Toyota, a company known for building rock-solid cars and for developing innovative technologies, is getting ready to enter a new era. Already famous for its hybrid drivetrains, the Japanese manufacturer is working on its first production fuel-cell sedan and a handful of technologies set to reduce fuel consumption. Additionally, Toyota is also looking to change its current design language by adopting more youthful styling cues. It seems the reform is only a few years away, as Toyota has just introduced the C-HR Concept at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

The C-HR is more than just a preview car. Although it hints at Toyota’s next compact crossover for the European market, the concept also showcases a new design language and a brand-new platform. The company also brags about a significantly improved drivetrain, but it doesn’t provide us with actual details. Be that as it may, the C-HR Concept is definitely a vehicle you should pay attention to, and our detailed review is a great start.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota C-HR Concept

  • 2014 Toyota C-HR Concept
  • Year:
    2014
  • Make:
  • 0-60 time:
    7.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    17500 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

First official images

2014 Toyota C-HR Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2014 Toyota C-HR Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Exterior

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2014 Toyota C-HR Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The most important thing about the C-HR Concept is that it introduces a new design language

The most important thing about the C-HR Concept is that it introduces a new design language. Although it won’t make it to the assembly line in this form, the C-HR previews the next generation of Toyota crossovers. In the company’s words, the concept "recaptures the design and packaging ingenuity that produced the original RAV4". In other words, Toyota is aiming to develop a brand-new vehicle that’s stylish, compact and dynamic, yet agile enough for the current urban lifestyle.

Styling-wise, the C-HR comes in a compact package, but boasts a design that makes it seem rather massive. The large wheels are mainly responsible for its beefy looks, but the muscular arches and the massive bumpers contribute as well. Overall, the design of the C-HR seems brand-new. However, once you start taking the details apart, some familiar cues become visible. For instance, the front fascia still carries Toyota’s current grille, while the headlamps, although a bit futuristic by design, appear to be based on units seen on the new Corolla. Same goes for the muscular front bumper, also present on the sedan, albeit in a milder form.

The sleek, coupe roof extends toward a rear end that’s sportier than anything we’ve seen from Toyota, save for the FT-1 Concept. The landscape is dominated by deeply sculpted air intakes, boomerang-shaped taillights, and a large lower apron. All told, the C-HR is a high-riding, muscular hatch that’s highly spectacular for a Toyota badge, but too extreme to become a production car. At least not in this form.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,350 MM (171.25 Inches)
Width 1,850 MM (72.83 Inches)
Height 1,500 MM (59.05 Inches)

Interior

2014 Toyota C-HR Concept High Resolution Interior
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Nothing extreme to see in this department, with a dashboard that's cleaner than what you get in current Toyota vehicles

Toyota didn’t have much to say about the C-HR’s interior, but the only photo that came with the announcement reveals a more down-to-earth cabin. Nothing extreme to see in this department, with a dashboard that’s cleaner than what you get in current Toyota vehicles. The center console is rather clean to look at, while the instrument cluster is dominated by a large clock.

The cabin is a mix of matte and glossy surfaces, with red door-panel inserts contrasting the otherwise black interior. The floor mats come with red edges, while the leather seats benefit from white stitching. Needless to say, unlike the exterior, the interior seems production-ready.

Drivetrain

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Although most concept cars are equipped with an engine — be it an experimental unit or a drivetrain that’s already in dealerships — the C-HR isn’t ready to hit the road. In fact, it’s powertrain is a well-guarded secret, although Toyota claims it introduces "the next generation of the sophisticated full-hybrid technology" that was first released in the Prius.

"It uses a new full hybrid powertrain that will deliver significantly improved fuel efficiency," that all we get from the Japanese automaker, who has yet to release any actual specifics.

Prices

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Needless to say, you can’t buy or drive the C-HR Concept. The production vehicle based on this study is at least a couple of years away and it’s way too early talk about a price tag.

Competitors

Honda CR-V

2015 - 2016 Honda CR-V High Resolution Exterior
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The CR-V just received a nice refresh, and it offers good competition to a would-be NX-sized Toyota crossover. The CR-V’s compact size, room for five, and available all-wheel-drive system allows it to maintain that car-like feel while giving a more SUV-like performance.

The CR-V comes powered by a 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder making 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. It’s backed by an Earth Dreams continuously variable transmission. The EPA rates the CR-V at 27 mpg city, 29 mpg combined, and 34 mpg highway for front-drive models, while all-wheel-drive CR-Vs get one mpg less in each category.

Pricing for the CR-V starts at $23,320 and rises past $32,770 for the new, range-topping Limited trim level.

Ford Escape

2014 Ford Escape High Resolution Exterior
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The Escape has proven to be a trendy, hot-selling crossover for Ford. Features like the available EcoBoost engine, touch-free rear tailgate opening, and Microsoft Sync have garnered their fair share of conquest buyers. Smart looks have helped as well.

Speaking of that EcoBoost engine, the 2.0-liter, turbocharged unit puts out 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. An all-wheel-drive system is optional for those looking to conquer foul weather. The EPA rates the EcoBoost at 22 mpg city, 25 mpg combined, and 30 mpg highway in FWD guise, while the AWD gets 21 mpg city, 23 mpg combined, and 28 mpg highway.

Pricing for the Ford Escape starts at $22,610 and rises close to $30,000 for the top trim level.

