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

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • "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?

  • Varezhka The biggest underlying issue of Mitsubishi Motors was that for most of its history the commercial vehicles division was where all the profit was being made, subsidizing the passenger vehicle division losses. Just like Isuzu.And because it was a runt of a giant conglomerate who mainly operated B2G and B2B, it never got the attention it needed to really succeed. So when Daimler came in early 2000s and took away the money making Mitsubishi-Fuso commercial division, it was screwed.Right now it's living off of its legacy user base in SE Asia, while its new parent Nissan is sucking away at its remaining engineering expertise in EV and kei cars. I'd love to see the upcoming US market Delica, so crossing fingers they will last that long.
  • ToolGuy A deep-dive of the TTAC Podcast Archives gleans some valuable insight here.
  • Tassos I heard the same clueless, bigoted BULLSHEET about the Chinese brands, 40 years ago about the Japanese Brands, and more recently about the Koreans.If the Japanese and the Koreans have succeeded in the US market, at the expense of losers such as Fiat, Alfa, Peugeot, and the Domestics,there is ZERO DOUBT in my mind, that if the Chinese want to succeed here, THEY WILL. No matter what one or two bigots do about it.PS try to distinguish between the hard working CHINESE PEOPLE and their GOVERNMENT once in your miserable lives.
  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.