Toyota has announced it will enter the fastest-growing passenger car segment in Australia with the flamboyant C-HR compact crossover, which is making its global debut today at the Geneva Motor Show. The company’s newest SUV is slated for an early 2017 arrival in local dealerships.
Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the new C-HR will be the company’s first entrant in the highly competitive small SUV category, which has almost tripled in size during the past four years.
“C-HR will expand Toyota’s market appeal with its stunning design and superb driving performance – with powerful low-end torque and outstanding handling and agility – all while delivering impressive fuel economy,” Mr Cramb said.
An all-new platform, developed as part of Toyota’s New Generation Architecture philosophy, is said to deliver sharp driving dynamics supported by a highly rigid body structure and low centre of gravity.
A new-generation 1.2-litre direct-injection turbo-charged petrol engine fitted to Australian variants promises “impressive acceleration and responsiveness”.
The 85kW four-cylinder direct-injection engine is characterised by strong torque at low engine and vehicle speeds, achieving its peak of 185Nm at just 1,500rpm and maintaining it all the way to 4,000rpm.
Locally, the five-door C-HR will be available in 2WD and AWD configurations paired with either a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmissions.
According to Toyota, the C-HR will be well equipped with advanced safety specification including standard autonomous braking and reversing camera.
Marginally longer and wider than a Corolla hatch, the C-HR employs the higher ride height of an SUV and benefits from a longer wheelbase.
Extroverted styling for the production model keeps faith with the two concept studies that signaled a more emotional styling direction for the world’s largest carmaker. The first Toyota C-HR concept in three-door guise was shown at the 2014 Paris motor show while a five-door concept debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show.
Local sales of small SUVs have achieved compound annual growth of almost 30 per cent since 2011 – from fewer than 40,000 units to last year’s tally of more than 110,000 vehicles.
Last year alone, the category surged ahead by 24,000 sales, posting the biggest volume and percentage growth for any sector of the Australian market.
Toyota sells more SUVs in Australia than any other brand and last year set a new local record by selling 59,412 of these popular vehicles, often purchased as alternatives to passenger cars.
The C-HR will join Toyota’s extensive SUV line-up, which includes the RAV4, Fortuner, FJ Cruiser, Kluger, LandCruiser Prado, LandCruiser 70 and 200 series. The market leader’s SUV tally was 44.3 per cent higher than its nearest competitor, which translates to a margin of more than 18,000 vehicles.