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Toyota C-HR In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

The Toyota C-HR is a funky subcompact crossover that frequently turns heads with a bold and stylish design.

But it takes more than good looks for a car to handle driving in harsh winter conditions.

Let’s find out if the Toyota C-HR is the model to get through winter or not.

Here is the short answer to whether the Toyota C-HR is good for snow and winter driving:

While it lacks All-Wheel-Drive capability, the Toyota C-HR has several features, including traction control, ABS, and stability control that aid winter driving. The vehicle also has Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist and automatic high beam headlights. 

Is a Toyota C-HR Good in the Snow?

The Toyota C-HR is a suitable model to drive in snow. Some say the absence of AWD, present on rivals such as the Hyundai Kona, makes it unsuitable for snowy roads. Not that they’re wrong–AWD improves snow driving capabilities–but they aren’t entirely right, either.

Yes, the C-HR lacks AWD; but it has so many other qualities that allow it handle to drive safely in snow.

For example, its small size and low mass means the vehicle is easier to control on slippery roads. Thus, it has lower chances of going out of control on a snowed-out road and crashing.

However, those aforementioned qualities also affect the C-HR’s performance in snow negatively.

Because it’s small and light, the C-HR cannot drive in deep snow–the type that measures seven to eight inches.

The low ground clearance means you are more likely to get stuck in snow than, say, a Tacoma truck, for example.

Going by this, consider buying the C-HR only if your area gets light to medium snowfall. In areas where heavy snowfall is prevalent, a bigger SUV like the Highlander or RAV4 may be better.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

While you cannot compare it to a big SUV or truck, the Toyota C-HR can certainly hold its own in winter driving conditions. At the very least, you can safely drive in snow with this model.

Here are features on the model that work to improve winter driving ability:

1. Stability Control

If there’s anything anyone who’s driven in winter will tell you, it’s how hard maintaining vehicle stability can be in those treacherous road conditions. In fact, this is partly why winter driving is a risky activity.

The Stability Control feature on Toyota C-HR models keep the vehicle stable even on slippery roads. It will also prevent your vehicle from going out of control or losing traction, situations that can cause a crash.

It does this by analyzing data from the ABS wheel speed sensors and the steering wheel to detect steering loss or loss of traction.

If the ABS detects either, it will reduce the engine’s power output or kill it to prevent the car from crashing.

2. Traction Control

Both ice and snow are slick road conditions where traction is notoriously low. If you’re not careful, your car may lose its grip and careen off the road.

With the Traction Control on the Toyota C-HR, you need not be scared that your wheels will lose traction.

The TRAC feature can detect when a wheel(s) is spinning without contacting the road. Thereafter, it will reduce the speed of the wheel so it can touch the road properly and regain its grip.

3. Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)

This feature will ensure your wheels don’t lock up when you brake forcefully on wet roads. Wheel lockup can lead to nasty crashes or collisions, so the ABS on Toyota C-HR models comes in handy when driving in winter.

4. Electronic Brake-Force Distribution

The EBD feature is similar to the ABS. Both forestall wheel lockup while braking on a slippery road.

While ABS changes brake pressure to prevent wheels from locking, EBD redistributes brake pressure to stop wheel lock.

5. Brake Assist

Brake Assist is another brake technology that makes it safer to drive on ice and snow. With Brake Assist, stopping distances on the C-HR will decrease up to 30 percent. This means faster stops and forestalled crashes or collisions.

6. Automatic High Beam Headlights

The headlights on the Toyota C-HR are well-designed to provide excellent lighting in winter where visibility is often poor, especially at night.

Bright headlights allow you to see what’s ahead of you when driving in the dark, frosty nights that come with winter. It will also allow other drivers to see you better.

This way, you can prevent crashes and collisions resulting from lack of visibility.

Please also read our article about where Toyota C-HRs are made.

Does a C-HR Have Snow Mode?

Many recent vehicles come with a Snow Mode feature that improve driving in snow. The Snow Mode prevents excessive wheel spin that can force the car out of control.

However, Snow Mode is absent on C-HR, although you’ll get it on bigger Toyota SUVs, e.g., the Highlander or the RAV4.

