By Steve & Tamami Laser
When we last saw the Toyota C-HR concept at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January, the windows were tinted so dark that the interior remained a mystery. While the outside gave lots of clues about the design direction for the upcoming production model, we had no idea what was in store for the cabin.
Along came the Geneva Motor Show in March, where Toyota pulled the wraps off the new model’s exterior (above). Sure enough, it looked pretty close to the concept that made its original debut way back at the Paris Motor Show in 2014.
“Crossover users want something special, something that a traditional SUV cannot offer,” said Kazuhiko Isawa, Chief Designer C-HR. “They want a high driving position, but they don’t want the boxy shape of an off-roader. And they also want an agile driving feel. With the C-HR, we are trying to introduce a new value into the C crossover market, one that comes from SUV robustness and strength. But we’re not trying to make an SUV that’s dynamic, rather, a dynamic vehicle with SUV-like properties.”
Developed under the theme of “Sensual Speed-Cross”, C-HR features a diamond architectural theme, with prominent wheel arches, gemstone-like shapes with fluid surfaces, and coupe-like styling further expressed by rear door handles integrated into the C-pillars.
Toyota finally revealed the interior for the European model during a press event this week in Milan, Italy. And as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
“Our aim as Toyota’s European design center was to deliver a unique style – modern and sensual at the same time,” said Alexandre Gommier, ED2 Design Centre. “The uniqueness of the C-HR’s interior design is based on a stable structure with ‘Emotional Surfaces’ and ‘Innovative Details.’ These key features provided us with the opportunity to approach the design with a fresh perspective. As a result, the C-HR showcases the emotional appeal of Toyota’s interiors of the future.”
A new departure for Toyota, the interior styling represents a new “Sensual Tech” design concept that Toyota says combines high-tech functionality with a sensual and fashionable style. The interior’s ambience features a seamless layered look for the instrument panel, which flows through to the door trim and features stylish ornamentation with a piano black panel.
The area around the driver incorporates innovative details and intuitive, user-friendly high technology. All the switchgear and the 8.0-inch display touchscreen for the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system are slightly angled towards the driver.
“The European Sensory Quality team has already worked on various facelifts of existing models, but this is the first time that we were tasked with an entirely new model, so a lot depends on the success of the C-HR,” said Mehmet Fatih Kale, Senior Engineer, European Sensory Quality team. “The designers at ED2 did such a good job, we had to ensure that their concept made it to production with the right finishing. With great support from the engineering teams, we worked on every visual detail and challenged standards to create seamless interior harmony.”
Working closely with the headquarters design team to maintain the original interior styling concept, the team focused on component quality and the consistency of grain, texture, shape, color and illumination in every element, even the stitch groove radii of the seats.
Because the touchscreen stands out of the instrument panel rather than being enclosed by it, the depth of the upper dashboard is kept low, helping maintain good forward vision for the driver.
Providing “the ultimate in sound reproduction in the C crossover segment,” Toyota says the new C-HR can be equipped with a tailor-made JBL premium audio system comprising an 8-channel, 576 Watt stereo amplifier and 9-speakers, including two newly patented acoustic JBL wave guides, known as horn tweeters.
A new, two-tiered front seat design combines a slender, sporting upper section with a more strongly bolstered and supportive lower area. This novel approach is emphasised by the use of differing tones, textures and patterns within the upholstery design.
There are three main surface finishes: leather-like for all background surfaces; a smooth Nappa grain for all touch surfaces; and technical grain for all functional elements, such as switchgear.
Decorative elements are finished in piano black and satin silver trim, and the clear blue instrument and switchgear illumination has been fine-tuned for consistency of hue, even on adjacent reflective surfaces of different colors.
Toyota says C-HR pre-sales will begin throughout Europe in September, with the first deliveries to customers planned before the end of 2016. Positioned between the Auris TS and the RAV4, Toyota Europe targets upwards of 100,000 annual European C-HR sales.
Fitted with the latest-generation hybrid power plant, the C-HR is rated at 90 kW/122 DIN hp. This new hybrid powertrain is reportedly more efficient and lighter than the previous system, while said to offer sharper performance.
The C-HR also offers a new 1.2-liter turbo engine, which debuted in the Auris. Delivering 85 kW/116 DIN hp and 185 Nm of torque, this unit can be mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox or a Continuously Variable Transmission. CVT equipped versions are available with front- or all-wheel drive. A 2.0-lliter 150 DIN hp/110 kW, 193 Nm CVT-only model is also planned for select Euro markets.
Folks in America will have to wait a little longer to get their hands on the C-HR. Toyota USA said that the U.S. production version of the C-HR will be shown later this year and is planned to go on sale in spring 2017 as a 2018 model.
Models, features, and specifications for European market vehicles are subject to change without notice by the automaker.
News sources: Toyota Motor Europe, Toyota UK, Toyota Motor Corp.
Photos courtesy Toyota Motor Europe
Story © 2016 CarNichiWa.com