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Paris show: Toyota C-HR previews Juke rival

Juke hazard: The Nissan Juke will cease to have the radically styled small SUV market all to itself once Toyota starts building the C-HR.

Toyota Oz keen to sell production C-HR crossover when it arrives in 2016-17


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3 Oct 2014

TOYOTA looks set to take a leaf out of rival Nissan’s book by putting the distinctive C-HR crossover concept, revealed at the Paris motor show overnight, into production with only mildly toned-down looks.

It is a formula that turned the Juke into a runaway success for Nissan when it launched the distinctive SUV in 2010 with styling closely resembling the polarising Qazana concept unveiled at the 2009 Geneva show.

Unlike the Juke that took three years to reach Australia, the production C-HR will no doubt be high on the priority list for Toyota to sell Down Under as a sub-RAV4 offering in the booming small SUV segment.

Toyota Australia product public relations manager Stephen Coughlan told GoAuto the company “would certainly raise our hand as a market to commence selling it”.

Reports from the Paris show floor suggest the production C-HR will hit showrooms in 2016 or 2017, by which time it will have grown an extra pair of doors and lost some of its radical rear-end styling.

Meanwhile, the concept’s new-generation hybrid drivetrain will reportedly be shared with the next Prius and the platform architecture lurking beneath those tautly surfaced panels is also new and not shared with the Corolla as previously speculated.

At 4350mm long, 1850mm wide and 1500mm high, the C-HR is about 100mm longer and wider than Juke but 65mm lower.

Toyota claims the concept’s low centre of gravity and structural rigidity will help deliver the driving dynamics promised by its looks while hybrid power will provide both performance and efficiency.

“It has been conceived around a new vehicle platform design to satisfy customer demand for excellent handling and control,” says the media release.

“A new, advanced full hybrid powertrain delivers an engaging driving experience that can deal with 21st century traffic conditions and deliver outstanding efficiency.”

The C-HR is a clear statement of intent from Toyota, forming a key part of its wider strategy to boost youth and enthusiast appeal for its brand that began with the rear-drive 86 sportscar co-developed with and built by Subaru.

Toyota describes the C-HR as “a stylish, lightweight C-segment crossover that will stand out in an increasingly homogenous market … (and) has the essential combination of compact packaging and agility required by customers with active, urban lifestyles”.

The C-HR was developed with Europe in mind as Toyota considers the region as a global benchmark for perceived quality and vehicle dynamics in smaller vehicles.

The concept was a close collaboration between Toyota’s European and Japanese design studios, as well as product planning centres in Japan, helping the company “gain a good understanding of the latest European customer demands and vehicle trends”.

“Toyota Europe will continue to work hand-in-hand with Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan to enter the C-crossover segment,” reads the media release.

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