2018 Toyota C-HR vs 2017 Honda HR-V Comparison

36

Toyota was really late to the game with a subcompact crossover and jealous that its arch nemesis Honda has its HR-V, it recently came out with the sharp-looking C-HR, which was supposed to be a Scion.

And everyone knows the Toyota-Honda rivalry is as natural as pie versus cake, so of course we had to compare them to see which one is the better subcompact crossover.

Style

Right away, the Toyota wins in the style department. I appreciate the way it looks — it’s funky and different without being too weird. (I also love the Nissan Juke, though, so maybe my tastes are questionable.) The HR-V, on the other hand, simply looks like like a bean — it’s quite dorky and can easily be mistaken for any other subcompact crossover. It’s just very generic, so I give Toyota mad points for standing out and doing something different.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Practicality

The Toyota looks much better, but practicality takes a huge hit because of that style, and the Honda ends up having way more cargo capacity and better sightlines, and that practicality is something a lot of people want.

While the HR-V has 23.2 cubic feet (657 L) of space in the trunk that balloons to 55.9 cu-ft (1,583 L) with the seats folded flat, the Toyota comes nowhere close with just 19 cu-ft (538 L) in the trunk and 36.4 cu-ft (1,030 L) with the seats down. If you need more space to haul things, the HR-V is undoubtedly the smarter pick, especially because it has the Magic Seats in the rear, which allow the seat cushion to flip upwards, making it easier to carry taller items. These seats are the best and I wish every car had them.

ALSO SEE: 2017 Honda CR-V vs Toyota RAV4

Although the sightlines in the Honda aren’t great, by comparison, you’re basically blind to anything behind your shoulders in the Toyota. The C-HR’s sloped roofline and small windows look pretty cool, but they really make it difficult to see out of and park, especially because of the silly backup camera in the rear-view mirror. It’s really jarring to use, is too small, and isn’t as useful as drivers need it to be, especially because of the huge blind spots. But both cars are so small, it should be a huge problem when trying to park.

Compare Specs

2018 Toyota C-HR
vs
2017 Honda HR-V
Vehicle 2018 Toyota C-HR Advantage 2017 Honda HR-V
Engine2.0L 4-cyl-1.8L 4-cyl
Horsepower144Toyota141
Torque139Toyota127
TransmissionCVT-CVT
Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)19/36.4Honda23.3/55.9
Cargo Capacity (L)538/1,030Honda657/1,583
US Fuel Economy (MPG)27 city/31 hwy/29 combined-27 city/31 hwy/29 combined
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km)8.7 city/7.5 hwy/8.2 combined-8.9 city/7.5 hwy/8.2 combined
US Starting Price$22500Honda$19465
CAN Starting Price$26475Honda$23047
US As-Tested Price$25310Toyota$26180
CAN As-Tested Price$28973Toyota$32347

The Drive

The Toyota C-HR is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. I was very surprised by how the Toyota drives: It feels zippy and legitimately fun. The steering also doesn’t suffer from being overly light and vague like most other cars in this segment. Most impressive is the suspension, which isn’t at all sloppy in the corners and also isn’t too uncomfortably stiff. The C-HR also feels like it has a lower center of gravity and a wide stance, resulting in a nimble car that feels good in corners and stable at higher speeds. The only downside is that the Toyota is front-wheel drive only, meaning all-wheel drive isn’t even an option, which might take it out of the running for some folks, but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker.

2017-honda-hrv-vs-toyota-chr-005

If there’s one word that can describe the Honda’s drive, though, it’s basic. It gets you where you need to go, but there’s nothing fun about it, and at times, it’s actually kind of depressing because it’s trying so hard under full acceleration and it sounds like it’s screaming at you, but it’s not actually going anywhere.

There’s nothing special about how the HRV drives. The steering is vague, the suspension is comfortable, but a bit too soft to have any fun and it just doesn’t feel as nimble as the Toyota, although it is easy to drive and park, which is what really matters to a lot of people shopping this segment.

2017-honda-hrv-vs-toyota-chr-034

The HR-V is powered by a smaller 1.8L engine with 141 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque, both figures that are less than the Toyota by a little bit. One big bonus for a lot of people is that they can pick either front wheel or all-wheel drive with the Honda. Interestingly, fuel economy for both cars is a draw at about 29 mpg (8.2 L/100 km) combined.

Interior

Inside, both cars are pretty basic yet not oppressively cheap and the layouts for both are clean and user-friendly. Neither cars have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which sucks because both of the infotainment systems are pretty terrible. Both are slow, look old and aren’t very functional, but at least you can get navigation in the Honda, even if it doesn’t work that well. Nav isn’t even an option in the Toyota, so you’ll have to get a phone mount. Honda’s touchscreen is also easier to use because it has home and menu options, but neither of them is very user-friendly.

