Toyota C-HR stays sharp from prototype to production
The new small CUV made its debut after literally years of teasing concepts, the most recent of which was shown late last year in Los Angeles, where it was badged as a Scion. After seeing that car, it's quite clear that Toyota has strained itself to translate its style to the real world. Up front, there's clear inspiration from the Toyota Auris/Scion iM. But aside from the front, the C-HR's biggest inspiration appears to be the Nissan Juke.
It's like Toyota has tried to go even further, though. Its wheel arches are flared even more aggressively and they feed into a strong character line on the lower portion of the doors. In back, Toyota's designers seem to have just rotated the Juke's taillights 180 degrees while they sit below an extremely fast rear window. Said window is integrated into today's latest design trend, a floating roof.
Mechanically, the C-HR rides atop Toyota's New Global Architecture, which is Japan's answer to Volkswagen's MQB architecture. Power comes from a hybrid drivetrain, good for a relaxed 120 horsepower. If you don't want hybrid power, Toyota will sell the C-HR with the Euro-market Auris' turbo 1.2-liter engine, but we almost certainly won't see that here in the US. Instead, American drivers will probably be left with nothing but a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder. That engine will be exclusively paired with a continuously variable transmission that sends power to either the front- or to all four wheels. So there's Juke inspiration, but not in the driving character.
Toyota says it will build the C-HR Hybrid in Turkey. We don't know if that facility will handle US-market vehicles or just Europe, but we wouldn't be surprised to see additional facilities come online to produce this stylish little bugger.
Toyota's Fresh New Take on the Crossover
2016 Toyota Motorshow Geneva
Making its world debut at the 2016 Geneva motor show, the C-HR gives Toyota a powerful new presence in the crossover market. Designed to stand out both within the Toyota line-up and in its segment, it represents Akio Toyoda's determination to allow greater stylistic freedom and promote engineering creativity in order to achieve eye-catching designs and enhanced driving pleasure.
- The Toyota C-HR's unique character demonstrates the flexibility that the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) gives to vehicle developers in the three key areas of design, powertrain and dynamics, enabling them to deliver a new and fresh take on the increasingly commoditized crossover segment.
As a result, the Toyota C-HR remains remarkably true to the general features of the concept-cars that attracted so much public attention in Paris in 2014 and in Frankfurt in 2015. Its coupe-like lines are a testimony to the resolve of its designers to create a style that stands out in the Toyota range, and to establish a new direction amongst mid-sized crossovers.
The Toyota C-HR also brings innovation to its segment through the introduction of a hybrid powertrain. Using Toyota's very latest 1.8 hybrid system, the C-HR's driving experience is perfectly aligned with modern urban life, and matched to a level of efficiency previously unseen in the crossover segment.
Finally, guided by Chief Engineer Hiroyuki Koba's vision "Response, Linearity and Consistency" the C-HR's driving dynamics have been deliberately benchmarked on the precision and control experienced at the wheel of a modern C-segment hatchback, thanks to the meticulous refinement of Toyota's most recent platform and its low centre of gravity. The aim was to allow the C-HR to carry its speed through corners, with excellent body control and steering fluidity, making it enjoyable not only when flowing through busy city traffic but also on the open road independent of the surface condition, in a way that exceeds the current standards for a crossover.
Stand Out With Passion
Aware of the already crowded crossover market, the development team decided from the start on a very targeted approach, centred on a clear and singular customer image.
He is a driver who is predominantly driven by emotional considerations. He wants to stand out, and wants to be the first to try new experiences and products. He chooses style over outright practicality, and he sees his car as an extension of his personality. He looks for quality in anything that he buys, and he enjoys a spirited drive. And, since he lives in the city, his car needs to be able to keep up with him as he weaves in and out of rush hour traffic.
A Coupe-like Design
In response to the tastes and requirements of this target customer, the Toyota C-HR introduces a distinctive styling that brings newfound dynamism and sensuality to the crossover market. The production car remains remarkably true to the concept car which was first shown at the Paris Motorshow in 2014, and which registered extremely well with the target customer.
Featuring a body with a diamond architectural theme with wheel arches projecting prominently at all four corners to emphasise the new crossover's strength and rigidity, the C-HR's modulated structure combines the powerful lower body and raised ground clearance with the slim and sleek cabin profile of a coupe.
Viewed from any angle, the C-HR's combination of facetted gemstone-like shapes with fluid surfaces and elegantly integrated detailing create a delicate balance of precision and sensuality.
The front represents a further development of Toyota's Under Priority and Keen Look design identity. The slender upper grille flows from Toyota mark into the sleek, aggressive wing extremities of the headlamp clusters and wraps fully around the front corners of the vehicle.
