2018 Toyota C-HR

2018 Toyota C-HR

Episode 3644
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The upside of the Scion brand’s demise is that things are getting a little more exciting at corporate parent Toyota. This re-branded C-HR, or coupe high rider, gives Toyota a much-needed entry into the subcompact utility category, and one with looks that are quite out there. But, does C-HR also deliver meaningful utility, or is it all about funky style?    

First things first, the 2018 Toyota C-HR does indeed give Toyota another entry into what is the fastest growing vehicle choice today, utility vehicles. It slides under the Rav4 in their car-based crossover lineup. First revealed in concept form at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the CH-R also indicates a bolder direction in overall Toyota design.

The production model clearly resembles that concept, but is far from an exact copy. The front end sets a very confident tone; while deep-cut body lines point towards the C-pillars, where there’s both a floating roof design and high-mounted door handles.

From there, an almost horizontal back glass leads to a hacked-off rear with its own aggressive lines. Wheelbase is less than an inch shorter than the RAV4, yet there’s over a foot difference in overall length. 18-inch alloys and 50-Series tires are standard. 

There are plenty of aero treatments that the kid’s love these days, including diffuser, spoiler, wheel spats, and even “vortex generators”. 

Those high-mounted door handles actually work great. But, do yourself a favor and skip the white roof option; unless you’re going for the taxicab look. 

No all-wheel-drive for now, front-wheel-drive only. No factory turbo either, as those front wheels get power from a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter I4 good for 144–horsepower and 139 lb-ft. of torque. Toyota is leaving it to the aftermarket to add more.

Unfortunately,  it’s CVT only for tranny duties. 

But not so fast; that CVT does a good job of delivering the moderate power smoothly, and CVT-induced engine noise is relatively minor here, as is noise in general.

It’s also has a very solid feeling for a small ute, riding on the Toyota Prius’ recently updated New Global Architecture chassis. Handling is quite good, as it remains very flat in corners, urging you to push it harder than you probably should; though there’s not enough power here for you to really get yourself into too much trouble. 

Through the rolling Hill Country around Austin, Texas, we found steering to be very quick, with good feedback through the wheel, as well as through the brake pedal. 

Things are very sporty in both look and feel inside, with a hip Scion-like touchscreen audio display, but no Satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto.

Likewise, gauges are more Scion than Toyota; with a 4.2-inch TFT multi-instrument display that gives lots of info including a G-Force monitor.

Front seat space is plentiful and are sufficiently comfortable. All controls are within easy reach. Rear seats are claustrophobic. Not a lot of space, and very little window to see out of; though there are belts for 3 back here.  

Like many sub-compact crossovers, cargo space is just adequate; 19.0 cubic-ft. puts it slightly under the Honda HR-V, but much higher than the Mazda CX-3. Folding the seatbacks takes it to more acceptable 36.4 cubic-ft. 

Now, as for what this Coupe High Rider crossover is not; well, despite its slick shape, it’s not a coupe, more of a 5-door hatchback.  And it doesn’t ride overly high either, with just 5.9-inches of ground clearance. And it’s certainly not a traditional crossover without all-wheel-drive.  So what’s left?  A lot of target marketing and a respectable amount of fun. 

No skimping on safety features however. Toyota’s unfortunately-named Safety Sense P, with Pre-Collision System and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, is standard, as are 10-airbags. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 27-City, 31-Highway, and 29-Combined. For a better than average Energy Impact Score of 11.4-barrels of yearly oil use with 5.0-tons of CO2 emitted. 

As for the sticker prices? Base XLE trim starts at $23,460; XLE Premium, at $25,310. That puts it above the Mazda3, Honda HR-V, and Nissan Juke; however, both models are very well equipped, and without options to hike that price up further.

In today’s “multi-culti” world, where we try to combine the best attributes of all cultures; the 2018 Toyota C-HR tries to put crossover practicality into a conglomeration with youthful style and peppy performance; and for the most part succeeds very well. 


But still, it’s a form over function piece that much like the Nissan Juke, will appeal mostly to city-dwelling urban adventurers who need an easy to park ride with more flexibility than the typical compact.  But, even without all-wheel-drive, that may be enough to give the Scion faithful an easy entry into the “Mother Brand” and make this high ridin’ coupe a hit for Toyota. 


  • Engine: 2.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 144
  • Torque: 139 lb-ft.
  • EPA: 27 mpg city / 31 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 11.4 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.0 tons/yr
2023 GMC Canyon 1

2023 GMC Canyon

Canyon Goes Bigger

Episode 4303
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!

Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.

Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.

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The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.

At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.

And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.

But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.

Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.

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The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.

Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.

So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!


  • Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 310
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
  • Transmission: 8-speed auto
  • Torque: 430 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
  • EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined