The bold C-HR gets more chutzpah!

Launched in 2016, the C-HR is Toyota’s answer to the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. Only 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) long, the C-HR is the company’s smallest crossover to date and slots under the already iconic RAV4. The small SUV has received many positive reviews in its first year on the market, mostly being praised for its well-equipped interior, comfortable ride, and sporty interior. But nothing stands out more than its bold and rather unusual styling. Arguably the most exciting small crossover on the market in terms of exterior design, the C-HR became even more striking at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show thanks to a special package by ED2, Toyota’s European design studio. It’s called the C-HR HyPower, and it’s just a concept for now.

Much like most concepts, the HyPower includes features that you can’t normally buy with the regular C-HR. There’s a wild finish for the roof, a special body paint, and orange accents on the outside, while the interior boasts quilted seats and a bright contrast. As the name suggests, this concept car is more powerful than the usual C-HR hybrid. Not much is known at this point, but Toyota did confirm that the show car previews some sort of higher performance drivetrain that will be revealed in early 2018. Let’s have a closer look at the concept in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota C-HR HyPower concept.

Exterior

2017 Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept
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As if the C-HR wasn't striking enough, the designers over at ED2 enhanced the crossover's exterior with new features

As if the C-HR wasn’t striking enough, the designers over at ED2 enhanced the crossover’s exterior with a brand-new paint and contrasting details front and rear. The new paint is called Dark Carbon and appears to be a silver hue at first glance, but the matte finish gives it a unique look that highlights the interplay between the sharp lines and deeply sculpted surfaces of the sheet metal. The gloss black front lip spoiler, nose grille, and wheel arch trim give the HyPower a stealthy appearance.

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The roof is particularly interesting, featuring a bespoke finish with geometrical shapes

More interesting details can be found in the headlamps, which feature dark chrome backgrounds and bright, Burning Orange highlights. The dark chrome is also used on the window frames and the 20-inch alloy wheels, while the orange adds a splash of color to the lower front grille and the mirror caps. The roof is particularly interesting, featuring a bespoke finish with geometrical shapes colored in various shades ranging from pink to dark brown. The rear section of the roof become darker toward the tailgate, to the point where it matches the finish of the C-pillars and the spoiler. If Pablo Picasso had designed a car, I’m sure it would’ve looked just like this.

Interior

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The contrasting exterior theme carries over inside

The contrasting exterior theme carries over inside, where the black-painted plastic and black upholstery was combined with Burning Orange details. The trim that separates the two dash tiers and frames the large infotainment screen is finished in the bright orange color, as are the door armrests, which appears to be wrapped in leather, and the side surfaces of the front seats.

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2017 Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept High Resolution Interior
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The seats feature a unique, asymmetrical quilting pattern of multiple diamond shapes across the cushions

The latter are also wrapped in higher quality leather than what you can get with the production C-HR. More orange can be found on the headrests and the yarn used to create the unique, asymmetrical quilting pattern of multiple diamond shapes across the seatback and cushions. This is indeed something else, and as a big fan of diamond quilting, I’d very much like to see this layout in a production Toyota soon. The quilting pattern carries over into the door panels, on the surface just above the orange armrests.

Although it’s not very different from the usual C-HR interior, the bespoke details set the crossover in a higher league on the premium ladder. And it’s proof that it only takes a few well-crafted details to change the character of an interior rather dramatically.

Drivetrain

2017 Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept
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The concept is powered by a beefed-up version of the standard hybrid drivetrain

Toyota didn’t have much to say about the drivetrain, but it did mention that the concept is powered by a beefed-up version of the standard hybrid drivetrain. Available with no fewer than four gasoline engines globally (only the large 2.0-liter is offered in the U.S.), the C-HR can also be equipped with a hybrid drivetrain that combines a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a permanent magnet synchronous motor. Total system output is rated at 122 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque in the production model, figures that have been criticized in many reviews for making the C-HR feel slow and underpowered.

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The new performance hybrid drivetrain could have more than 170 horsepower

As it turns out, Toyota is paying attention to what customers and the outlets have to say and developed a more powerful hybrid drivetrain. There’s no word as to how much power it generates, but we should be looking at more 170 horsepower since Toyota described the uprated drivetrain as a "higher performance hybrid option." This new powertrain is part of a new strategy that will bring more powerful hybrid drivetrains in all of Toyota’s core models, including the C-HR, but further details won’t be revealed until early 2018.

Conclusion

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I’ve fallen in love with the Toyota C-HR since day one. I love the exterior design, the way the sharp and muscular lines blend in, and the fact that it proves Toyota can make stylish cars that appeal to younger crowds. I find the interior to be exciting too, especially the two-tier dash, the large infotainment screen, and the modern looking instrument cluster. The HyPower concept makes everything better by adding a bit of chutzpah to an already bold vehicle. I like what Toyota did here and I think the company is finally ready move away from its traditional conservatism and roll out more spectacular features. A few bespoke packages for its core models would be a great start. Of course, I also like the idea of having a more powerful hybrid. While I think that 122 horsepower is relatively enough for a crossover that’s more useful in the city than anywhere else, having options is good for both the customers and Toyota.

  • Leave it
    • * Just a concept for now
    • * You can’t buy it

References

Toyota C-HR

2018 Toyota C-HR High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Toyota C-HR.

Toyota is Killing The FJ Cruiser Three Years After It Leaves U.S. High Resolution Exterior
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Read more Toyota news.

Press release

A team from ED2, Toyota’s European design studio, has explored new ideas in colours, textures and trims to create the Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept, a new interpretation of the crossover that offers high visual impact, linked to its use of a new, more performance-focused hybrid powertrain.

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The Toyota C-HR has enjoyed strong success since its launch at the end of 2016, Toyota’s entry into the mid-size crossover market making an immediate impact with its striking styling and rewarding driving character, founded on its Toyota New Global Architecture-based (TNGA) platform. The availability of Toyota’s latest-generation hybrid powertrain has also proved highly popular with customers, commanding the majority of European sales (more than 75 per cent).

The production model has provided the inspiration for Toyota designers to explore the possibilities for a higher powered hybrid version, with an even more impactful and emotional styling treatment. The result is the new Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept, which makes its world debut at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, created by a team at ED2, Toyota’s European design studio in the South of France.

Concept

Toyota’s intention has been to develop the styling of the Toyota C-HR to produce a very desirable vehicle that connects even more strongly with customers who have highly individual tastes and lifestyles, emphasising its stylishness and fun-to-drive character. Further exploring the “diamond” architectural theme of the production model, the new concept displays a high quality execution and attention to detail throughout. The design also reflects the presence of a more powerful hybrid powertrain, heralding a future expansion of Toyota’s hybrid programme.

Exterior

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From the start of the Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept project the design team knew that they did not want to use heavy customisation or “bolted-on” elements to achieve the impact they were looking for. Instead, their skills were applied to amplifying the inherent qualities of the production car’s design through innovative use of colours, finishes and detailing. In fact, the concept uses exactly the same sheet metal as the showroom car.

Exploring the diamond theme that underpins the Toyota C-HR’s styling more deeply, the team at ED2 found inspiration in the natural forces that turn carbon into diamonds and the way in which solid rock can conceal a fiery, molten core.

This thinking led to the use of a new Dark Carbon silver paint with a matt finish to accentuate the interplay between the vehicle’s sharp lines and deeply sculpted surfaces. The effect is heightened by the use of gloss black elements, including the lower front lip spoiler, the area above the Toyota emblem on the front of the car and the wheel arch trims. Dark chrome sustains this effect, witnessed in the headlamp ornamentation, window frames and in the 20-inch alloy wheels.

A dramatic contrast is struck by dazzling use of an anodised Burning Orange finish on the front pillars, the door mirror housings and an accent bar within the headlamp units. The colour is also used as a highlight within the black diamond mesh pattern of the lower grille.

The use of colour, texture and form combine to even greater effect on the concept car’s roof. A unique, “diamond-cut” film covers the entire surface in a faceted, crystalline pattern that flows from darkest black at the rear to brilliant anodised orange at the front, mixing together contrasting matt and gloss planes.

Interior

The interior carries forward the exterior themes to sustain the power of the concept’s design with a tone-on-tone approach the combines black upholstery and trim with Burning Orange details.

The highly supportive seats are finished in black leather with orange headrests and bolsters. Burning Orange yarn has been used to create a unique, asymmetrical quilting pattern of multiple diamond shapes across the seatbacks and cushions. The design is replicated on the inner door panels, which also feature orange arm rests. A further flourish is provided by the orange finish for the highlight trim that extends the full width of the instrument panel and frames the Toyota Touch® 2 multimedia touchscreen.

New high-power hybrid powertrain

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The concept has been designed around the use of a new hybrid powertrain that offers more power and performance than the 122 DIN hp system featured in the current production Toyota C-HR. This reflects a significant and strategic future development of Toyota’s world-leading technology that will higher performance hybrid options being made available in all its core models. More details regarding this expansion of hybrid will be revealed early in 2018.

Interview Lance Scott, Chief Designer, Toyota ED2

Lance Scott led the team which produced the Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept.

He explains how the project was delivered.

What contribution did the ED2 design centre make to the production Toyota C-HR?

Lance Scott: We were involved in the early stages of the project for both exterior and interior design. We developed the original concept exterior that was shown in Paris in 2014 and revised it for the Frankfurt motor show in 2015 as a preview of the main exterior design themes. For the interior design, our proposal was the direction selected during the internal design competition phase and was developed for production.

The production model already has a dramatic and highly distinctive design – what impact did this have on producing an even stronger look for the HY-POWER Concept?

When we started the project, we knew that we didn’t have to make any dramatic changes to the overall design. What we wanted to do was almost to purify or concentrate the unique value of the Toyota C-HR and see how we could give it further emphasis by using a new and unique colour and interior trim execution.

Did the status and success of the model have an influence on how you approached the project?

The fact that the Toyota C-HR is a key model that was recently launched and has been selling well made us aware that we shouldn’t cause any confusion with the show car. We went back to the original brief and the target customer profile to identify how we could accentuate the design while remaining faithful to its original direction.

What challenges and opportunities did the show car design process present?

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The challenge was not to stray away from the qualities that define the Toyota C-HR, but to add to them in a fresh and original way. For example, we wanted to retain the high quality of the production car, so we explored different ways of expressing uniqueness in the interior. By using a high-quality leather trim with a unique gradation yarn and stitch patterns, were able to build on the fundamental qualities of the interior ambience.

How did you interpret the Toyota C-HR’s diamond design theme?

The diamond theme prompted us to think about the process by which a diamond is made from carbon. Carbon itself has very interesting qualities and the led us to producing a new fluid carbon exterior colour treatment with a look that is not matt, but not gloss in appearance either. This in turn made us think about molten materials, such has lava, which presents a powerful contrast between its cooled upper surface and red hot liquid centre. This was the inspiration for creating the roof colour and a dynamic pattern that progresses from vivid red to black.

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