Is It Worth Upgrading From the Toyota C-HR to the Lexus UX?

You may gravitate toward the 2021 Toyota C-HR for its distinct style. And if you’re thinking about splurging, you may even want to consider the C-HR’s esteemed cousin, the 2021 Lexus UX. But is upgrading from the C-HR to the UX worth it?

Driving the 2021 Toyota C-HR vs. 2021 Lexus UX

A white 2021 Toyota C-HR parked on display next to a blue wall
The 2021 Toyota C-HR on display | Photo via Toyota

Both the C-HR and UX are subcompact SUVs. The C-HR’s primary rivals include the Mazda CX-30 and the Hyundai Kona. In the luxury realm, the UX’s main competition is the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3.

The C-HR has a single engine option, and that’s a 144-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder linked to a continuously variable automatic. This Toyota is standard with front-wheel drive; all-wheel-drive isn’t an option. The C-HR gets points for its liveliness, but its lack of power translates to slower acceleration. On the bright side, the C-HR is an excellent choice for fuel economy, with an EPA rating of 29 mpg overall. 

A green 2021 Lexus UX parked on the track.
2021 Lexus UX | Lexus

With the base UX 250h model, you get a 169-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder linked to a CVT. Since the UX offers a little more power, it provides a noticeably quicker experience than the C-HR. It’s more polished too.

The UX’s available F Sport trim has a more athletic feel thanks to its sports-tuned system. Like the C-HR, the UX is only available with FWD, and it’s also an outstanding choice for fuel economy. Additionally, the UX is available as a hybrid that can get up to a combined 42 mpg. 

Comparing car cabins 

A 2021 Toyota C-HR interior with leather.
2021 Toyota C-HR Limited Interior | Toyota

The C-HR has a good-looking cabin and generous space for five. It comes with cloth upholstery with leather trimmings available as options. But the downside to the C-HR’s slanted design is that its outward visibility is hampered, especially in the back. Fortunately, C-HR’s rearview camera makes reversing a little easier.

Other standard safety features for the 2021 C-HR include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane keep assist, as Car and Driver highlights. We don’t like that the C-HR doesn’t come with blind-spot monitoring, but it is available as an upgrade. We do appreciate that the C-HR comes with many connectivity features, including an 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a wifi hotspot. 

Front seats of the 2021 Lexus Hybrid interior.
2021 Lexus Hybrid interior | Lexus

Being a luxury model, the UX comes with fancier trimmings than the C-HR does. The UX is a five-seater that’s standard with synthetic leather; genuine leather is optional. Additionally, it comes with a longer list of safety equipment such as blind-spot monitoring and pedestrian and cyclist detection. The UX also has many of the same infotainment gadgets that the C-HR comes with, including smartphone connections apps and a wifi hotspot. However, the UX’s computer-based Remote Touch infotainment system isn’t as user-friendly as the C-HR’s touchscreen. 

So, should you opt for the UX instead of the C-HR?

front of a green 2021 Lexus UX
2021 Lexus UX | Lexus

The Best Small SUVs for Teenage Drivers You Can’t Ignore

The 2021 C-HR has an MSRP range of $21,445 to $26,500 while the 2021 UX ranges from $32,000 to $39,000. It makes sense to get the UX over the C-HR for a quicker experience or if you want a hybridized subcompact SUV. On the other hand, a fully-loaded C-HR is the savvy way to get many of the same amenities the UX offers.