By on October 1, 2019

If you were hoping that a refresh bestowed upon Toyota’s funky subcompact crossover would yield the extra oomph and all-wheel drive desired by many since the model’s debut, well, re-read that headline.

For 2020, C-HR buyers will continue to get by with front-drive and a 144-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder; they’ll just gain some appearance and content changes. Truth be told, FWD and a tepid four is probably fine for the majority of subcompact crossover buyers. However, take a trip overseas and you’ll find there’s suddenly extra power on offer.

In Europe, and coming soon to Australia, C-HR shoppers will have access to a 181 hp hybrid variant appearing for the 2020 model year. But that’s over there, and you’re stuck over here.

The lack of North American powertrain enhancements for the model’s refresh is surely a decision in which dollars and cents played a big role. Overseas, depending on market, the C-HR is offered as a hybrid, an electric vehicle (China, starting next year), and an all-wheel drive product. Introduced for 2018, the C-HR turned heads with its avant-garde styling and gave Toyota an answer to Honda’s HR-V, Mazda’s CX-3, and General Motors’ Trax/Encore twins.

Toyota’s recent admission to Car and Driver that a joint Alabama assembly plant shared with Mazda will breed a new crossover has only added fuel to the rumor fire. Will the C-HR bow out of the American market in favor of a tailor-made crossover solution, or will it soldier on while a newer and larger lineup addition soaks up the spotlight? The latter scenario makes more sense.

But back to the 2020 C-HR. For the coming model year, the model gains a reworked fascia that gives the impression of a larger mouth, plus LED headlamps — even on the lower-rung LE model. A new spoiler appears out back. To tempt the younger crowd, Android Auto comes aboard as the (glaring) missing piece of the vehicle’s connectivity suite.

Elsewhere, the changes are minor and trim-specific. Limited models gain a new eight-way power driver’s seat and adaptive headlights that swivel into turns. There’s seatback pockets and sun visor extensions to be found on the XLE. Buyers of the LE can expect a new headliner. All trims gain new wheel designs. While two new colors join the C-HR’s palette, you’ll no longer be able to order a white roof. Silver replaces white for 2020, you see.

Small things, to be sure, but despite the status quo powertrain and running gear, Toyota isn’t content to keep things exactly the same. Thus far, the C-HR’s sales performance hasn’t suffered from a lack of updates, though its popularity seems limited by the lack of all-wheel grip. U.S. volume through September is basically flat, down 0.4 percent from the same period a year earlier.

It’s worth noting that Honda’s HR-V reached the C-HR’s current sales tally before the end of May.

[Images: Toyota]

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