People want to talk to me about the 2018 Toyota C-HR.
Since I took possession of a Toyota Canada-supplied C-HR last Friday, more people have approached me to discuss the C-HR than any other car I’ve ever had the pleasure or displeasure of testing.
Naturally, I assume they’re not going to have kind things to say. Let’s be honest: the Toyota C-HR is not a conventional beauty. “It’s not mine,” I quickly declare to a couple examining the C-HR in the grocery store parking lot as I approach it, bags in hand. “You can say whatever you think.”
And then they do. But the words they speak are not in keeping with my expectations.
“I love it.”
“I want one.”
“We’ve already gone to the dealer to see what colors they have.”
“My husband wants to wait until we can get the teal one with the white roof.”
“It’s like the CRX we used to own.”
Then they ask me what I think. Given that every one of these C-HR adorers is well into retirement age, I mention the treacherous visibility and the backup camera that resides in a corner of the rearview mirror.
Two of the couples who wish to discuss the 2018 C-HR hopped out of older Corollas to come talk to me. There’s no mention in any case of the Honda HR-V or Buick Encore or Mazda CX-3 or Subaru Crosstrek or Jeep Renegade. The 2018 Toyota C-HR is the car they want.
Front-wheel drive. 144 horsepower. 3,300 pounds. Continuously variable transmission. Enough unique design elements — love it or hate it — to get noticed in a parking lot full of exotics.
Intended to be a part of the youth-oriented Scion brand before Toyota discontinued Scion, the 2018 Toyota C-HR is a $23,495 subcompact with mountains of appeal (apparently, anecdotally) to an older generation.
Toyota wants to sell 30,000 C-HRs in the United States this year; 60,000 annually. That would put the front-wheel-drive-only C-HR well back of the front-wheel-drive-only Kia Soul; behind the Jeep Renegade, Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, and Buick Encore, too.
Reasonable expectations? That depends how the C-HR makes you feel. Would you jump out of your car to talk to me about the 2018 Toyota C-HR in the parking lot of a grocery store? And if so, what would you want to tell me?