That the C-HR lacks a Snow Mode takes nothing away from its decent snow driving capabilities. At the very least, you still have Traction Control and Stability Control to help you navigate snowy terrain.

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on C-HR?

While modern vehicles are much better in snow, aftermarket snow gear can significantly improve their snow driving ability. You can fit your Toyota C-HR with aftermarket snow gear if you feel they’ll improve handling in snow.

Some aftermarket snow gear you can install on your C-HR include:

  • Snow tires
  • Snow socks
  • Snow chains

A caveat does come with installing snow gear on your C-HR: ensure the gear matches your vehicle’s size. Before you buy snow tires, check the size of your wheels to determine the correct size for the tires.

Do the same for all other snow driving accessories such as snow chains and snow socks. If you fail to do this, the equipment may affect your vehicle negatively–especially in handling and ride quality.

How Much Snow Can a C-HR Handle?

Judging by its lack of AWD and low ground clearance, the Toyota C-HR doesn’t seem able to handle deep snow.

We’d advise driving the C-HR in light snow that’s about an inch or two thick. Anything higher than this and you’d better be prepared to get stuck in snow and have your vehicle towed home.

If you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, a bigger-sized truck or SUV will be better for you.

How Do Toyota C-HR Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

Owners of the Toyota C-HR have indicated the vehicle warms up quickly even on extremely cold winter mornings.

Thus, except it has problems, a C-HR should have no trouble handing low winter temperatures.

Below are some problems that can prevent your vehicle from starting on cold winter mornings:

  1. Degraded battery
  2. Inadequate battery power
  3. Using the wrong oil
  4. Fuel lines contaminated with water

Can a Toyota C-HR Drive on Ice?

The Toyota C-HR can drive on ice with no problems. Yes, it may not be able to plow through deep snow; but it delivers on ice.

First, the low center of gravity makes it easier to maneuver on slick, ice-covered surfaces. This decreases its chances of skidding off the road as we often see bigger cars do.

Second, the combination of Traction Control and Stability Control provide the C-HR with excellent traction on icy roads. Thus, you can drive with confidence and without fear of losing control.

Make sure to also check out our article about how long Toyota Supras last.

Does the C-HR Have 4WD?

The C-HR doesn’t have four-wheel-drive (4WD) nor does it come equipped with all-wheel-drive like some of its rivals such as the Hyundai Kona.

However, this doesn’t make the C-HR undrivable in winter weather. After all, it has a pot-pourri of features, which we discussed earlier, that improve its winter performance greatly.

Besides, the front-wheel-drive (FWD) that you get on the C-HR is useful (in its own way) for winter driving.

FWD bolsters stability in low-traction conditions (ice, snow), as the engine sits on the front wheels and propels the car forward.

What About Older C-HR Models and Winter Driving?

The Toyota C-HR is a relatively new model, having got its release in 2018. This means even the “old” models have modern-day features like Stability Control, Traction Control, ABS, EBD, etc., that improve winter driving.

So, it’s safe to say the older Toyota C-HR models can handle winter driving much like their newer counterparts.

Do C-HRs Need Snow Tires?

Yes, the C-HR needs dedicated snow tires if you want it to have stability, traction and control in winter terrain. While tire manufacturers often market all-season tires as being for all seasons, it is not true.

At best, you will get mostly average performance (traction, stability, control) from whatever all-season tires you buy. Rather, invest in snow tires as they are better for winter driving.

Please also read our article about BfGoodrich Tires.

Can You Mount A Snow Plow On A C-HR?

We will advise against fitting a snowplow on the Toyota C-HR for the following reasons:

  1. It lacks power: Much has been made of the C-HR’s lack of power, both on online forums and automotive publications. For all its good looks, the C-HR is surprisingly lethargic and won’t give you enough power for plowing snow.
  2. Absence of 4WD/AWD: The Toyota C-HR has neither 4WD nor AWD–necessities for any snow plowing vehicle.
  3. It is small: Snow plows are made for big SUVs and trucks. With its lightweight design, the Toyota C-HR is unsuitable for plowing snow.
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