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2021 Toyota C-HR Review

The 2021 Toyota C-HR suffers from a weak engine and limited cabin space, which is largely why it sits near the bottom of our subcompact SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Lengthy standard features list
  • Comfortable ride
  • Underpowered engine
  • Small cargo area
  • Limited rearward visibility
  • Unavailable with all-wheel drive

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Toyota C-HR's #14 ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact SUVs category. Currently the Toyota C-HR has a score of 6.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 22 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

6.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 4.9
Performance: 6.1
Interior: 5.8
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.7 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Toyota C-HR a Good SUV?

No, the Toyota C-HR is not a good subcompact SUV. While its ride is composed and its standard features list is long, it has too many downsides. For one, the C-HR lacks sufficient oomph while driving at highway speeds, and a hearty push of the accelerator creates a loud droning noise. The C-HR's gas mileage figures are just OK, and while all-wheel drive is offered in many class rivals, it's unavailable in this Toyota. Additionally, visibility is poor out the back, and rear-seat passengers will likely feel like they're sitting in a cave. To top it off, the C-HR has one of the smallest cargo capacities in the segment.

Why You Can Trust Us: 22 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 22 Toyota C-HR reviews, as well as performance specs, interior dimensions, fuel economy ratings, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

This 2021 C-HR review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Toyota C-HR?

We do not recommend purchasing the C-HR. Instead, look to one of several higher-ranking vehicles. The Hyundai Kona offers more cargo space, a nicer interior, and more powerful engine options, all for a lower starting price than the Toyota, while the Mazda CX-3 is more fun to drive.

Compare the C-HR, Kona, and CX-3 »

2020 vs. 2021 Toyota C-HR: What's the Difference?

For the 2021 model year, Honda adds road sign assist to the C-HR's standard features list, and the Nightshade Edition joins the lineup.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 C-HR »

Here are the key changes for the Toyota C-HR over the last few years:

  • 2018: all-new model
  • 2019: reshuffled trims; gained standard Apple CarPlay and an 8-inch touch screen, as well as available navigation and satellite radio
  • 2020: updated exterior styling; Android Auto became standard
  • 2021: gains standard road sign assist; Nightshade Edition debuts

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 C-HR, 2019 C-HR, and 2020 C-HR reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Toyota C-HR Cost?

The 2021 Toyota C-HR starts at $21,445, which is roughly average for a subcompact SUV. The midlevel XLE and Nightshade Edition trims start at $23,480 and $24,245, respectively. The top-of-the-line Limited trim starts at $26,500.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota C-HR Versus the Competition

Toyota C-HR vs. Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V is slow to accelerate, but it offers composed handling, terrific fuel economy figures, and an enormous cargo hold for the class. It also has a nicer-looking interior than the CH-R. Though the Toyota comes standard with more safety and infotainment features, the Honda is available with all-wheel drive, while the C-HR is not. They finish close in our subcompact SUV rankings, but the HR-V comes out on top.

Compare the C-HR and HR-V »

Toyota C-HR vs. Mazda CX-3

The Mazda CX-3's sharp handling and responsive steering make it more engaging to drive than the C-HR. The CX-3 also offers quicker acceleration, better gas mileage, and a more upscale cabin. Also, though the Mazda has some of the smallest cargo dimensions in the class, it still provides about 6 more cubic feet of cargo space than the Toyota. Go for the Mazda.

Compare the C-HR and CX-3 »

Compare the C-HR, HR-V, and CX-3 »

C-HR Interior: Nice Technology, but Claustrophobic Rear

C-HR Cargo Space

The C-HR has 19.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back row and 37 cubic feet when the back row is folded flat. These cargo numbers are some of the lowest among subcompact SUVs. By comparison, the Honda HR-V's cargo capacity is a much larger 58.8 cubic feet.

How Many People Does the C-HR Seat?

The Toyota C-HR seats up to five people. The front row has plenty of room, and average-sized adults should have enough space in the back. However, rear-seat passengers will likely feel claustrophobic due to the small windows, dark color scheme, and thick roof pillars.

C-HR and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

C-HR Interior Quality

The C-HR's unique styling also makes its way inside the vehicle, with diamond patterns on the door and dashboard surfaces. This Toyota's cabin features mostly quality materials, but there are some hard plastics on the center console.

