Friday, July 15, 2016

Toyota's New Crossover: The C-HR

March 09, 2016

Ready for action, the 2017 Toyota C-HR is expected to make a splash in the compact crossover market. This SUV has the headroom and legroom you'd expect, but it sports a distinctive design that is unexpected and fun. It is definitely poised to compete vigorously against the Honda HR-V.

Unlike the HR-V, which doesn't offer a hybrid edition, the C-HR is offering a hybrid powertrain that seems just right for urban living. This just makes sense for Toyota, which gave the world the Prius and two SUV hybrids, the RAV4 and Highlander. The new C-HR will have a Prius-like powertrain with the ability to keep fuel costs way, way down. This system has lost weight, making it more efficient. It has also boosted its thermal efficiency by 40 percent. Even its environmental credentials are impeccable, given a 90 g/km emissions rating.

If the hybrid powertrain doesn't suit a crossover shopper, Toyota will offer a special turbo engine and a naturally-aspirated two-liter, four-cylinder powertrain. The transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a continuously-variable automatic. For added utility, the CVT editions will offer all-wheel drivetrains. The package emphasizes driving dynamics, and engineers are hinting that this one is fun to drive.

The C-HR does look like a fun ride. Sculpted for aerodynamics, the body still retains an angular, muscular feel that gives it a decidedly athletic demeanor. Toyota designers have evoked a bit of mystery with black-out rear pillars that make the roof appear to float above the body. Even the rear spoiler has a floaty aspect. Boomerang taillights add a sense of motion. The flowing roofline, the hidden rear door handles, and the muscular wheel arches are all part of its sports coupe image. As TopSpeed writes in its review, the futuristic and youthful design promises a fun driving experience.

Clearly the C-HR is aimed at commuters and others who don't need to drive a big SUV. These shoppers want fuel economy, but they still want a spacious place to sit and plenty of technology to entertain and protect them. The C-HR is expected to offer the latest dash tech plus more crash avoidance systems than are often offered in the crossover's price range. The standard Toyota Safety Sense System includes a pre-collision system that is designed to reduce impact or, at least, reduce its severity. Pedestrian detection expands the collision warning's scope to include people who are walking, skating, scootering, or biking. The lane departure alert watches road lines and encourages the driver to adjust the car's trajectory. Automatic high beams regulate the light better than driver-operated high beams. Road sign assist alerts drivers to the speed limit. Adaptive cruise control regulates the C-HR's speed, matching it to traffic demands.

The Honda CR-V will need to check its rearview mirror when the 2017 Toyota C-HR comes online in fall 2016. The newest Toyota will be packing a long list of must-have features, matching its new look with value pricing.

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