Toyota Updates C-HR for 2020; Power and Drive Wheels Carry Over

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
toyota updates c hr for 2020 power and drive wheels carry over

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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  • Lstanley Lstanley on Oct 01, 2019

    There's one of these in my area and it, uhhh, stands out being some version of light blue with a white roof. Like a Smurf.

  • Saturnotaku Saturnotaku on Oct 01, 2019

    This thing has the absolute worst rear corner visibility of any vehicle I've ever sampled.

  • Fahrvergnugen NA Miata goes topless as long as roads are dry and heater is running, windscreen in place.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic As a side note, have you looked at a Consumers Report lately? In the past, they would compare 3 or 4 station wagons, or compact SUVs, or sedans per edition. Now, auto reporting is reduced to a report on one single vehicle in the entire edition. I guess CR realized that cars are not as important as they once were.
  • Fred Private equity is only concerned with making money. Not in content. The only way to deal with it, is to choose your sites wisely. Even that doesn't work out. Just look at AM/FM radio for a failing business model that is dominated by a few large corporations.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Lots of dynamics here:[list][*]people are creatures of habit, they will stick with one or two web sites, one or two magazines, etc; and will only look at something different if recommended by others[/*][*]Generation Y & Z is not "car crazy" like Baby Boomers. We saw a car as freedom and still do. Today, most youth text or face call, and are focused on their cell phone. Some don't even leave the house with virtual learning[/*][*]New car/truck introductions are passé; COVID knocked a hole in car shows; spectacular vehicle introductions are history.[/*][*]I was in the market for a replacement vehicle, but got scared off by the current used and new prices. I'll wait another 12 to 18 months. By that time, the car I was interested in will be obsolete or no longer available. Therefore, no reason to research till the market calms down. [/*][*]the number of auto related web sites has ballooned in the last 10 to 15 years. However, there are a diminishing number of taps on their servers as the Baby Boomers and Gen X fall off the radar scope. [/*][/list]Based on the above, the whole auto publishing industry (magazine, web sites, catalogs, brochures, etc) is taking a hit. The loss of editors and writers is apparent in all of publishing. This is structural, no way around it.
  • Dukeisduke I still think the name Bzzzzzzzzzzt! would have been better.
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