Just when you thought the Nissan Juke already holds the distinction of being one of the most stylistically unique crossovers in the market, the Toyota C-HR enters the scene and somehow turns that discussion on its head. The C-HR, by all accounts, is an exercise in proactive design and is the most aggressive looking model Toyota has in its lineup. So what business then does Modellista, Toyota’s design division, has with the C-HR? In the words of nobody famous, “when you’re near the edge, might as well jump over it.”
It’s hard to imagine the already aggressive C-HR be on the receiving end of not one, but two aerodynamic body kits. And yet, our friends over in Japan have never been the bashful types. When there’s an opportunity to emphasize the crossover’s styling dynamics, they do it without hesitation. The result are these two body kit iterations – the Boost Impulse Style kit and the Elegant Ice Style kit – that really push the C-HR’s looks into another level of aggression.
A lot of people may not like these kits because of the perception that they’re a little too over-the-top, especially on a car that’s already a magnet for attention by itself. It’s a valid point and certainly one that has its own set of merits. Than again, there’s also a population of people who get excited over these kind of things and they’re likely the ones who say that too much attention is not enough attention.
Well, be careful what you ask for because these two Modellista kits aren’t messing around. If it’s attention you want, it’s attention you’ll get.
What makes the Toyota C-HR with Modellista Aero Kits so special
Where do I even start, right? Clearly, subtlety was never exercised in the creation of these two aerodynamic body kits. The Boost Impulse Style kit, for instance, helps the C-HR look like an actual Transformer with a front section that adds more aggression to the crossover’s already unconventional face. One of the biggest differences is the new front splitter, which flanks a pair of upward sweeping metallic pieces that themselves surround thin LED lights found just below the circular lights found on the mesh grille. The C-HR’s upper grille area also received some modifications, most notably the black horizontal bar with the four vertical strips just below the metal-plated, V-type, resin grille garnish.
Move to the sides and the side skirts are about as prominent as you’d expect from Toyota’s design department. The decision to include a strip of black color to separate the skirts from themselves and another larger strip to separate it with the rest of the body adds a sportier look to the crossover and serves as a nice complement to various black trim pieces that are scattered throughout the crossover’s body. The rear section also gets a dose of the aggressive body kit, most notably the back door spoiler just above the Toyota logo and the simulated diffuser that carries its own dose of metallic accents that actually like exhaust tips, except they’re not.
The Boost Impulse Style kit is an explosion of aggressiveness, but whether you like it or not, it’s hard to deny that the results speaks volumes on the C-HR’s surprising adaptability to an aggressive aerodynamic body kit.
If you prefer a kit that’s a little more on the subtle side of aggressive, the Elegant Ice Style kit might be a better option. To be fair, the tamed nuance of this kit might be due to the crossover getting dressed on a white-bodied C-HR so adding it with other colors of the crossover could end with different results. In any case, the kit features similar components as the Boost Impulse Style kit, albeit it a little more toned down than the latter. The front spoiler of this kit opts for a less conspicuous look sans the LED strips and the upward sweeping metallic pieces on opposite ends that house them.
The side skirts are the same though but there are a handful of metallic garnishes spread throughout the crossover, including those found on the front splitter, mirror caps, and side skirts. Silver garnishes on the doors are also a unique feature of the kit, as are the rear skirt and muffler cutters found at the back of the crossover.
Unlike the brashness of the Boost Impulse Style kit, the Elegant Ice Style kit opts for a cooler and more elegant aerodynamic interpretation of the C-HR. Make no mistake though, it’s still a ridiculously aggressive kit that’s going to attract and annoy a lot of people. It’s just that there’s also a freshness to it that’s impossible to ignore.
In addition to these kits, Modellista is also offering other options for the C-HR, including LED-lit parts for the mirror covers, shark-fin antenna, and license plate lamp. Rectangular exhaust tips are also set to become available, as well as a set of 19-inch five-spoke wheels and a number of interior upgrades, namely LED lighting around the gearshift, roof, footwell, and luggage compartment.
Since the C-HR is still a new model in Toyota’s lineup – it doesn’t even go on sale here in the U.S. until the spring of 2017 – it’s easy to look at these Modellista aero kits and extra add-ons and wonder how they stack up against what Nissan has done to its own funky crossover, the Juke, with the help of its own in-house design and performance division Nismo.
Nissan Juke Nismo RS – Driven
Suffice to say, the Juke NISMO RS serves as a good barometer to measure the two aero kits developed by Modellista for the C-HR. As aggressive as they are, they’re not as rounded as the assortment of new options that Nismo added to the Juke, largely because Nismo offered more options for the Juke’s exterior interior. The obvious pieces – a new front fascia, larger grille, thin-strip LED accent lights, and rear diffuser – are all there, but Nismo added more to the overall package, including wider wheel arches, deeper rear bumper, a lift gate, and cosmetic red stripes on the Juke’s body, which by the way also hosted its share of “Nismo RS” badges just to let people know who worked on these Juke models. Customers even had a choice of three exterior colors: Sapphire Black, Brilliant Silver, and Pearl White. Modellista gives no indication on that aspect of its respective programs.
Nissan Juke Nismo RS – Driven
The other prominent feature of Nismo’s work on the Nissan Juke is the interior, which received, among other things, Recaro front seats trimmed in red leather-appointed side bolsters and black suede center inserts and ”Recaro” and “Nismo” logos embossed on the front seats. An Alcantara-covered steering wheel was also included in the program, as were carbon fiber trim around the center stack and shifter.
Then there’s the subtle engine upgrade that the Juke Nismo RS got. To be fair though, that sort of update isn’t in the wheelhouse of Modellista, but it still speaks to the all-around upgrades that Nissan and Nismo gave to the Juke Nismo RS. The engine upgrades weren’t significant by any means, but they were still good enough to increase the Juke Nismo RS’s output to 215 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque for the front-wheel drive version and 211 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque for the all-wheel drive version. Those represent power gains in the vicinity of 30 to 35 horses.
The good news for future owners of the C-HR is that Toyota still has a lot of time to map out its plans for the crossover once it hits the market. Time is on Toyota’s side here, so don’t be surprised if the automaker drops its own in-house performance upgrades for the C-HR in the future. It’s certainly within play, especially if Modellista can already come up with kits that are as aggressive as the Boost Impulse Style and the Elegant Ice Style. If it’s going all-out on that end of the C-HR, there’s a good chance that it’s going to even out the upgrades to the crossover in the future.
For now though, those interested in getting either of these two kits will have to pay 183,600 yen ($1,600) for painted versions and 162,000 yen ($1,400) for unpainted versions. Individual components will also be made available although there’s no word yet on whether Toyota plans to bring them outside of Japan.