More style, less utility: Toyota C-HR small SUV coming

C-HR CROSSOVER: Ready for Toyota to get even stronger in Australia's SUV market? Japanese giant prepares to finally launch a small SUV on our shores
C-HR CROSSOVER: Ready for Toyota to get even stronger in Australia's SUV market? Japanese giant prepares to finally launch a small SUV on our shores

HAVE you ever spotted the glaring omission in Toyota's Australian line-up?  

Yep, the small SUV. This segment has been the golden child of our market in the past couple of years thanks to unrelenting sales growth.   

The small SUV segment was up 27% last year and so far in 2016 is up a further 3%. We've bought a staggering 75,000 of them in the year to date; the Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi ASX and Honda HR-V leading the sales race.

Toyota CH-R small SUV.Photo: Contributed.
Toyota CH-R small SUV.Photo: Contributed.

The C-HR (meaning Coupe High Rider) - positioned between Corolla hatch and RAV4 size-wise - will hit our showrooms early next year and will be offered in two grades.   

Toyota says it will be the first of its cars to exhibit a "diamond architectural theme with faceted gemstone-like shapes and fluid surfaces" for the exterior.  

Toyota Australia's executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the C-HR represented the next step in the evolution of "SUV" because it did not fit neatly into a category of vehicles that originally focused on the 'U' for off-road utility.   

Toyota CH-R small SUV.Photo: Contributed.
Toyota CH-R small SUV.Photo: Contributed.

In other words, don't expect this small SUV urbanite to tackle the same stuff your LandCruiser will.  

"It has four doors and a hatch but it's not a hatchback. It's compact while having a large interior and room for five. It has a high driving position yet it's not a boxy off-roader," said Mr Cramb.   

"C-HR advances the very definition of SUV by emphasising the 'S' that stands for 'sport' and 'style'," he said.   We know it will be available in front- or all-wheel drive variants and features a new 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with 85kW/185Nm mated to a six-speed manual or CVT auto.   

Toyota CH-R small SUV.Photo: Contributed.
Toyota CH-R small SUV.Photo: Contributed.

We have also been told the top-grade Koba model will feature 18-inch alloys, heated seats, smart entry and start, plus active safety gear including a pre-collision system with autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering control and a reversing camera.  

And targeting the young or young at heart, Toyota is introducing funky exterior colours, including a new radiant green (pictured at top).  

Pricing is unconfirmed but reckon on Toyota's newbie costing from the low $20,000s to tackle its rivals and extend the brand's SUV dominance nationally.  

Toyota C-HR small SUV. Photo: Contributed
Toyota C-HR small SUV. Photo: Contributed

Topics:  cars news, corolla, editors picks, future models, small suv, suvs, toyota c-hr

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