What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, we weren't quite sure what to make of the Nissan Juke. Today, the auto industry has made an entire segment of tiny crossovers with swoopy styling. And the Toyota C-HR is the swoopiest.
It's also the most powerful, by a considerable amount (22 horsepower) over the Kicks, and by a smidge (3 horsepower) over the HR-V. The C-HR's two-liter four-cylinder makes 144 horsepower. Mated to a continuously variable transmission, the extra power doesn't pay off. Zero to 60 takes 9.5 seconds in the Nissan and the Honda. It's 11 seconds flat in the 2021 Toyota C-HR.
You might think the payoff comes at the gas pump, as the C-HR's EPA fuel economy estimate is a miserly 27 miles per gallon city, 31 highway, which edges out the Honda's 26/31. But the Nissan beats that handily at 31 city/36 highway.
2021 Toyota C-HRs start at $21,595, but our tester is the Nightshade Edition. That base price is $24,245. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are the Toyota Safety Sense suite including dynamic cruise control, lane departure alert and automatic high beams, 18-inch black alloy wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights, heated power folding mirrors with puddle lamps and a six-speaker audio system.
And what's standard is where the equipment stopped on our tester, apart from $425 for the Supersonic Red w/Black paint job. So, with $995 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2021 Toyota C-HR Nightshade Edition is $25,665.
As I said about the HR-V, these cars really are today's equivalent of late 70s and early 80s hatchbacks. Small, economical, not terribly fast, but utilitarian and reliable. As long as you don't let the styling set the expectation for what happens when you put your foot down on the accelerator, there's decent value to appreciate here.