Toyota C-HR gets Hy-Power treatment at Frankfurt

A team from ED2, Toyota’s European design studio, has explored new ideas in colours, textures and trims to create the Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept, a new interpretation of the crossover that offers high visual impact, linked to its use of a new, more performance-focused hybrid powertrain.

The Toyota C-HR has enjoyed strong success since its launch at the end of 2016, Toyota’s entry into the mid-size crossover market making an immediate impact with its striking styling and rewarding driving character, founded on its Toyota New Global Architecture-based (TNGA) platform. The availability of Toyota’s latest-generation hybrid powertrain has also proved highly popular with customers, commanding the majority of European sales (more than 75%).

The production model has provided the inspiration for Toyota designers to explore the possibilities for a higher powered hybrid version, with an even more impactful and emotional styling treatment. The result is the new Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept, created by a team at ED2, Toyota’s European design studio in the South of France and making its world debut at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show.

Toyota C-HR Hy-Power: concept

Toyota’s intention has been to develop the styling of the Toyota C-HR to produce a very desirable vehicle that connects even more strongly with customers who have highly individual tastes and lifestyles, emphasising its stylishness and fun-to-drive character. Further exploring the “diamond” architectural theme of the production model, the new concept displays a high quality execution and attention to detail throughout. The design also reflects the presence of a more powerful hybrid powertrain, heralding a future expansion of Toyota’s hybrid programme.

Toyota C-HR Hy-Power: exterior

From the start of the Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept project the design team knew that they did not want to use heavy customisation or “bolted-on” elements to achieve the impact they were looking for. Instead, their skills were applied to amplifying the inherent qualities of the production car’s design through innovative use of colours, finishes and detailing. In fact, the concept uses exactly the same sheet metal as the showroom car.

Exploring the diamond theme that underpins the Toyota C-HR’s styling more deeply, the team at ED2 found inspiration in the natural forces that turn carbon into diamonds and the way in which solid rock can conceal a fiery, molten core.

This thinking led to the use of a new Dark Carbon silver paint with a matt finish to accentuate the interplay between the vehicle’s sharp lines and deeply sculpted surfaces. The effect is heightened by the use of gloss black elements, including the lower front lip spoiler, the area above the Toyota emblem on the front of the car and the wheel arch trims. Dark chrome sustains this effect, witnessed in the headlamp ornamentation, window frames and in the 20-inch alloy wheels.

A dramatic contrast is struck by dazzling use of an anodised Burning Orange finish on the front pillars, the door mirror housings and an accent bar within the headlamp units. The colour is also used as a highlight within the black diamond mesh pattern of the lower grille.

The use of colour, texture and form combine to even greater effect on the concept car’s roof. A unique, “diamond-cut” film covers the entire surface in a faceted, crystalline pattern that flows from darkest black at the rear to brilliant anodised orange at the front, mixing together contrasting matt and gloss planes.

Toyota C-HR Hy-Power: interior

The interior carries forward the exterior themes to sustain the power of the concept’s design with a tone-on-tone approach that combines black upholstery and trim with Burning Orange details.

The highly supportive seats are finished in black leather with orange headrests and bolsters. Burning Orange yarn has been used to create a unique, asymmetrical quilting pattern of multiple diamond shapes across the seatbacks and cushions. The design is replicated on the inner door panels, which also feature orange arm rests. A further flourish is provided by the orange finish for the highlight trim that extends the full width of the instrument panel and frames the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia touchscreen.

Toyota C-HR Hy-Power: new high-power hybrid powertrain

The concept has been designed around the use of a new hybrid powertrain that offers more power and performance than the 120bhp system featured in the current production Toyota C-HR. This reflects a significant and strategic future development of Toyota’s world-leading technology that will see higher performance hybrid options being made available in all its core models. More details regarding this expansion of hybrid will be revealed early in 2018.

Interview: Lance Scott, Chief Designer, Toyota ED2

Lance Scott led the team which produced the Toyota C-HR Hy-Power Concept. He explains how the project was delivered.

What contribution did the ED2 design centre make to the production Toyota C-HR?

We were involved in the early stages of the project for both exterior and interior design. We developed the original concept exterior that was shown in Paris in 2014 and revised it for the Frankfurt motor show in 2015 as a preview of the main exterior design themes. For the interior design, our proposal was the direction selected during the internal design competition phase and was developed for production.

The production model already has a dramatic and highly distinctive design – what impact did this have on producing an even stronger look for the Hy-Power Concept?

When we started the project, we knew that we didn’t have to make any dramatic changes to the overall design. What we wanted to do was almost to purify or concentrate the unique value of the Toyota C-HR and see how we could give it further emphasis by using a new and unique colour and interior trim execution.

Did the status and success of the model have an influence on how you approached the project?

The fact that the Toyota C-HR is a key model that was recently launched and has been selling well made us aware that we shouldn’t cause any confusion with the show car. We went back to the original brief and the target customer profile to identify how we could accentuate the design while remaining faithful to its original direction.

