Toyota has a specific demographic for the new C-HR facelift.
When Toyota pulled the cloth off of its smallest crossover and sent the C-HR out to dealers in 2018, it made quite an impact. It landed full of style but firmly parked in the value segment.
The C-HR comes with an attractive price tag and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine matched to a CVT taking care of fuel economy while having enough power to get out of its own way. It also comes with minimal but solid standard features, including an 8-inch touchscreen and Apple Carplay as standard as well as dual-zone climate control and automated emergency braking. From the start, the C-HR has been clearly aimed at the younger demographic and, for its 2020 refresh, Toyota has doubled down on that with a bolder new look and some small but important extra standard features.
Toyota's aim here is to blend the sport coupe, hatchback, and compact crossover into one unique vehicle. The C-HR wasn't an introverted car out of the gate, but now its got even more attitude. Those headlights may wrap themselves sleekly into the fender under the hood, but where Toyota really got its groove on is with the low coupe-styled roof line rolling down towards its wide sculpted hips.
The fresh look keeps things sharp and sculpted while gaining a new and expressive grille, bumper, and LED headlamp set-up at the front. At the back, there's a new spoiler and the 2020 model year also gains new 17-inch alloy wheels as an option while the top of the range Limited trim gets its own new 18-inch alloy wheels.
The three trim levels carry over, but the basic LE model now gets LED lights as standard along with its more expensive siblings. While Toyota only gave us an early sneak peek at the black paint, the color palette gets as bold as buyers will want. The same colors carry over from 2019, but added is Supersonic Red and Hot Lava Orange that are only available with the R-Code Black roof. For two-tone fans, the R-Code White roof is discontinued for 2020 but replaced with an R-Code Silver roof option.
While not the most exciting of drivetrains, the C-HR's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is adequate around town with 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque on offer. The 2020 C-HR also keeps its CVT transmission with intelligence and Shift mode and a preload differential to use at low speed to help distribute torque between the front wheels. Sport mode also remains, along with the unnecessary simulated 7-speed sequential feature that allows the driver to shift non-existent gears with the lever. More useful is the Brake Hold Function for when stuck in traffic.
EPA estimates on fuel economy is 27 mpg in the city, 31 on the highway, and 29 mpg combined.
The fact Toyota calls the cabin MeZone is another huge clue as to the C-HR's demographic. However, the word sassy rather than funky springs to mind inside, and that's a good thing. The accents and sculpting look good, carrying a youthful vibe and making the most of the limited space. Toyota hasn't fallen into the trap of appealing to youth by going over the top. Attention to detail is part of it allure, and there's still a healthy amount of storage space littered about and the dash is driver-centric. Apple Carplay is still standard through all trims, and that's now joined by Android Auto for 2020.
Also new for 2020 is a grey headliner for the LE and Limited trim, while the XLE offers a new black and blue interior option complete with blue instrument panel trim, center armrest on the console, and blue seat trim and quilting. Limited trim gets an 8-way powered adjustable driver's seat and adaptive front lights as well as the optional black and brown interior along the same lines of the XLE's black with blue trimmings.
The 2020 refresh is a welcome aesthetic upgrade and while the technological upgrade isn't comprehensive, we didn't expect it to be considering the low $20,000 price range the C-HR sits in. Outside of the aesthetics, the important addition here is Android Auto which will certainly appeal to the younger demographic shopping in a competitive segment.
With nothing changing in the drivetrain and suspension, the C-HR is destined to remain a case of style over substance. However, for a buyer who simply wants something easy and comfortable to drive and looks good, it's hard to deny the C-HR is now even more of a stylish bargain. The LE starts at $21,295, the XLE at $23,330, and the Limited at $26,350.