Slamming The Toyota C-HR

The first time I laid eyes on the Toyota C-HR, I was confused. Much like the slice of market it’s attempting to play in, I simply fail to understand why it’s needed.

This year’s Tokyo Auto Salon was full of crossovers, with tuners jumping on any new model that’s hit the dealers for the sheer lack of anything more exciting coming to market. But then I saw what Lexon had done to Toyota’s ‘Coupe-High Rider.’

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It’s amazing what slamming a car to the ground can do for the way it’s perceived. There’s definitely nothing High Rider about this C-HR anymore.

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Sure, it isn’t quite as performance oriented as most of the cars we shoot for Speedhunters, but the Toyota crossover is currently sitting in a very good position and I thought a closer look at this thing was definitely in order.

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So the other day, Takemi-san, the main behind Lexon, brought his new demo machine over to a cool little spot I know, so I could take a closer look. And when I say “new” I really do mean it; this C-HR has just over 500km on the odometer!

Toyota may have turned up very late to the entry-level crossover party that many manufacturers have been enjoying for years, but its new creation stands a good chance of taking over. With sales in Europe having just started and the US to follow this fall, this little 4-door hatchback brings a lot to the table for buyers looking for a fun and cheap daily commuter.

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The Lexon approach has thus far been as simple as it gets, starting off with an air suspension setup.

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The addition of 20-inch Vossen VFS-10 rims transform the almost innocent look of the factory-spec car and gives it a whole different character.

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Design-wise, it seems a little fussy at first, but take some time to digest the multitude of lines that run across the C-HR’s profile and it ends up being pretty coherent. It all flows to towards the rear to give form to the low-raked hatch section, which I think is the most distinctive feature of the car.

It’s very design oriented, much like the Nissan Juke, but Toyota has managed to make it all look right and not awkward in any way.

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The pointy front with that modern, almost grill-less face hints at the fact that this is a hybrid, but the pumped fender lines instantly have you wondering if Toyota will produce a performance version of the car. It would almost seem silly not to!

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For the Japanese and European markets, the C-HR is offered with the choice of a turbocharged 1.2-liter gasoline engine or a 1.8-liter petrol electric hybrid out of the Prius, as fitted to the Lexon car. The US will only get a 144hp 2.0-liter with a CVT transmission, which kind of makes sense for the type of use the car is designed for.

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I’m not suggesting that Toyota dump a twin-turbo V6 motor into the C-HR like what Nissan did with the Juke R I drove a few years back, but boy does this unassuming crossover have potential in my mind. If Toyota won’t do it, the aftermarket will surely come up with some cool visions of the car, like we’re already beginning to see.

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The interior follows Toyota recent design language, with a simple and modern dash layout and everything focused towards the center console and touchscreen.

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The air suspension is set-up and controlled through Air Lift Performance 3H management, and Takemi stores the handy digital controller under the arm rest cubby when not needed. Of course, he can also use the iPhone app to raise or lower the car.

While the rear of the cabin isn’t anything to write home about in terms of space and headroom, all in all the C-HR’s interior is nicely appointed for the price. If you crave a little more luxury, you should probably wait for the Lexus version of the car which will probably be out sometime next year.

While trunk space looked pretty decent, it wasn’t that I was interested in. Lifting up the floor panel/separator reveals the components of the Air Runner system.

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The C-HR might be marketed as an entry-level crossover, but I just can’t help but see the potential for something a hell of a lot more exciting. Maybe it’s the lack of sporty and fun little cars from Japan that makes me crave something like this, although if Toyota Racing Development (TRD) brings out a special version of the C-HR I just hope it’s not akin to what Nismo has done with the Juke! I’m keeping my fingers crossed…

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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40 comments

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1

I support the movement to bring crossovers back down to earth. That one time you need to park in gravel is not worth the sucky handling.

2

Ugly, slow, massive car thats not modiftied(please dont say wheels and drop is modidied enough to be worthy of international coverage), why is this on speedhunters, were are the 4000hp+ outlaw drag cars, why this crap over that

3
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Drag cars? Those are boring. "Straight lines are for fast cars, but corners are for fast drivers."

4

yo dawg, crossovers is the most sellingist car in world

5

Speedhunters is a car community. The C-HR is a car. Therefore, it has just as much right to grace this website as AMS's new Alpha G, anything from Formula Drift or even the regulars at any local cars and coffee. Too many people in the car community are quick to hate on anything that doesn't fit into what they like.

Personally, I love reading anything that gets posted here.

And, by the way, lowered crossovers are awesome. I own one.

6

It is about the size of a Ford Focus (not massive) with a 1.8ltr petrol engine coupled to an electric motor (yes the 1.4 is slow). The 1.8 Hybrid is far from slow. As for ugly it is going to be beauty is in the eye of the eye of beholder in this case. The Dynamic interior is not far of lexus in the front. At the back it falls off. It has a place. If you do a lot of around town after a commute the Hybrid saves you a fortune. If you live somewhere that gets poor weather the height helps you out. The height also helps parking as the car is quite small you can squeeze it about cities nicely. Toys wise it has just about all the stuff you will need but the speaker upgrade and all leather interior are essentials to get. I would not touch it without the hybrid engine and dynamic trim. It shines only when in full sepc configuration. It is a bizarre choice to mod. It is a sensible Toyota. A work horse.

