Toyota’s C-HR Concept Will Become New Hybrid SUV

If Toyota’s unveiling of the C-HR Concept in Frankfurt feels repetitive, that’s because it is.

This week, Toyota displayed its second rendition of the C-HR Concept; the first debuted at the Paris auto show in 2014. Following its original presentation, designers took feedback from the public to make some changes, which culminated in the compact crossover seen in Frankfurt.

Toyota also announced that the C-HR has been confirmed for production.

“We’re a little bit late into this segment,” admitted Karl Schlicht, executive vice president for Toyota Motor Europe. During an interview with Bloomberg at the Frankfurt auto show, Schlicht discussed the automaker’s thoughts on the hybrid SUV category.

“The segment is flying … we have the RAV4 over there, also hybrid now. And we want to add [the C-HR] to our lineup,” he said. “This is the fastest growing segment. We want to make sure that people understand that we’ve arrived and we think [the C-HR’s] got fantastic potential here in Europe, especially the hybrid version.”

Schlicht also noted that Toyota will remain committed to building more hybrids.

“We’re going hybrid across the range,” said Schlicht. “We think we’re the hybrid leaders in Europe. We’re selling 200,000 hybrids a year. We’ve sold one million since the start. And we’ve sold 8 million globally. So we’re ahead of the pack, we believe, in future mobility.”

For the latest version of the C-HR Concept, changes include a shift to the brand’s new platform, Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). An improved hybrid powertrain has also been added.

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“The C-HR Concept’s next-generation full-hybrid powertrain combines state-of-the-art battery technology with new, highly-compact electric motors offering a marked increase in power density,” Toyota said. “More compact, lighter in weight and more efficient than Toyota’s current hybrid systems, the new full-hybrid powertrain developed under the TNGA program will also be notably more refined, and even easier and more intuitive to drive, with a natural, smooth and immediate response to driver inputs.”

Additional updates may be made to this compact crossover, according to Toyota, before it’s finalized for production. A release date hasn’t been announced yet, though Schlicht said that full details for the C-HR will be released next spring at the Geneva International Motor Show.