The lamp clusters incorporate full LED lighting with light guides and sequential turn signals, giving the C-HR its own unique visual signature.
Below, the enhanced three-dimensionality of the bumper that's integrated with the wheel flairs and the trapezoidal lower grille architecture reinforce the C-HR's wide, firmly planted stance.
The movement of the blacked out rocker panel towards the front and rear wheel, along with the shoulder axis that runs through to the front and rear emphasize the fast-looking, "lift-up" feel of the thin body. The C-HR's coupe-like styling is further enhanced by disguised rear door handles integrated within the C pillar, and the powerful projection of the sweeping roofline into a large, skeletal frame rear spoiler.
To the rear, the strongly tapered cabin integrates the back door while securing luggage space. This contrasts with the pronounced flaring of the wheel arches to give the new crossover a wide and extremely powerful stance. Standing proud of the tapering body work, prominent rear light clusters may also be equipped with LED lamp technology to give the rear view of the C-HR an equally expressive visual signature.
This car is the result of a global cooperation between our design centers on 3 continents and was managed by PCD (Project Chief Designer) Kazuhiko Isawa at headquarters. The original exterior design was created by Calty, our design studio in California.
Responsive and Frugal Powertrains
The Toyota C-HR will be equipped with an engine-range that is designed to deliver exactly the fluent driving behaviour that its customers are looking for. This finds its full expression at the wheel of the hybrid version, the intrinsic characteristics of which guarantee a smooth, jolt-free ride. Fitted with the latest-generation hybrid power plant, the C-HR has CO2 emissions of less than 90 g/km, unrivalled within its segment.
Delivering 122 DIN hp, this new hybrid powertrain is more efficient and lighter, and offers sharper performance than the previous system. Detailed design changes to the engine have resulted in a thermal efficiency of 40% – a world-beating performance for a petrol unit. Other hybrid system components have been made lighter and smaller, and have been repositioned for optimum packaging, further contributing to the car's lower centre of gravity.
Alternatively, the Toyota C-HR is available with the new 115 DIN hp/85 kW 1.2 litre turbo engine, which debuted in the Auris. It comes with the choice of a 6-speed manual gearbox or a Continuously Variable automatic Transmission system, which is developed to meet expectations in response & direct feel for European people familiar with manual and automatic gearboxes. The CVT is available in front-wheel or 4-wheel drive versions.
And finally, a 2-litre CVT-only model will be available for certain markets.
Dynamics that Belie a Crossover
The design and development of the Toyota C-HR chassis has received the full attention of the Chief Engineer Hiroyuki Koba, himself a keen driver. From the very outset of the project, he travelled thousands of kilometres along European roads in order to understand not only the requirements of the road network, but also the way that Europeans drive.
"I have noticed, for example, that Europeans have a much more fluid driving style, based on a more acute observation of traffic" observes Hiroyuki Koba. "They avoid obstacles simply by adapting their trajectory and speed and will focus to carry on speed aiming for efficient progress, while elsewhere in the world the preferred approach is very often to stop. This has prompted us to work with our European team on driving precision in all aspects of the vehicle. We wanted to achieve performance on a par with a good C-segment hatchback."
With its low centre of gravity and multi-link rear suspension, the new TNGA-based platform has formed an ideal starting point from which to ensure that all of the features of the chassis could be designed to obtain an immediate and natural response to the driver's actions. Chief Engineer Hiroyuki Koba has been engaged in each key dynamic assessment and decision, assuring that his vision "Response, Linearity and Consistency" fully came to life.
In particular, steering has been designed to be perfectly linear which, together with the optimum limitation of rolling motion, gives the Toyota C-HR remarkable driving precision for a crossover. Limiting body movement, which generally affects tall cars in particular, also has a direct influence on comfort. Even on European often battered roads, the car remains remarkably composed and accurate, adding to the confidence and joy of driving.
Advanced Safety Equipment as Standard
In line with Toyota's strategy to democratise advanced safety equipment, the C-HR will be equipped with technology usually reserved for higher segments. The Toyota Safety Sense system that will be offered as standard on C-HR includes a Pre-Collision system, Lane Departure Alert, Road Sign Assist and Automatic Highbeam, as well as Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control.
The Toyota C-HR will be built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey (TMMT) in Sakarya, Turkey. This marks the first time a hybrid-powered vehicle has been produced in the country, and falls within the scope of Toyota Motor Europe's Greater Europe manufacturing and sales operations.
This will be TME's third hybrid vehicle production plant in Europe, together with Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (Yaris Hybrid) and Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK in Burnaston, Derbyshire (Auris Hybrid and Auris Hybrid Touring Sport). The hybrid engine is to be produced at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK's engine plant in Deeside, Wales.
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