C-HR Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Thanks to a high-mounted touch screen with logical menus, the C-HR's infotainment system is easy to see and use, and it comes standard with popular smartphone integration technology like Android Auto. There are also physical controls that make it easy to adjust temperature and climate settings while driving.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, six speakers, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, voice recognition, and a Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Available infotainment features: HD Radio
  • Additional standard features: remote keyless entry and dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: proximity keyless entry and push-button start

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay?, What Is Android Auto?, and What Is Amazon Alexa Auto?

Read more about interior »

C-HR Performance: Lacks Power but Maintains Composure

C-HR Engine

The C-HR is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 144 horsepower. It's paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). It's fine for driving around town, but if you frequently travel at highway speeds, you'll want to bypass this Toyota because of its lethargic engine power. Pushing hard on the gas mostly just creates extra noise rather than meaningful thrust.

C-HR Gas Mileage

Earning an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, the 2021 Toyota C-HR offers about-average fuel efficiency for a subcompact SUV.

C-HR Ride and Handling

The C-HR does a pretty good job of delivering a comfortable ride. And while the vehicle definitely isn't sporty, its accurate steering and good stability around corners impart confidence. Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is not available.

Read more about performance »

C-HR Reliability

Is the Toyota C-HR Reliable?

The 2021 Toyota C-HR has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Toyota C-HR Warranty

The 2021 C-HR comes with a three-year/36,000-mile new-car limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

C-HR Safety

C-HR Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 C-HR. However, the NHTSA gave the similar 2020 C-HR an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, while the IIHS gave the 2020 model the highest rating of Good in all six crash safety tests.

C-HR Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane tracing assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Road sign assist

Available advanced safety features:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert

Read more about safety »

C-HR Dimensions and Weight

The C-HR is about 14.4 feet long. Its curb weight is 3,300 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Toyota C-HR Built?

Toyota builds the 2021 C-HR in Turkey.

Which Toyota C-HR Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Toyota C-HR is available in four trims: LE, XLE, Nightshade Edition, and Limited. All models come with a 144-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is not available.

The base LE trim comes standard with many comfort, infotainment, and safety features, making it a good choice for most C-HR shoppers.

Toyota C-HR LE

The LE trim (MSRP: $21,445) comes with cloth upholstery, heated side mirrors, remote keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED headlights, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, six speakers, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, voice recognition, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Standard active safety features include a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane tracing assist, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, and road sign assist.

Toyota C-HR XLE

The XLE trim starts at $23,480. It gains a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Toyota C-HR Nightshade Edition

The Nightshade Edition (MSRP: $24,245) builds off the XLE and adds black exterior accents to the wheels, door handles, and badges.

Toyota C-HR Limited

Starting at $26,500, the Limited trim adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2021 Toyota C-HR specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Toyota C-HR's unique styling may turn some heads, but it won't excite in many other ways. This Toyota suffers from languid acceleration, a claustrophobic back row, and below-average cargo capacity. You're better off with one of several higher-ranked vehicles in the subcompact SUV class, such as the Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V, or Mazda CX-3.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "It's stylish and well-equipped, but the Toyota C-HR requires some big compromises." -- Car and Driver
  • "More expressive than the sleek Hyundai Kona or demure Honda HR-V, the C-HR won’t get lost in a crowded parking lot. Still, there are a few quirks that may be deal-breakers for some – such as the big rear pillars, disguised rear door handles, and the absence of all-wheel drive. Countering any downsides is Toyota’s excellent reputation for quality and robust resale values, the C-HR’s engaging driving manners and the assurance provided by the numerous standard driver aids." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2021 Toyota C-HR is unlike any other subcompact SUV/crossover. That’s great in some ways – it’s hard to complain about something with such distinct style and character. … but there are downsides. Rearward vision is seriously compromised for the driver and for any passengers in the back seat. For the class, cargo space is merely average at best. And the C-HR’s tepid acceleration and droning transmission drag down that otherwise fun driving experience. Make sure to take an extended test drive and consider these drawbacks before bringing this crossover/hatchback home." -- Autotrader
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