Toyota C-HR 2016 preview
You can tell a lot about a brand new car by the concept versions that preceded it, and Toyota has been displaying the C-HR concept at various international motor shows for a couple of years now. That vehicle was a particularly sporty looking crossover coupe and while the production-ready version isn't quite as dramatic, it's still an attention-grabbing car. It will sit below the RAV4 in the Toyota line-up as the stylish crossover option.
What will its rivals be?
There are several stylised crossovers further up the automotive food chain, but few at this level that trade so heavily on their sporting looks. Nonetheless, if the C-HR is to be successful it has to stand up to comparison with the class-leaders, which, in sales terms, means the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Renault Kadjar and even the Skoda Yeti. It's clearly sportier looking than any of those.
Any tech info?
Though we don't yet know full Irish specifications, we believe that all C-HRs will come with Toyota Safety Sense, a package of active features that can alert the driver to collision risks and intervene if necessary to avoid an impact, or mitigate the consequences if an accident is unavoidable. This includes a Pre-Collision System with autonomous emergency braking, Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition and Automatic High Beam headlight operation.
Audiophiles will also have the option of a bespoke JBL sound system. It features nine speakers and 576-watt output from the high-quality components such as patented A-pillar mounted horn tweeters, wide-dispersion units and three subwoofers.
What will the range be like?
No word on Irish pricing at the time of writing, but we'd expect a starting price in the region of €24,000. The C-HR is a five-door hatchback and we believe there will be the option to upgrade from front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive. Under the bonnet will be a choice of either a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine (with manual or CVT automatic transmissions) or a 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. Trim levels have yet to be confirmed, though there will be a high-spec Launch Edition with a bi-tone paint finish, 18-inch black matte alloy wheels, LED headlamps and colour-coded side sills on the outside along with the JBL premium audio system, black leather seats, Smart Entry system and Blind Spot Monitoring technology.
The market is dominated by quite sensible crossovers, like the Tucson and Qashqai, so it'll be interesting to see if Toyota can break into it with something so distinctive looking. For the record, we approve of the daring looks. A tougher sell could be the engine choice, as Toyota has no diesel option planned and the vast majority of its rivals' sales are powered by diesel. Saying that, the C-HR will be the only hybrid option in the class for now so it could carve out its own niche.