The visual drudgery of the Auris and others must have left a mark upon most buyers’ perception of the Toyota brand and an attempt to create a standout example of crossover style is welcome.
Whether or not the stylists have succeeded in their aim is open to interpretation, but there’s no question that the Coupé High-Rider 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 1.8-litre 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 (at 121bhp) and more efficient than before, with a CO2 output as low as 86g/km.
But the hybrid’s familiar calling cards are smoothness and economy, rather than the mid-range punchiness that is so often the hallmark of the diesel-powered compact crossover.
The 114bhp 1.2-litre turbo four-pot alternative to the hybrid option promises little excitement, either, although at least that engine comes with the option of an adaptive all-wheel drive system capable of shuffling 50 percent of available torque rearward via an electromagnetic coupling.
The C-HR shares the GA-C variant of Toyota’s new TNGA modular architecture with the Prius, along with its front MacPherson struts and rear double wishbone suspension, although it gets a slightly shorter wheelbase and wider tracks. Toyota also says the underpinnings enable the car to have a lower centre of gravity than any direct rival.