What challenges and opportunities did the show car design process present?

The challenge was not to stray away from the qualities that define the Toyota C-HR, but to add to them in a fresh and original way. For example, we wanted to retain the high quality of the production car, so we explored different ways of expressing uniqueness in the interior. By using a high-quality leather trim with a unique gradation yarn and stitch patterns, were able to build on the fundamental qualities of the interior ambience.

How did you interpret the Toyota C-HR’s diamond design theme?

The diamond theme prompted us to think about the process by which a diamond is made from carbon. Carbon itself has very interesting qualities and this led us to produce a new fluid carbon exterior colour treatment with a look that is not matt, but not gloss in appearance either. This in turn made us think about molten materials, such has lava, which presents a powerful contrast between its cooled upper surface and red hot liquid centre. This was the inspiration for creating the roof colour and a dynamic pattern that progresses from vivid red to black.

Comments (2)

  1. C-HR Concept Frankfurt Sept 12th 2017

    My wife and I are massive fans of this car. We have got a Limited Edition. It has a great chassis and powertrain and returns over 60mpg on average. Over our years together we have spent many hours driving, not only fairly local drives but also longer distances around the country. In more recent years we have been able to afford more performance cars, several Civic Type R’s, Honda NSX, Lexus Hybrids and ultimately a Lexus ISF. I know these don’t directly relate to the C-HR but as our lives evolve, I personally still retain the desire for a practical sporty car. I have closely followed the evolution of the Lexus brand. I would love a LC500h but they are way beyond my affordability.

    So when I saw the blog about the C-HR Hy-Power to be revealed today I got quite excited. I have kept the Top Gear link entitled “What happens when a racing driver sets up a crossover?”, where Koba-san demonstrates the C-HR chassis ahead of Production release. I followed the reports about the successful C-HR Racing at Nurburgring in May last year and kept the photos. I’ve read motorist reports and speculation that Toyota should give us a performance C-HR. I saw a photoshop of a potential GRMN.

    If such a car is on the horizon then fantastic. A GRMN with high performance petrol would be great but that would be potentially hard-core and be manual. So when I read the blog that it would be a higher powered Hybrid I thought wonderful, this is exactly what we want. I imagined and fantasised further sporty body emphasis, with a powertrain like a scaled down LC500h with multi stage auto like the LC500h.

    Needless to say I couldn’t wait to get this morning’s blog at 8am. What an absolute disappointment. The main emphasis on the blogs leading to this event were about the ‘Hy-Power’ and what happens, you don’t tell us.

    We get fancy images that claim the “design (also)reflects the presence of a more powerful hybrid powertrain”. Sorry but I disagree. I like a bit of head turning capability, (which our current C-HR does) but this would turn heads for quite the wrong reasons. I accept it is only concept and the real thing (hopefully) won’t be like this but if this is the trend then sorry Toyota you are turning me off. I did like the idea of Dark Carbon paint and gloss black elements and dark chrome, although that doesn’t come over in the images

    Reflecting on Koba-sans input, I just wonder what he would think? Akio Toyoda has taken Lexus to beautiful and dynamic designs. Toyota have got the GT86, just sold out of the Yaris GRMN, got a unsurpassed range of cars from Aygo to the Land Cruiser. Surely Mr Toyoda can’t let the C-HR go in the wrong direction.

    I am not the only one who thinks this is great car (see UK C-HR Forum), with perfect potential for a super Hybrid. Today though I am very doubly unhappy. Initially I am put off by these concept images that do not reflect a sporty image at all, and secondly i’m more unhappy that you set us up today to give us a Hy-Power version then didn’t tell us.

    This morning’s blog was such a let down I just had to get my feelings off my chest. When Lexus concepted the UX last year I thought aspects of that were a bit off the wall but at least I could see the possibility of a beautiful compact SUV. This C-HR concept just doesn’t work at any level. You may think I am a conservative old so and so but having already experienced how great the C-HR is and its potential for more power I was really hoping to see emphasised sporty tweaks with about 200hp, TODAY.

    Yours, passionately disappointed.

    1. Hi Robert,
      Thank you for contacting us. We’re delighted to read that you are fans of the car and you’re enjoying the driving experience and fuel economy.

      Regarding your comments, about the C-HR Hy-Power Concept, we are sorry you feel disappointed and were expecting more from the news release and blog post. The car was developed for the show to explore new ideas in colours, textures and trims – rather than to confirm the exact design and specification of a new grade – and to support with the announcement that there will in the future be two hybrid powertrains in Toyota’s core models in the future. There will be more details revealed next year. More details here: http://media.toyota.co.uk/2017/09/toyota-expand-hybrid-choice-two-core-models-europe/.

      Please stay posted to our social channels for further updates and once again, thank you for contacting us and may we wish you many more enjoyable miles in your C-HR Limited Edition.

      Many thanks.

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