Honda HR-V-14

The Toyota only has two trims, so it comes really well equipped with standard features like automatic high beams, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, full speed adaptive cruise control that works in traffic and can bring you to a full stop, crash avoidance with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking. Rear-cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, heated seats, push-button start and power folding mirrors come with the higher trim package.

This top trim Honda, which is more expensive than the Toyota, is majorly lacking when it comes to active safety features. It basically comes with none of those driver assistance and safety features the Toyota does except for lane-keep assist and collision mitigation, and that’s a huge knock against it.

2017-honda-hrv-vs-toyota-chr-c

The Verdict: 2018 Toyota C-HR vs 2017 Honda HR-V Comparison

I was surprised by the outcome of this comparison. I thought for sure the Honda HR-V’s practicality would steal the show, but the Toyota brings a much more impressive list of features, far better driving dynamics, and more style to this very boring segment all while being more affordable at the top end. If it were my money on the line, I’d definitely be OK with sacrificing some practicality and going for the Toyota.

Toyota C-HR

Honda HR-V

  • Gbk132

    The honda does come with a manual. That would be the deciding factor for me.Would choose the honda just for that reason.

  • brooksdavis

    Well, if what the author of this article wrote is accurate, a boring drive with a manual is just a boring drive that you have to shift yourself. You can’t put lipstick on a pig.

  • artist B Lewis

    He isn’t. I love driving my hrv. I also think that it’s a cute little vehicle

  • Midi Man

    Biggest miss for Toyota is no AWD.

  • mb916

    Right away, the Toyota wins in the style department. I appreciate the way it looks — it’s funky and different without being too weird.
    Yeah, NO! The Toyota looks awful. It has the pinched nose like the Prius and RAV. It is NOT a good look!
    The Honda looks boring, but at least it’s not hard to look at.

  • Rafal Grzesiak

    The Toyota is much better

  • DoctorFeelgoodMD

    A good friend of mine loves her Honda HR-V so much she would take it over her friends
    Volvo XC90 T6 that she’s shared driving across the US. Bottom line, to each his/her own.

  • DoctorFeelgoodMD

    Sorry, you can’t say that without explaining why or did you feel the need to say something.

  • Robert Gilchrist

    The current c-hr is a 1.2L engine in Australia. You list the 2018 as a 2L. Are they upgrading the engine. I ask because I have just ordered a koba and it’s getting delivered in 3 weeks.

  • Mike

    I agree. The Honda is a Fit on steroids with questionable quality, and made in Mexico with an already problematic CVT transmission in the Honda. I like the magic seats in the Honda, but the lack of basically any safety features and such a drab interior is a definite no go. Btw, the Toyota will be here with AWD soon. It’s offered in other countries.

  • Mike

    I explained in detail above.

  • Mike

    The Honda is soooo boring. It’s worse than a generic box of cereal. Kia and Hyundai do a better design job. Heck no.

  • Mike

    Cute?!? Only a mother could love that atrociously boring and bland body. It’s the worst on the market in its segment.

  • geezee

    Lack of ANY safety features ? What more do you want that , 5 star crash rating, front and side airbags, 4 wheel ABS, traction control, backup Cam, DRL’s, etc etc… Do you want the car to drive itself ? HRV already has AWD, and if one dislikes the CVT (as I do) there is a 6 speed manual- unless you feel shifting the car yourself is ‘unsafe’ , too………
    Honestly, the one and only Toyota I will EVER own (I inherited it) was a complete POS compared to my Hondas……..

  • geezee

    Having the 6 speed MT is a huge plus in my opinion….. If a car, any car I am looking at comes in a MT version, that is what I go with. Only place for a AT/CVT is obnoxious continuous stop-n-go city traffic. And I will never live in a city- so not an issue. Honda is miles ahead of Toyota in quality as well despite the advert campaigns by Toyota to the contrary (there is a reason they keep harping on ‘quality’ in ads, instead of proving it with the vehicles) the one and only Toyota I owned was junk compared to my Hondas. BTW don’t let the uniformed fool you , you CAN tow with an MT, I pull a 1200 lb Kayak trailer around with mine- rather easily in fact BETTER than the AT equipped CRV (which does not allow one to manually select the gears 2-3)

  • Gbk132

    I’m with you. Manual transmissions are a dying breed and the new generation dont have a clue about them. Id take a normal looking reliable car with a mt over a trendy looking auto.Never owned an auto trans, will never. Lol.

  • John Hufnagel

    I left as soon as I read that you like the Nissan Juke. That told me the entire story.
    Bottom line… I’ll take the boring one and have room for some friends.

