The next Toyota C-HR will receive hybrid and plug-in hybrid power
The upcoming second-generation Toyota C-HR will have significant extra weight on its shoulders, because Toyota has said it will not bring the new Prius to the UK – citing strong sales of the similarly sized Corolla and the current C-HR as key reasons.
Although Toyota also has the Yaris Cross small SUV in its stable, the Japanese giant will be hoping the new C-HR crossover will continue as its second best-selling car in the UK – just behind the Corolla. The first C-HR introduced Toyota’s new, edgier design language back in 2016 and judging by this concept teaser, the next model will be just as eye-catching.
- ‘The Toyota C-HR Prologue shows why the Prius isn’t needed in the UK’
With a hybrid powertrain on the cards again (Toyota is reserving full-electrification for its ‘bZ’ range) the new C-HR is set to continue its rivalry with the likes of the Ford Puma, Renault Captur E-Tech and Honda HR-V. A starting price of just over £30,000 should be expected.
Toyota sources have claimed the C-HR will land in dealerships in the second half of 2023 and this concept will preview plenty of the new car’s design. “It is a first, but very real vision of a car that will soon be turning heads across Europe,” the firm says. Indeed, the naming of the concept as ‘Prologue’ is significant, since the only other Toyota to carry that suffix, the Aygo X Prologue, proved a very accurate guide to the eventual production model.
The C-HR Prologue sticks closely to the overall look of a patent drawing that leaked a couple of months ago – and was scooped by Auto Express. It shows that Toyota has elected to keep the new car’s focus on style and design over practicality – values that allowed a bold look, which has made the C-HR one of Toyota’s best-ever models for attracting new customers.
The new car’s wheelbase is believed to be extremely close to that of the existing C-HR – and it probably should be, given that the production model will use the same TNGA platform. At the front, there’s a new take on Toyota’s ‘hammerhead’ grille and lights treatment that we’ve seen on the new Prius and the bZ3 saloon, with aggressive sculpting around the lower area of the bumper.
The roof profile remains closely aligned with the existing car’s, but the Prologue’s C-pillar has been pulled back in a bid to address one of the existing C-HR’s biggest flaws: a gloomy rear cabin. “It may not actually be more roomy in there,” admitted Lance Scott from Toyota’s ED2 studio in France, where the C-HR Prologue was designed, “but the extra light will help it to feel more spacious.”
The rear end features an extremely long and complex tail-light unit – an item that’s likely to be toned down for the final production model – and a chunky diffuser.
The Prologue also sports a more dramatic experiment with the two-tone paint job that has proven popular with C-HR customers. Instead of on the roof alone, a gloss-black finish extends from the side sills all the way up to the tip of the C-pillar – in a fashion not dissimilar to the Aygo X. The concept also has a third colour on its long roof spoiler; this isn’t guaranteed to make the final vehicle, but it could be offered on special editions.
As revealed by Auto Express, the biggest shift on the Mk2 C-HR comes in its choice of powertrains – because alongside the latest, fifth generation of Toyota’s ‘self-charging’ hybrid set-up, it will also be available as a plug-in hybrid – the PHEV battery packs will be sourced from Europe to be built in Turkey to reduce production costs.
Toyota has confirmed the choice of hybrid and plug-in hybrid without giving details of specific power outputs or tech configurations, but it’s feasible that the C-HR will use the same 2.0-litre, 191bhp powertrain as the newly launched Mk5 Prius. In the Prius, maximum pure-electric range stands around 60 miles and we should expect similar for the C-HR PHEV.
It might prove more of a technical challenge for engineers to squeeze in that car’s 221bhp plug-in set-up, though, since it has a chunkier battery that would be a tighter fit under the back seats of the more compact vehicle. There won’t be a pure-electric version of the C-HR because Toyota is lining up a new bZ model that will sit above the second-generation C-HR in the line-up.
Check out our list of the best hybrid SUVs on sale right now…
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