Conclusion

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Granted, the Toyota C-HR showcases and enticing design, but that’s pretty much it. Sure, it’s enough if you look at it as a study that previews an upcoming model, but we can’t help wonder how much of that sleek and muscular body will actually make it on a production model. Although the exterior is as conceptual as it gets, the interior is rather bland, and the hybrid drivetrain is still unknown. Sure, the overall scenario looks promising, but we need more than just a muscular body to cling on.

  • Leave it
    • * Interior too mild for a concept
    • * Exterior might change dramatically on the production car
    • * No engine specs

Press Release

The Toyota C-HR Concept will make its world debut at the Paris motor show, giving the first hint of a type of crossover vehicle Toyota would like to bring to market. The concept combines a new, dynamic design language with an agile and engaging drive to create a new proposition for the demanding European car market.

Toyota has a long-established reputation for innovation in landmark vehicles such as RAV4, Prius and GT86.

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The C-HR Concept represents a synthesis of 20 years of Toyota creativity. It recaptures the design and packaging ingenuity that produced the original RAV4, introduces the next generation of the sophisticated full hybrid technology that was first realised in Prius, and, inspired by the GT86, targets new levels of dynamism and agility.

It is an innovative design study for a stylish, lightweight C-segment crossover that will stand out in an increasingly homogenous market, and is the next physical expression of the promise Akio Toyoda made when became Toyota President to build cars with stronger emotional qualities that will make their owners fall in love with driving again.

The C-HR Concept has the essential combination of compact packaging and agility required by customers with active, urban lifestyles.

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It has been conceived around a new vehicle platform design to satisfy customer demand for excellent handling and control. A new, advanced full hybrid powertrain delivers an engaging driving experience that can deal with 21st century traffic conditions and deliver outstanding efficiency.

New vehicle architecture
The C-HR Concept introduces a new Toyota vehicle architecture. The sculpted lower bodywork presents a precision-cut, faceted look, while the corners of the bodyshell have been cleanly shaved off, reducing overall mass and emphasising the powerful flaring of the wheel arches. Viewed from every angle, the crossover concept has a broad, planted stance.

The frontal styling displays a further development of Toyota’s current style language, but with new themes that hint at a future design direction. The slim upper grille design has evolved in to a floating ‘wing’ graphic that flows seamlessly around the front corners of the vehicle to the apex of each wing. Within this wing shape, the headlamps feature strong detailing, including a high-tech, 3D treatment of the daytime running lights.

Adding emphasis to the corners of the vehicle further reinforces the vehicle’s solid look. The large lower grille is flanked by strongly sculpted downward projections, underscored by a floating front spoiler.

The faceted lower body, muscular wheel arches and angular rear shoulders are juxtaposed with a sleek cabin profile. The glasshouse is emphasised by a sweeping, uninterrupted extension of the side glazing into the rear screen. This creates a slim, floating roofline, tipped with a spoiler. Its length is exaggerated by residual C-pillars which taper to needle points either side of the rear screen.

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The floating roof has patterned openings that create a lively play of light in the cabin. Seen from the rear, the sharply tapering glasshouse emphasises the car’s broad, planted appearance. The rear end displays the same faceted treatment and corner detailing as the front of the vehicle, together with distinctive, aero-inspired floating light clusters.

A dedicated wheel design reinforces the concept’s crossover credentials, with blade-style spokes.

New platform and powertrain
The C-HR Concept is built on a new platform and measures 4,350mm long, 1,850mm wide and 1,500mm high. A lower centre of gravity and greater structural rigidity will contribute to much improved driving dynamics.

It uses a new full hybrid powertrain that will deliver significantly improved fuel efficiency.

A global project rooted in the European market
The C-HR Concept is another tangible manifestation of Toyota’s new Global Vision, first advocated by Akio Toyoda in 2011.

Toyota recognises that Europe is the most demanding market for small and mid-size vehicles, so uses the region as the benchmark when defining its future cars for the A, B and C-segments. Toyota Motor Europe has also become the company’s skill centre for diesel engines, perceived quality and vehicle dynamics.

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In the case of the C-HR Concept, there was close co-operation between Toyota’s product planning centres in Japan in order to gain a good understanding of the latest European customer demands and vehicle trends. The concept’s styling is the result of co-operation between Toyota design centres, including ED2, its European design development studio.

Toyota Europe will continue to work hand-in-hand with Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan to enter the C-crossover segment.

Hybrid heritage
Hybrid vehicles are now widely accepted as a mainstream choice by consumers, thanks to excellent fuel and emissions efficiency that doesn’t require sacrifices in cabin space, ease of driving or comfort. This means they can play an important role in the commercialisation of eco-cars.

The widespread acceptance of hybrid is reflected in more than seven million cumulative sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles since the launch of the first Prius in Japan in 1997.

In Europe, the total has reached 780,000 since Prius went on sale here in 2000, with growth driven by the success of Yaris Hybrid and Auris Hybrid. This regional figure accounts for more than 10 per cent of global hybrid sales.

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In the first eight months of 2014, Toyota and Lexus hybrid sales reached 107,000, which is 28 per cent of total Toyota group sales in western Europe. During the same period in the same area (31 countries, including the EU states, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland), Yaris achieved a 31 per cent share of hybrid sales, while hybrid versions claimed more than 50 per cent of all Auris and Auris Touring Sports sales.

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