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 Iâ€™ve ever had the pleasure or displeasure of testing.
Naturally, I assume theyâ€™re not going to have kind things to say. Letâ€™s be honest: the Toyota C-HR is not a conventional beauty. â€œItâ€™s not mine,â€� I quickly declare to a couple examining the C-HR in the grocery store parking lot as I approach it, bags in hand. â€œYou can say whatever you think.â€�
And then they do. But the words they speak are not in keeping with my expectations.
â€œI love it.â€�
â€œI want one.â€�
â€œWeâ€™ve already gone to the dealer to see what colors they have.â€�
â€œMy husband wants to wait until we can get the teal one with the white roof.â€�
â€œItâ€™s like the CRX we used to own.â€�
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. Thereâ€™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 â€” love it or hate it â€” 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 withÂ mountains of appeal (apparently, anecdotally)Â 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.Â 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?
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.