The C-HR awakens Toyota design

Toyota’s C-HR didn’t attack. It’s quite the opposite. The second generation of the most extroverted model of the Japanese brand presents itself as “a concept car on the road”. It has tightened its lines a little more, beveled its body panels, curved its stern and muscularized its so-called “hammer head” bow. This penchant for exuberance has so far succeeded him quite well. Since 2016, the C-HR has achieved nearly 800,000 sales, including 110,000 in France.

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Unlike most manufacturers, who are less forthcoming about their way of considering their design options, Toyota still likes to jargon (C-HR for High-Rider Coupé, or something like “raised coupe”) and deliver an approach very cerebral in his stylistic choices.

When presenting his creation, Ken Billes, who led the team that designed the C-HR, talks about “two carefully cut diamonds; the one at the rear was cut in two, while the one at the front was twisted”. The roof is not the same color as the bodywork, and the very clear choices (tiny rear windows, very sloping tailgate, sloping roof) come at a high price in terms of habitability. The rear passengers know something about this.

Elite price

We can find this spectacular style very exciting or excessively grimacing, but we cannot deny that it contrasts with the grayness of automobile production and awakens the slightly sleepy design of the Japanese brand. Evil tongues claim that this desire to design a car full of nerves is a diversion from the slow revving imposed by the continuously variable transmission which equips the brand’s models.

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It is true, on the other hand, that the manufacturer, which converted the entire automobile industry to the virtues of hybridization, has lost its uniqueness. And must therefore look for new territories to distinguish itself from other generalists.

So Toyota has found its style? With the C-HR, at an elitist price (from 34,900 euros), the brand has not seized an inspiration which will infuse throughout its catalog, but has appropriated for good an additional style, a new rope to his bow. In truth, this eminent house is not the most eccentric there is, and its highlights are often the tree that hides the forest. Which is not illogical: when you are number one in the world, you also have to respect the standards, or even act in an arch-consensual manner. For the best, we will cite the latest Prius, Mirai (hydrogen) and Camry, with classic and slender lines. For the worst, we will stick to the killjoy RAV4 and the indigestible bZ4X, an all-electric model developed reluctantly and designed without desire.

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