2018 Toyota C-HR
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
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style
What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!
While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.
It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.
This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.
It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.
That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.
It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.
With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.
We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.
Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.
The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.
We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.
Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.
Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.
For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.
Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
- Engine: 5.5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 670
- 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
- EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
- Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
- Torque: 460 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph