A performance version of the recently revealed Toyota C-HR crossover is under consideration.
The new model, which has been mooted by C-HR lead engineer Hiro Koba, would act as a rival to the likes of the Nissan Juke Nismo and allow Toyota to compete in the emerging and profitable market for hot crossovers.
Speaking to Autocar, Koba said a performance C-HR wasn’t “concretely” in Toyota’s plans but “I am pushing to make such a car. I need to get approval”.
Toyota senior manager Rembert Serrus added: “The car lends itself to it. It would be possible, but it depends on how much we have to change. A sports version could be a minor change or it could be a new project. A sports version would make a lot of sense.”
Koba has already piloted a racing version of the C-HR and it’s known that the car will compete at the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance event next month. Autocar understands that public reaction to that car will heavily inform the business case for producing a performance version of the road-going C-HR.
The racing C-HR is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine with around 178bhp. A similar engine could well be used in the road car, and Koba has hinted he’d like to see more powerful variants of the C-HR launched. Some of the racing car’s less obtrusive aerodynamic bodywork could also be carried over.
It’s highly likely any performance version of the C-HR would also include uprated brakes and suspension, as well as heavier steering and a modified interior.
Toyota’s new crossover, which sits below the Toyota RAV4 in the Japanese car maker’s line-up, will be launched in the UK this December. It will be offered with a choice of two powertrains: a 1.2-litre petrol engine and a hybrid linking a 1.8-litre petrol engine with an electric motor.
Although the hybrid version of the C-HR is expected to take the majority of sales in the UK, there is an obvious gap at the top of the range where a performance-biased C-HR could sit. Given the development time needed to produce that model, though, it would be unlikely to appear in showrooms until at least 2018.