Toyota is teasing us with a new C-HR concept called the Prologue. Toyota seems optimistic about the introduction of the second generation C-HR, especially in Europe, and we hope that the new one will keep the modern look but address some of the shortcomings of the previous version. The company says the new C-HR Prologue concept is “a demonstration that Toyota is going to deliver all of this.” Could we have the new C-HR in the US soon?
Today’s C-HR looks great, but it’s getting a bit old
Toyota first showed off the CH-R at the Paris Auto Show in 2014. When the small crossover SUV hit the market a few years later, it looked a lot like that original concept. Toyota created that original concept at its European Design Development headquarters in France. It has sold well, but not spectacularly. Its small engine and tight passenger space doomed this funky crossover.
Today’s C-HR is known for its good looks and agile handling, but mostly for its looks. This subcompact has a 144-horsepower four-cylinder, paired with a CVT automatic, that’s not soul-stirring. Although it sounds like you’d get great economy with that combination, it only gets 27 mpg city and 31 highway. With the introduction of the similarly located Corolla Cross for 2022, it makes sense that Toyota decided to kill the C-CHR for now.
The next C-HR should be a PHEV, plug-in hybrid
The new concept images are a tease, for sure. But, according to Toyota, many of the prologue concept’s design elements should see the light of day. The C-HR concept maintains its modern look by integrating large wheels with shorter overhangs, giving it a stance. Toyota call the front end HAMMERHEAD, in all caps, and you can see a bit of that shark’s face in the open grille.
But Toyota dropped a big nugget in its latest European press release about the upcoming C-HR. The company said: “The new plug-in Toyota C-HR with batteries assembled in Europe, in addition to the hybrid version, will further strengthen Toyota’s multi-technology lineup.” A plug-in hybrid version would complement the first urban mission of this small SUV. Many cities, especially in Europe, are trying to discourage internal combustion cars. In the US, the hybrid version also makes sense.
The old C-HR looked more like a prototype on the street
The C-HR looks great, for sure. But behind that pretty face, he never lived up to his promise. When Toyota debuted the C-HR concept eight years ago, it also had two doors. Then, when it hit production, it gained a pair of tiny tailgates that added some practicality. Could the new prologue also keep the two-door SUV design everyone says they like?
While Toyota remains optimistic about the C-HR’s new Prologue concept, we don’t know much else. Funky cars are cool, for a while, and sometimes they do. But sometimes styling has to match what people want in a crossover, like the space, power and practicality that the old one couldn’t offer. Will this new C-HR be successful? Well, we’ll have to see it in person, first.