- The 2021 C-HR adds a black-out Nightshade trim package to its model range.
- A new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine option is added to the Subaru Crosstrek.
2021 Toyota C-HR
Base price: $22,620 / Read our 2021 Toyota C-HR Review
What we like: Sporty handling, standard safety features, reputation for reliability, and good resale values.
What we would change: Add option of all-wheel drive; offer a more powerful engine upgrade or a turbo; improve rear visibility.
Overview: While it’s considered a compact crossover, Toyota’s 2021 C-HR lacks the all-around usability of many of its competitors, as it doesn’t even offer the option of all-wheel drive. It’s more of a city dweller, with decent handling and futuristic styling, although it’s a bit underpowered for our tastes.
What’s new for 2021: Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 safety suite upgrade; new Nightshade Edition brings black accents; different paint choices.
Features and technology: There are three available trim levels, all of which come with a respectable amount of standard equipment, including Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite of driver aids, including forward collision mitigation, low-speed emergency braking with pedestrian/cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and lane departure alert. The base model, known as the LE, comes with LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
The next trim up is the XLE, which adds 18-inch allow wheels, power-folding mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. An optional add-on for 2021 is the Nightshade Edition, which adds black-finished wheels with black lug nuts, black cosmetic accents, and black fabric upholstery. An optional audio upgrade package adds Bluetooth audio streaming and HD/satellite radio.
At the top is the Limited trim level, which adds leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, adaptive headlights, LED foglights, and rain-sensing wipers.
What does the future hold: Considering our main gripe with the 2021 C-HR is its lack of power, we hope Toyota adds an upgraded engine or at least an optional turbocharger, although since the C-HR is a relatively new model, we expect only cosmetic changes. See the 2021 Toyota C-HR models for sale near you
2021 Subaru Crosstrek
Base price: $23,295 / Read Our 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Review
What we like: All-wheel drive comes standard; EyeSight safety suite in CVT-equipped models; decent off-road chops and 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
What we would change: Weak base engine; poor fuel economy with manual transmission.
Overview: In what has become a signature of the brand, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is neither a compact SUV nor a hatchback, but rather something in between, with a car-like ride but also some of the attributes of a crossover/SUV. With standard all-wheel drive and 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the Crosstrek is a solid camping vehicle, comfortable on anything from mud to dirt to snow, although it’s still not a great choice for true off-roading on rocky terrain. We find the standard 2.0-liter engine to be a bit underpowered, but are more than satisfied with the upgrade 2.5-liter engine. We also don’t much care for the manual transmission, since not only does the CVT deliver better gas mileage, but CVT-equipped models come with a more sophisticated AWD system, which offers Hill Descent Control. CVT models also come with SI-Drive, a driver-selectable powertrain management system that goes from more fuel-efficient to more sporty. The interior is comfortable and roomy, with a clear 360-degree view out front and 55.3 cubic feet of space with all seats folded.
What’s new for 2021: Style changes include a redesigned grille and front bumper, while inside, Sport and Limited models get a 182-hp 2.5-liter engine, and adaptive cruise control comes standard on all CVT-equipped models.
Features and technology: Trim levels for the Crosstrek range from the base model up to the Limited, with the two lower levels offering either a manual or CVT transmission and the upper two with CVT only. Prices range from nearly $24,000 for the base model up to $29,000 for the base Limited, which includes more standard equipment.
Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, and automatic climate control. As we have mentioned, such things as SI-Drive and EyeSight are offered only on CVT-equipped models. Upper trim levels include such things as paddle shifters and foglights on the Premium, and the X-Mode all-wheel-drive system and a water-repellent interior on the Sport Model. The upper-tier Limited comes with 18-inch wheels, push-button ignition, a leather interior, an 8-inch touchscreen, and LED headlights, among other things. Other options include a moonroof on the Premium and up and a Harman Kardon audio system on the Limited.
What does the future hold: Subaru says there is a hybrid variant of the Crosstrek coming in 2021, but details are vague. The 2020 Crosstrek plug-in hybrid had 17 miles of all-electric range. See the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek models for sale near you
C-HR vs. Crosstrek: Strengths comparison
C-HR Benefits: Fuel economy; sportier handling; standard safety features.
Crosstrek Benefits: Standard all-wheel drive on all trims; higher safety rating; excellent resale value.
C-HR vs. Crosstrek: Which is better?
If all you’re looking for is a little urban runabout with a lot of style, respectable fuel economy, and good reliability, then the 2021 Toyota C-HR is the choice here, but in terms of all-around crossover usability, from its significantly larger cargo space to the all-weather sure-footedness of its all-wheel drive, our choice here has to be the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek.
|2021 Toyota C-HR||2021 Subaru Crosstrek|
|Engine||2.0-liter I4||2.0-liter flat-4|
|Horsepower||144 hp @ 6100 rpm||152 hp @ 6000 rpm|
|Torque||139 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm||145 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||29 mpg (27 city/31 hwy)||30 mpg (28 city/33 hwy)|
|Also Available||n/a||2.5-liter flat-4; 6-spd manual|
|Warranty||3 years or 36,000 miles||3 years or 36,000 miles|
|Powertrain warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||5 Stars||5 Stars|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||103.9 inches||104.9 inches|
|Overall Length||172.6 inches||176.5 inches|
|Width||70.7 inches||79.0 inches|
|Height||61.6 inches||63.6 inches|
|Turning Diameter||n/a||35.4 feet|
|Headroom, Front||38.1 inches||39.8 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||38.3 inches||38.0 inches|
|Legroom, Front||43.5 inches||43.1 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||31.7 inches||36.5 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||49.0 inches||56.7 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||52.5 inches||55.6 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||86.0 cu. ft.||100.9 cu. ft.|
|EPA Cargo Volume||36.4 cu. ft.||55.3 cu. ft.|