Oftentimes, when people are shopping for a vehicle on a budget, they opt for a base model because they think it’s all they can afford. But that’s not always the case.
The truth is, if you’re smart about the way you build your vehicle of choice, you can actually get a lot more for your money.
To prove this, we used Toyota’s online configurator, set a budget of $27,500 and tried to find out how much bang for our buck we could get with the 2018 Toyota C-HR compact crossover.
2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium, 2.0L four-cylinder, (starting MSRP $24,350)
The C-HR XLE’s base and premium models are separated by $1,850. Both provide plenty of room, but upgrading is worth it. Unlike the base C-HR, the premium gets heated sport-trimmed bucket seats and an exterior hatchback door handle. Furthermore, while both trims get most of Toyota’s Safety Sense features, the premium comes with blind-spot detection.
As far as performance is concerned, it’s a wash. Both trims sport a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. We’re building this crossover to be the perfect weekend getaway vehicle for a small family, though, which is why adding accessories is so important.
Accessories: universal tablet holder ($99), door sill protectors ($199), removable cross bars ($299), cargo liner ($119), cargo tote ($48), mudguards ($129), all weather floor liners ($149), alloy wheel locks ($75)
We know, we bought a lot. But we think it’s justified. The door sill protectors, mudguards and cargo and floor liners will make sure our crossover can handle the rigors of a busy weekends, and the cross bars and cargo tote will help us bring everything we need to have a good time. Also, the alloy wheel locks will spiff our C-HR up a bit, and the tablet holders are a must because, you know, kids love their devices.
The total price — with $960 destination charge — of our 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium, 2.0L four-cylinder in Silver Knockout Metallic: $26,427 ($1,073 under budget).
All photos via Toyota