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Future models - Toyota - C-HR

Frankfurt show: Toyota confirms all-new small SUV

Juke nuke: A production version of Toyota’s dramatically styled C-HR SUV concept promises to draw heavily on the Frankfurt show car and take direct aim at the similarly polarising Nissan Juke.

Radical Toyota C-HR SUV concept closer to reality as Geneva production debut nears

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Toyota logo16 Sep 2015

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

TOYOTA has confirmed it will plug the compact SUV-sized gap in its range with a model based on the C-HR concept first shown a year ago at the Paris motor show and reprised in updated form at Frankfurt this week.

A production version of the radical-looking, European-designed five-door high-rider is promised to debut at the Geneva show next March, which means it could slot in below the RAV4 in Australian Toyota showrooms by the end of next year.

Resembling the love-child of a Nissan Juke and a Hyundai Veloster, the latest C-HR concept makes concessions to production reality with the addition of larger exterior mirrors, Tesla-style flush doorhandles, a more down-to-earth wheel-and-tyre package, and conventional headlights, tail-lights and fog-lights.

The original C-HR’s dramatic angles, heavily sculpted flanks and floating boomerang-shaped tail-lights that protrude like the edges of a boot spoiler all remain, although the tapered glass roof linking the windscreen to the roof spoiler’s integrated brake light appears to have been ditched.

A press release accompanying the Frankfurt unveiling says this latest version “is more closely representative of the production car” and will be used to “gauge reactions from specific target customer groups so that their feedback can further inform the project designers and engineers”.

If Toyota is hoping to repeat the surprise success Nissan had with its concept-turned-reality Juke, which closely resembles the 2009 Qazana Geneva show-stopper, the CH-R could arrive at Geneva with few sheetmetal changes.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb confirmed the production version “is definitely on our wish-list for Australia”.

“Given the right specification, pricing and availability for our market, we would expect the C-HR production model to accelerate the already hot demand for vehicles in the small SUV segment,” he said.

In January this year Mr Cramb indicated his interest in the production vehicle presaged by the C-HR, describing it as “something that would work really well in Australia”, and that “Australian customers would love it”.

Like the Paris original, the C-HR wears hybrid badges on its flanks and shares Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TGNA) underpinnings with the all-new Prius that was also unveiled in Frankfurt.

However, to compete in Australia’s price-sensitive compact SUV segment, Toyota will probably have to offer a conventional petrol drivetrain option alongside any hybrids.

Toyota says TGNA provides the C-HR with a rigid body structure and low centre of gravity, helping body control under cornering while providing ride comfort “without detriment to driving dynamics”.

The new platform and the C-HR concept that rides on it are part of Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda’s plan to inject more fun into the brand.

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