The Nissan Juke created the mold for funky SUV/crossover design and now Toyota enters the segment in New Zealand early next year with its own ‘out-there’ creation, the C-HR.
The moniker stands for ‘Coupe-High Rider’, despite its five doors. It is smaller than its stablemate the RAV4 but bigger inside and out than the Juke. Toyota says it’s a bit longer, wider and higher-riding than the Corolla hatchback.
Two C-HR models will be available, either with front- or all-wheel drive and both running a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The 1.2-litre unit was first used in the European Auris (Corolla). The C-HR in Europe also gets a 1.8-litre petrol-electric option, but it won’t be available in New Zealand, not at first anyway.
“We are launching with the turbo petrol version only,” said Toyota NZ product chief Spencer Morris. “There is a hybrid but it’s not available to us at launch. However, that would be a logical next step if we were to enhance our line-up later on”.
The C-HR is based on the new TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform, which underpins the new Prius. Its exterior design remains largely loyal to the concepts that preceded it, the first as a three-door at Paris in 2014 and the second with five doors and a more production-focused look at Frankfurt last year.
There are the same curving LED headlights and high grille design, the same high belt line, tall door panels and big wheel arches. The rear door handles are hidden in the C-pillars, which flow into the rear spoiler on top of the tailgate.
Morris said the C-HR heralds an exciting addition to the company’s SUV line-up.“It combines impressive handling with an exceptional drive and compact packaging for our first player in the highly competitive compact SUV category,” he said.
No details of C-HR specification and pricing yet – that will time closer to the launch.