Toyota C-HR gets a radical new look and plug-in hybrid power in push upmarket

No, it's not a concept car

Toyota is set to launch an all-new C-HR and the Japanese company has released details about the new compact SUV ahead of it hitting showrooms later this year.

The new model takes the coupé-SUV looks of the current car and pushes them even further to create what Toyota describes as “a concept car on the road”.

There’s a sharper “super coupé” profile, while the nose features Toyota’s latest front-end design, similar to that of the bZ4x electric SUV and the new Prius (not sold in the UK). Sharp lines define the sides of the bodywork, while flush-fitting door handles are a new addition.

At the back, Toyota will offer a two-tone paint option which sees contrast roof colours extended across the car’s tail. The designers have also paid special attention to integrating the cameras, sensors and headlight washers for a concealed look, while the profiles of the front bumper and roof spoiler are shaped to boost aerodynamic efficiency.

Toyota C-HR

High tech cabin

Inside, the dashboard has a ‘wing’ profile, but with all of the functions concentrated towards the driver to create more of a cockpit feel. The dash layout features a 12.3in driver’s display, while the central infotainment screen measures 8in or 12.3in across, depending on trim level.

Toyota Smart Connect is included for wireless smartphone connectivity and integration with the Toyota MyT phone app, while programmable 64-colour LED cabin lighting can be set to change colour throughout the day. The lighting is also intended as a safety system, with the cabin lighting illuminating red if somebody opens a door when it’s unsafe to do so.

Owners will be able to use their smartphone as the car’s digital key, while remote driving in and out of parking spaces will also be available — though that feature has not yet been confirmed for the UK.

Toyota C-HR

Sustainable materials are used throughout the new C-HR, with double the amount of recycled materials in its construction when compared with its predecessor.

The seat fabrics are made from PET plastic bottles, while 100 other parts now feature recycled materials.

The plastic bumpers are pre-coloured when they’re moulded, which is claimed to save hundreds of tonnes of CO2 during manufacture, while the panoramic glass roof (where fitted) features special reflective coatings that mean a sunshade isn’t needed. This saves 5kg in weight, improves headroom and also means less use of the air conditioning to regulate the cabin temperature, which will boost efficiency.

Advanced safety kit

The latest version of Toyota Safety Sense is fitted. As well as lane-keeping and blind-spot assistance, Toyota has added Acceleration Suppression, which slows the car if sudden use of the throttle is detected when there is a car in front.

Proactive Driving Assist is a system that works at low speeds to smooth deceleration when the driver lifts off the throttle when approaching a slower vehicle, or when entering a bend. Steering Assist also adjusts steering force to help the driver make a smooth and stable turn based on the road ahead.

Other safety kit that will be offered includes lane-change assist — a step above lane-keeping assist that can help steer between lanes on a motorway — and hands-free driving in stop-start traffic (where local laws permit). There’s also front cross-traffic alert, an internal camera to monitor the driver’s attention, and auto main-beam headlights with a camera that controls the beam distribution

Plug-in hybrid power for the first time

There are four powertrain options available in the new Toyota C-HR. The 1.8- and 2-litre hybrid systems are similar to before but produce more power and come with bigger batteries, as seen in the recently updated Corolla. There will be no four-wheel-drive version sold in the UK.

New to the line-up is a plug-in hybrid powertrain. This is based on the 2-litre hybrid but adds a bigger drive battery that can be plugged into an external source and extra tech.

Toyota C-HR

No power, performance or economy figures have been revealed for the new C-HR but they will be confirmed, along with prices, closer to its on-sale date. Despite that, order books are already open in certain territories to coincide with its unveiling.

It’s expected that the plug-in hybrid C-HR will travel up to 41 miles on electric power, using the same 220bhp system as the new Prius.

One-pedal driving — in which lifting off the accelerator activates regenerative braking and will even bring the car to a halt — is possible, though there three levels of regen on offer, meaning drivers will also be able to set the car to coast when lifting off the accelerator.

A geofencing function can also let the PHEV model know when a zero-emissions zone is included on a journey, and the car can set itself up to run exclusively on electricity as soon as it enters the area. Again, it has not been confirmed if that will be included on UK cars.

Launch edition

Toyota UK has confirmed that there will be a special launch edition of the C-HR. The Premiere Edition is offered with Sulphur bi-tone paint, plus perforated leather seats with colour-coded stitching, a head-up display and panoramic roof.

It is expected that the new C-HR will go on sale in the UK before the end of the year.

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