  • geezee

    Some models such as the CRV which my wife has (2013) unfortunately only come with an AT now- at least its not a CVT. And it may not be long before its time for either a Pilot or Ridgeline (both of which are only available as 6 speed ATs) due to the vastly increased towing capability over the CRV platform. Further MTs are fantastic for mountain driving as well. I learned to drive on an MT, a 1969 Olds Cutlass, Rocket 350, 4 speed Hurst shifter- so all others are a piece of cake. Oh and my Dad’s Model A was no easy car to shift, either.

  • geezee

    Some models such as the CRV which my wife has, 2013 only come with an AT- at least its not a CVT. And it may not be long before its time for either a Pilot or Ridgeline (both of which are 6 speed ATs) due to the towing capability.

  • Gary Dahl

    SUV’s should be AWD unless you live in the southern part of the U.S.A. So I don’t see the C-HV as being in the same class as the HR-V. Being a Baby Boomer, I prefer the looks of the HR-V , I hate bugged out headlights and tail lights, they should fit the fenders, thats just me. As far as the GPS goes, I won’t be going on long road trips with it, I will use it so I will never get lost. Its my first GPS in a car I have ever owned, its better then not having one.
    Now I will talk about the safety features, I sometime wish that the HR-V had the Honda safety package.
    The infotainment center works great, bluetooth, pandora, XM, FM-HD. Its not high tech “Apple car play” that uses a cord to communicate, that sounds like a step backwards to me.

  • Cody Beisel

    In North America the c-hr is available with a 2.0l N/A cvt engine/trans combo and the only option currently available

  • Cody Beisel

    I live in Canada and the part of the country I’m from sees 4-7 feet of snow on the flat on th average. I drive a fwd civic. You don’t need awd and you don’t need an suv to drive that kind of terrain. I can appreciate a vehicle like the C-Hr for the fact it’s got better clearance and a fun driving dynamic. Awd would be a game changer but in a car that only makes 140 hp it’s gonna rob that poor engine of any of its power and economy after adding all that weight. You want awd and an SUV go buy a RAV4

  • Mike

    Did you not read the article? Toyota as a manufacturer, is bringing all of its MASSIVE safety features to ALL of its vehicles STANDARD. Honda doesn’t even offer this as an option on this vehicle. Reading and comprehension my friend.

  • Mike

    It’s coming. Or buy a Rav4.

  • Mike

    Problem is, this Honda model ISN’T reliable, just like MOST new Honda’s.

  • Mike

    The new CRV has a CVT and my buddy has a 17 with a lot of dash/electrical issues. I have a NEW 6 speed Rav4.

  • Gary Dahl

    The HRV will not pull stumps out , That’s for sure. But the HRV is full-time front wheel drive until the front wheel spin and rear wheels will assist. Gas mileage and power is not sacrifice with the CVT transmission. I live in Minnesota and we have snow issues too, I can’t wait to see how the HRV performs

  • Cody Beisel

    You still lose mileage due to the added weight of the awd components regardless if it’s full time or not, the penalty wouldn’t be as severe as full time awd. Awd has its benefits in the snow but proper tires on fwd set up is just fine. I’ve found people who buy a vehicle with awd or fxf tend to believe it magically makes them invincible in the snow. Majority of vehicles I see stuck in the ditch are pick ups and suv and I’m pretty sure it’s for that reason. Regardless the Honda is a nice machine I’d like to see both the Honda and Toyota build a more sporty and powerful version of these cars and I’d put it in my driveway. If the Nissan Juke nismo and nismo rs weren’t so ugly I would’ve bought one over my Civic.

  • Robert Gilchrist

    Thank you

  • Gary Dahl

    LX 2wd 2902lbs
    LX 4wd 3062lbs
    EX-L 4wd 3109lbs
    The difference between the LX 2wd and the EX-L 4wd is about 207 lbs.

  • geezee

    Again, the statement made was “Lack of ANY safety features ?”
    Which is wholly incorrect. I see you are eager for the days of self driving cars perhaps. I am the exact opposite- and *I* will always be my vehicles ‘best safety feature’ despite mfr’s best attempts to remove the human from the equation. And honestly, many humans are really awful drivers (lowest common denominator types) and overall, removing them from driving would be an improvement. Additionally, all the safety features in the world don’t make Toyota even equal to Honda in quality and reliability. Its comical to hear the two used as equals ‘Hondas and Toyotas’ – Toyota has been a relative POS compared to Honda since the 90’s. (I will admit the Toyota drivetrains last a long time- its just the rest of the car falls apart…)

  • AND YOU ARE A BULLSHIT!

  • AND YOU ARE A BULLSHIT!!!!!

  • AND YOU ARE A BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!

  • AND YOU ARE A BULLSHIT!!!!!!!

  • AND YOU ARE A BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!