The apparent determination of Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda to take the shackles off the designers for the C-HR is to be applauded.
With the smart C-HR, Toyota banished the visual drudgery of the old Auris, while at the same time setting the tone for the curvaceous Corolla, among others. The distinctive crossover has been key in changing buyers’ perception of the Toyota brand, which for too long majored on the stolid and sensible.
Whether or not the stylists succeeded in their aim is open to interpretation, but there’s no question that the Coupé High-Rider, to give the Toyota its full name, represents a proper swing for the fences.
The indulgence of the coupé part of the equation – that swooping roofline and rear three-quarter – is enough to ensure that the model gives up some practicality to a raft of crossover-shaped opposition, a fact that Toyota acknowledges with the assertion that it is targeting a customer chiefly driven by “emotional considerations” with this car.
But are we to expect this mash-up of a crossover to be as exciting to drive as it is to look at? It isn’t clear.
The C-HR’s powertrain – a familiar tie-up of Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and electric motor assistance – is the very latest iteration of the Toyota hybrid, meaning that it is lighter, sharper, more powerful and more efficient than before, with a CO2 output as low as 110g/km.