7

Even tho I'm not a fan of bagged car, this actually looks kinda nice. Why should they not share it? Have you seen another one like it. This is the first time I've even seen this car/model in the US. Speedhunters is about car culture all together. They have done high HP drag car, now lets give the little guys a chance also. Its not like they make one feature a month. lol

8

Preach it.... Give the lil guys a shot who are workin hard to get noticed for their hard work

9

I like the look of it. The rear reminds me of the new Civics

10

That's pretty much what every Toyotafan has said ever since the civic-ad came out lol.

Author11
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Nice name :)

12

I really like the look of the CH-R, but hate its powertrain options. I live in a mountain region, so I'd like to have a 4WD version. However, Toyota won't sell you an AWD version with a manual (which would be optimal around here). And worst of all, the only auto available is a CVT. With such small engines, it's just a no go. Too bad.

Author13
Dino Dalle Carbonare

They are half way there, the car is good, just need to work on engine and transmission options.

15

"Toyota may have turned up very late to the entry-level crossover party that many manufacturers have been enjoying for years" Wat??? The Rav4 has been around since 94'

16

Rav4 is a small SUV not a crossover.

Author17
Dino Dalle Carbonare

You can debate the Rav4 is a crossover, but it isn't. It's a small SUV and it's got nothing to do with these smaller design-oriented corssovers I'm talking about

18

the Rav4 has unibody construction not body on frame which makes it a crossover not an SUV, the same for the subaru forester and other vehicles which share more with a car than they do an SUV.

19

These are unibodies too, but I've never heard anyone refer to an XJ as a crossover.

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20

yeah, I don't think of them like that either because they have solid axles but when you look into the definition of the term they do in fact fit the bill. It's an odd term indeed. unibody, hatch back, etc etc http://www.autotrader.com/car-shopping/suv-vs-crossover-whats-the-difference-215843

21

While technically correct, the first and second generation Foresters were more "High-riding wagons" rather than crossovers, as they were more or less lifted Impreza wagons. My 06 shares a subframe with the 04 2.5RS impreza, but with a 1" body lift

22

The term crossover is a marketing gimmick.

23

Says the guy who fit some unreasonably large general grabbers on his FXT. https://flic.kr/p/JDCYM2

24

I have an 03 XT, as much as I don't want to call it a crossover, by definition it is one because it wasn't offered with a different body style where the impreza's were, it's just one of those things where the term "crossover" came about after the class of cars were created, for me crossovers are the BMW X6 and similar Mercedes where they are almost a a coupe style design on stilts. Mines about to be brought down to the ground with STI gear, it's getting on now so is due a suspension refresh anyway.

25

Much hate, so not Wow.

26

Thumbs up for the doge reference. :)

27

Wow. Looks like the hate train is back. Almost makes me miss the spam bots...

28

Is it pretty? That's in the eye of the beholder. But this eye cannot avoid the ungainly folds and odd shapes at every angle. Does it have to outdo the old Hyundai Elantra with all the side swoops? The front end is the epitome of a committee design, no cohesion imo. And the rear is competing with the new Civic for the busiest butt in cardom. Just because a computer can design anything why does it have to be all over the place?
Now what I think is pretty in this class is the Mazda CX2. Put that on the ground with some new big wheels and a few other flourishes and it will walk all over this Toy.
Well, you slammed the H-CR. So did I.

29

As you said, looks are subjective.
i actually like this design alot, wich for me is unusual for this class of car. As for the CX3 i felt that its design was dated before it even came out. Its not ugly in any kind of way, but a little too simple.
The Juke was almost there, but turned out a little messy.

30

Opps, that's the CX3.

31

Really digging the design of it

32

That's right, you need air more than food or water. DROP IT!

33
Christian Clark

I can't get past the thought of "Lumpy, angular Veloster"

34

C-HR is one of those car petrolhead will never understand WHY they sell like a hotcake on the market ... Honda's second generation HR-V take off well, when it has a coupe-ish profile when compare with the previous generation which looks like a lifted City station wagon.

35
Jeroen Willemsen

This looks awesome, they are very popular in Holland. Seen dozens of them on the road already.

36

Form Jamaica I love that speedhunter

37

This has made me look at these in a whole new light. I'm really digging what they did to that one.

38

Theres a true story

Man wanted to buy this new,jazzy,shiny japanese KROSSOVER.

Went to the Honda dealer and asked for this new CR-H.

Lol
wrong dealer.

39

Everything looks neat & sophisticated except the engine bay

40
Keaton Belliston

Sitting in the back seat of a C-HR should be the punishment for international war crimes. It's seriously nothing but plastic with a window the size of your hand! Imagine sitting back there during a long stretch of driving!! I'd be carsick almost immediately!!!

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