Toyota has taken its time entering the compact SUV market but for fans of small models with quirky styling, the wait may have been worth it.
The carmaker previewed the new model in the C-HR concept (pictured) at last year’s Paris Motor Show, but customers would have been forgiven for thinking the eventual road-going version would look nothing like the jellybean shape of the concept.
Instead, Toyota look set to retain much of the C-HR’s look in the production model (rumoured to be called ‘Auris Cross’), in a bid to attract customers considering the likes of the Nissan Juke.
The UK’s Autocar reports that potential customers voiced their approval to Toyota for the concept’s styling, saying they preferred it to the ‘traditional’ small hatch crossover look.
“The high growth rate of sales of that sort of vehicle would be very good for us,” Toyota UK President, Paul van der Burgh said. “The concept was excellent and the styling in particular stood out. If such a product were to launch, I’m confident it could be a best-seller.”
Inside, the C-HR-based model could offer class-leading space, thanks to underpinnings from Toyota’s New Global Architecture.
This would ensure the body could remain small, and allow for the curved look of the C-HR without compromising the interior.
For a carmaker with arguably conservative styling language, the C-HR could mark the beginning of a more adventurous road for Toyota’s designers.
Company boss Akio Toyoda is said to have given the word for a small SUV with a difference, and the C-HR is the result of that order.
Toyota’s first compact SUV model is due to be unveiled at next year’s Geneva Motor Show. Stay tuned to TMR for more.