyota’s Safety Sense P, but the XLE Premium adds blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

The C-HR first appeared as a concept at 2014’s Paris show, was altered for the 2015 Frankfurt auto show, and was then shown in production form earlier this year in Geneva, Switzerland. U.S. sales of the production car begin in the spring of 2017.

No AWD? Even the Matrix, a mere hatchback, offered four driven wheels.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

[Images: Toyota]

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  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on Nov 21, 2016

    Looks nice, somewhat of a competitor to Juke. I'm not sure I'm a fan of the gigantic wheels, but that seems to be the modern trend.

  • Dmulyadi Dmulyadi on Feb 02, 2017

    Well this car was designed for European market, so they have more taste than American. American only like boxy, sharp macho stuff. Come on ppl be adventurous. For the first time I really like Toyota design. But as we all know nothing in this world is perfect. I wanted a Hybrid AWD cuz I live in big city that still have snow. But if this mean make it cheaper then oh well it's always like that America always get watered down product anyway. Been happening since the beginning of time. Less powerful German cars, less high tech Japanese cars. Nothing new. They must have other agenda like selling bigger more expensive SUV in their mind.

  • Tassos Before you rush to buy this heap of rusty metal, maybe you should wait a day or two.I hear Tim will have an Model T next time.
  • Redapple2 I d just buy one already sorted. Too many high level skills (wiring, paint, body panel fitment et. al.) that i dont have. And I dont fancy working 100 s of hours for $3 /hour.
  • 28-Cars-Later I'm actually surprised at this and not sure what to make of it. In recent memory Senator Biden has completely ignored an ecological disaster in Ohio, and then ignored a tragic fire in Hawaii until his handlers were goaded in sending him and his visit turned into it's own disaster, but we skipped nap time for this sh!t show? Seriously? We really are through the looking glass now, "votes" no longer matter (Hillary almost won being the worst presidential candidate since 1984 before he claimed the crown) and outside of Corvette nostalgia Joe doesn't care let alone know what day it happens to be. Could they really be afraid of Trump, who AFAIK has planned no appearance or run his mouth on this issue? Just doesn't make sense, granted this is Clown World so maybe its my fault for trying to find sense in a senseless act.
  • Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
  • ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)