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Paris show: Toyota outs radical C-HR crossover

Sharp light: Toyota is preparing to take on the likes of Nissan and its radical Juke by creating its own unique vision for the light-sized crossover segment with the C-HR concept.

Toyota’s bold Corolla-sized concept previews design rethink, sub-RAV model

Toyota logo22 Sep 2014

By TERRY MARTIN

TOYOTA has presented its C-HR crossover to the world ahead of its official debut at next week’s Paris motor show, revealing its intention to enter the burgeoning ultra-compact SUV segment with this boldly styled concept.

The radical coupe-like design represents a significant change in direction for the Japanese auto giant and a clear signal to competitors that it intends to take a love-it-or-hate-it approach to the light-sized segment and in luring typically younger buyers that are considered a key target audience.

The divisive looks are less mainstream than many cars in the segment, and more along the lines of Nissan’s aggressive Juke.

Toyota has provided few details of the C-HR ahead of the show, saying only that the sub-RAV4 concept has a hybrid powertrain and “provides the first hint of a type of vehicle the company would like to bring to the small SUV market”.

The company says the vehicle presents a “bold new dynamic design language” and introduces an “expressive new ‘diamond architecture’ styling theme to the segment”.

“Below its compact, sensual cabin profile, the lower bodywork has been sculpted to represent the faceted surfaces of a highly durable, precision-cut gemstone,” Toyota says.

“The front view debuts new styling themes that hint at a future design direction for Toyota vehicles – a further development of the company’s ‘under priority’ and ‘keen look’ design identity.

“From the side, the highly faceted lower body, aggressively angular rear shoulders and muscular wheelarches are contrasted with an exceptionally sleek cabin profile.

“Highly distinctive, aero-inspired, floating rear light clusters further enhance the broad shoulders of the concept car’s lower bodywork.”

There is no confirmation at this stage that the crossover shares vehicle architecture and running gear with the Corolla, although overseas reports have spotted Corolla development mules with jacked-up suspension that could be involved in the program.

As we reported when Toyota released a darkened teaser image of the concept earlier this month, the hybrid powertrain used in the C-HR is likely to be drawn from an existing model such as the Prius C, which combines a 54kW/110Nm 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine with a 45kW/169Nm AC synchronous electric motor and a 520-volt nickel-metal hydride battery.

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