Toyota Targets Europe’s Compact Cross-Over Market

Toyota is targeting Europe’s compact crossover/SUV market with the world debut of its new Toyota C-HR.

Banking on the well-trodden path of combining traditional SUV styling with sports coupe bodywork, Toyota is hoping to tap into the C-segment crossover market that has proven so resilient in recent years. The automaker says the car, conceived and built exclusively in Europe including assembly of its high-voltage battery units, reinforces its commitment to the Continent.


It offers customers a choice of three electrified powertrains, a line-up that reiterates Toyota’s multi-technology path to carbon neutrality. In the launch, the automaker believes that diverse options need to be offered to give customers access to affordable and practical vehicles that will accelerate the pace of CO2 reduction in the here-and-now and help ensure a successful transition to zero emission mobility.

The launch range will see two self-charging hybrid powertrains plus a plug-in hybrid option. All new models benefit from the latest, fifth generation Toyota hybrid technology. This has been achieved with a comprehensive redesign of key hybrid system components to reduce size and mass, including a new transaxle and power control unit (PCU) and a more powerful high-voltage battery.

Starting with a 1.8-liter self-charging powertrain, as also featured in the new Corolla family, is focused on fuel efficiency but has significantly more power, although as yet unstated, than the current 1.8-liter hybrid electric Toyota C-HR. The 2.0-liter self-charging hybrid offers higher output contributing to a more dynamic driving experience with efficiency.

Toyota claims “a best-in-class system” for its 2.0-liter plug-in hybrid claiming all-electric driving for daily use and highly efficient hybrid electrified performance for longer trips. With Regeneration Boost, it offers a “one pedal”-like driving experience with three operating levels for progress in city traffic.

The system will also automatically adjust the drive mode to optimize energy efficiency, recognizing the best opportunities for energy recharging when following a route via the car’s navigation system. Thanks to the introduction of a new geofencing function, the Toyota C-HR PHEV will automatically switch to EV operation when the car enters a low emission zone (LEZ), optimizing battery usage across the entire trip, when using a navigation system and sufficient battery charge is available.

Driver assistance

It also comes with a comprehensive suite of safety and driver assistance. All versions will benefit from the latest Toyota Safety Sense portfolio of active safety and driver assistance features.

The key developments include new Acceleration Suppression that slows any sudden use of the throttle when risk of a collision with a vehicle ahead is detected. Also new, Proactive Driving Assist (PDA) works at low speeds, providing smooth deceleration when the driver comes off the throttle when approaching a slower vehicle ahead, or entering a bend. It also enables Steering Assist, which recognizes a bend ahead and adjusts steering force to help the driver make a smooth and stable turn.

On certain model grades, owners will also be able to add the option of an advanced safety package for their car, including features such as Lane Change Assist with Front Cross Traffic Alert, a Driver Monitor Camera (enhancing performance of the Emergency Driving Stop System), an Adaptive High-beam System with camera control to adjust light distribution; and (where local regulations permit) hands-free driving to automatically follow the vehicle ahead in a stop-start traffic jam.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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