Toyota (finally!) reveals its small SUV contender
IT'S the car Toyota quite simply had to produce, and finally the Japanese giant will offer a small SUV on Australian shores come early 2017.
Known as the C-HR - meaning Coupe High Rider - the compact crossover will join Toyota's extensive SUV line-up which currently comprises the RAV4, Kluger, Fortuner, FJ Cruiser and LandCruiser Prado, 70 and 200 Series models.
Australians bought 59,412 Toyota SUVs last year, over 44% more than its nearest competitor (Mazda), and by finally bringing a player to the rampaging small SUV segment there's every possibility its dominance will extend further.
The all-new C-HR was revealed at this week's Geneva Motor Show, and it is known Australian launch models will feature a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine good for 85kW and 185Nm, with peak torque arriving from just 1500rpm.
For Australia we'll receive the five-door C-HR in 2WD and AWD configurations and with either a six-speed manual or CVT auto transmission. Targeting the safety-conscious family market, it was also revealed that the small SUV will come standard with autonomous braking and reversing camera.
On the size front, the C-HR is marginally longer and wider than Toyota's Corolla hatch, or to cherry pick what will no doubt be its main rival, at 4350mm long and 1550mm high the baby Toyota SUV is 75mm longer and 8mm higher than Mazda's success story CX-3.
Toyota Australia's executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the C-HR was an eye-catching first effort by Toyota in the small SUV category, which has almost tripled in size during the past four years.
"C-HR will expand Toyota's market appeal with its stunning design and superb driving performance - with powerful low-end torque and outstanding handling and agility - all while delivering impressive fuel economy," he said.
Full specification and price for the new C-HR will be revealed closer to its Australian launch, but it will of course sit below the RAV4 in Toyota's range ($27,990) and will square off against Mazda's CX-3 ($19,990) and Mitsubishi ASX ($24,990).