Toyota's new crossover

Toyota's new crossover

Mar 2, 2016

Toyota's new crossover

This is Toyota's striking new C-HR crossover and it features hybrid power, as well as a chassis that has been honed by thousands of kilometres of European testing, apparently. It was revealed in full at the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) today.

Veering little from the concept car seen at the Paris Motor Show in 2014, the C-HR could almost be a mini-Lexus NX with its dramatic lines, although Toyota has done well to keep its own corporate identity intact with the styling. The wheel arches project from each corner of the vehicle and its coupé silhouette doesn't look too bad sat on a chassis with raised ground clearance. The front lights include LED headlamps and 'sequential' indicators that give the car its own signature illumination, while at the rear the passenger cabin tapers quite noticeably, while the boomerang tail lights are worth a special mention.

The C-HR will be equipped with a wealth of technology, in keeping with the Japanese principle of 'overwhelm customers with toys'. Although Irish specifications have yet to be confirmed, it's expected that Toyota Safety Sense will be offered as standard and includes Pre-Collision system, Lane Departure Alert, Road Sign Assist and Automatic High-beam, as well as Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control.

Three engines will be offered and two transmissions, with front- and four-wheel drive available. The one Toyota is focusing on is the 1.8-litre petrol-electric mild hybrid, which gives the C-HR CO2 emissions of less than 90g/km. It possesses just 122hp, which isn't a huge amount, but as the C-HR is designed to take on small crossovers like the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, that's a figure that's about class standards.

That will mean a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), which is not one of our favourite things, although a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol model will join the hybrid in the line-up. This engine has 115hp and has been seen in the Auris already, and while it too can be had with CVT, there's also a six-speed manual gearbox to choose from. Four-wheel drive, by the way, will only be available on CVT-equipped models. A 2.0-litre CVT-only drivetrain will be sold, says Toyota, 'only in certain markets' and we don't think Ireland is one.

What Toyota has tried to do is make the C-HR handle like a decent C-segment hatchback. Multilink rear suspension is a big part of that and it sits on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) chassis, while the chief engineer behind it spent a long time driving it on European roads so it would feel at home here. We like the sound of this bit of the C-HR's development a lot.

Toyota targeted a 'customer image' for the C-HR. Want to know what it is? It's a driver who is 'predominantly driven by emotional considerations'. This person wants to stand out, and they choose style over outright practicality (for that, please read: the C-HR might have a tight cabin and relatively small boot), seeing the car as an extension of personality. This driver enjoys a spirited drive and their car needs to 'keep up with them as they weave in and out of rush-hour traffic'.

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