Latest boom among babies
Concept sets the scene for a production mini SUV to slot in below the RAV4 — just wait about three years
TOYOTA is preparing a full-on attack on the newest small-car boom class, for mini SUVs.
Its C-HR concept at the Paris motor show sets the scene for a production car to slot in below the RAV4.
Toyota is arriving relatively late in the action, trailing a range of small SUVs including the Subaru XV, Nissan Qashqai, Suzuki S-Cross and Renault Captur.
The C-HR is officially only a dream machine but it clearly points to a showroom arrival within three years.
“We don’t have a model that competes in that segment. We’re always looking to compete in all segments,” says Toyota Australia spokesman Mike Breen. “It would be below RAV. It’s heading in the right direction.”
Toyota has dominated the SUV sector in Australia since the arrival of the original LandCruiser. It opens with RAV and runs through to the heavyweight LandCruiser 200 Series that’s the default choice for the Outback.
“I don’t think you can have too many SUVs. But, for the moment, (C-HR) is only a concept,” says Breen.
The name comes from the C segment for compact cars, H for hybrid and R for crossover.
The C-HR is built on a new Toyota platform and uses, not surprisingly, a powertrain similar to the petrol-electric pack in the Prius C in Australia.
The styling of the C-HR takes cues from the 86 sports car and Dakar racers, so is unlikely to survive untouched for production. But, typically for Toyota, it will tour the global motor show circuit to get input from potential buyers.
Toyota used a similar approach in developing the 86 sports car, which took more than three years to enter production. A droptop 86 has also been teased but so far has not got the go-ahead for showrooms.
Breen confirms that the C- HR is another project with the personal support of Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda.
“It would take us in a new direction. And it’s another example of Akio’s idea to add performance and excitement to the Toyota brand,” Breen says.
“This is the new gem for Toyota. Its development was driven by customers in Europe and it was shaped by the Toyota design studio ED2, in France.”