Trimming the Range: Toyota Adding Base LE Trim to C-HR

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
trimming the range toyota adding base le trim to c hr

Like ‘em or not, compact crossovers are here to stay — and are in fact set to become the sole opening dish at the Blue Oval. Toyota has its own stable of mini-utes, including the alarmingly styled C-HR, a machine that currently sets an opening bid of $22,500 as its base sticker price.

Seeing potential opportunity to plumb a bit further into the market, it appears that Toyota is adding a cheaper model for 2019, one which explores the $20,000 price bracket.

Currently, the trucklet is offered to Americans in a brace of trims: the XLE and XLE Premium. The former starts at $22,500 while the snazzier model adds $1,850 for the priviledge of adding push-button start, blind spot monitoring, and a few other toys.

All current C-HR’s are equipped with features most customers could easily live without, such as a leather-trimmed steering wheel and dual-zone climate control. Binning these features would bring an LE in line with entry level trims on other models in the Toyota family, while still leaving room for a budget CE should corporate overlords deem one necessary.

CarsDirect reports this new trim stickers at $20,945 sans destination, a price which puts it squarely in the wheelhouse of Honda’s HR-V in LX trim. A similarly sized front-drive Chevy Trax is listed for an even $21,000 before the inevitable cash allowance, which currently stands at $2,000. Ford’s EcoSport will hack your life for $19,995. There’s a $2,000 lease incentive on base EcoSports now, too.

At this point, I feel the need to point out that a base Focus stickers at $17,950, with an available $4,250 worth of lease incentives. That’s 25 percent off, folks. How sales staff at Ford dealers are going to flip entry-level customers to an EcoSport costing bags more Simoleons once all the small cars are gone is beyond me. It will be a tall order.

Bringing the C-HR to market with plenty of features was likely a shrewd decision by Toyota, as it set the table for customers’ initial exposure to them as something other than a stripped-out base model. The report goes on to say the XLE Premium will be rechristened the Limited, endowed with leather seats, and given a slight bump in price.

Since its appearance on dealer lots one year ago, the C-HR has quickly jumped to an average of about 4,000 units a month. Honda sold 7,322 HR-V’s in April. I’d tell you how many Chevy Trax crossovers left dealerships last month, but GM doesn’t deem us slovenly journalists worthy of such information anymore. They moved more than 8,000 of the things in March.

Worldwide, Toyota sold 8,964,394 vehicles last year, a number announced yesterday in its annual financial report. That’s roughly flat compared to 2016. Buried in the verbiage was an announcement from bossman Akio Toyoda that he has “decided to ‘redesign’ Toyota from a car-making company into a mobility company.” Oh dear.

The 2019 Toyota C-HR, and all its new trims, should show up on dealer lots later this year.

[Images: Toyota]

Join the conversation
2 of 31 comments
  • "scarey" "scarey" on May 12, 2018

    No offense to Toyota, but this is an awfully ugly car, identical to super-ugly cars from nearly every manufacturer. I include nearly every modern SUV and especially CUVs in that statement. Compared to 1959 models from GM, these are just as gaudy but lacking all the chrome and class. Look at the new Avalon's grille. And look at this car's dashboard (chrome both places replaced with acres of plastic). . I prefer the 59 GM models.

  • Netsy Netsy on May 14, 2018

    Can we get some damn colors on this thing?! What's the point of offering a wildly-styled vehicle when the color options are white, black, grey, different grey, dull red, and blue, like every other bland car out there? Kia's selling their Soul in neon green and bright yellow, and the crazy C-HR just offers Toyota's standard complement of Bland?

  • Kwik_Shift Manuals are great theft deterrents though. 😉Sad when they're disappearing from many makes.
  • Arthur Dailey Confession here. 2 of the previous generation Rogues in our family over the past 5 years. Saw some cost cutting between the 1st and the 2nd one. On the 'new' one there are no cubbies on the back of the front seats, the ignition is not lit, and there is a marked difference in the front seats. The first Rogue has the most comfortable seats I have experienced since the heyday of the PLCs. Despite sciatica could drive that Rogue for hours with no issues. The seats on the 2nd Rogue create discomfort after 30 minutes. And everyone in the family has noticed this.The first Rogue drove seamlessly. Quiet and comfortable on the highway. On both we have averaged just over 29 mpg. The 2nd Rogue needs to be warmed up and driven slowly if left out overnight in minus 30 (f) or -0 (c) weather, otherwise the engine just revs and the speed does not seem to increase. The dealer has been asked to look at this multiple times but each time they claim that there is no issue. It also has the worst Bluetooth interface I have experienced. Otherwise, based on size, cost, the Rogues were chosen over Toyota/Honda. Both were/are leased so not concerned about long term values/reliability. And the 'new' Rogue came standard with heated seats and blind spot warning, which the Toyota/Honda did not without going up a couple of packages.However we should have bought out the first Rogue when the lease ended. During the height of the pandemic, it could have easily been flipped for close to double the buyout cost.
  • AKHusky L2 charger at home. My wife’s workplace has a couple of chargers and she is able to use one about half the time. Our town also has a number of free chargers and I use those occasionally if I’m going to be parked in that vicinity for at least an hour anyway.
  • Jkross22 That's a great looking shifter. Reminds me of the old school late 70s BMW manual - BTW TTAC, that would be a cool article to run - Best looking shifters in the last 30 years. My vote:Audi gated shifter from the R8. Should've offered that on every RS model and let people special order.
  • Ajla Maybe they should not have released several special edition Broncos when they couldn't even get regular trim orders out within a year?I'm not sure who is in charge of Ford's production but they deserve to be very fired.