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Styling Size-up: 2018 Toyota C-HR vs. Compact CUV Competition

Segment has a new contender for “most polarizing”

Segment has a new contender for “most polarizing”

Toyota is late to the subcompact crossover party, but what it lacks in timeliness it makes up for in loud, impossible-to-ignore styling with the 2018 Toyota C-HR. The small crossover was finally shown in U.S.-spec trim at the L.A. auto show, and now we can better compare it against three of its top rivals, including the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, and the equally polarizing Nissan Juke.

The C-HR’s front end probably won’t offend anyone, as it doesn’t stray far from the design language we’ve seen on the Corolla, Camry, RAV4, and other models. The narrow grille meets the wide, angled-inward headlights, which are swept back across the sculpted front fenders and reach almost to the end of the wheel well. The front fascia isn’t as polarizing as the Juke’s, which has its headlights in the bumper and a set of faux-headlights (actually daytime running lights) above the grille.

Things get really interesting when you look at the C-HR from the side. Toyota takes the coupe styling trend to a new level with a profile that’s nothing like anything else in the class. The rear glass is raked even more than that of the Juke, and there are two rear spoilers just for kicks – one that visually extends the roofline and another ducktail-like piece molded into the liftgate. Want character lines? The C-HR has them in spades.

In back, the taillights protrude outward and extend beyond the bodywork. The rear bumper tapers upward, giving the crossover a kind of hourglass shape when viewed directly from behind. Compared to the other three competitors, the C-HR easily has the busiest rear end, but that might not be a bad thing to this vehicle’s target market.

The C-HR’s interior is less extroverted than its exterior, but there are still a few unique touches. The headliner has designs pressed into it at the front corners, and the door panels feature textured plastic inserts with a pattern that evokes carbon fiber weave. The rest of the cabin is fairly pedestrian, with its free-standing infotainment screen and common two-binnacle gauge cluster design.

The 2018 Toyota C-HR definitely stands out from its peers, but is that a good or bad thing? How does it compare against the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, and Mazda CX-3? Of course, there’s also the Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, Chevrolet Trax, and the new-to-the-North America Ford EcoSport to consider. Tell us how the C-HR stacks up in the comments below.

Last week, we asked you about the 2017 Jeep Compass, and most of you were fans of the crossover’s redesign.

“Refreshing. It doesn’t have the overly bulbous curves of other crossovers in its class nor does it look like a minivan with swing doors instead of sliding doors,” said RolandCole.

RCD agreed, saying, “The design is based on the Grand Cherokee but the finished product is unique enough to stand out. Refreshing.”

At least one commenter was so stoked about the crossover’s looks, he was willing to defend it physically. “If anyone calls this revolting, I’m going to punch them,” said MadisonTSX.

Still, some weren’t sold. “In comparison to the outgoing model, refreshing. On its own, it’s generically good looking. It wears a generic corporate face. It’s nothing to be disappointed about, but it’s nothing to be excited about either,” said Lord Wou.