Take a gander at the 2018 Toyota C-HR and 2018 Toyota Camry, and it isn’t a huge jump to reach the conclusion that the artists and not the bean counters have suddenly seized control at Toyota HQ. Toyota has typically been very conservative, but both the C-HR and Camry actually stir emotions!
When Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda commanded, “No more boring cars,” the creative types toiling in Toyota’s design studios took the pronouncement to heart. Although the totally redesigned Camry is a departure from the seven generations of the sedan that have gone before, the all-new C-HR can be characterized as downright wacky. But, hey, it’s a small crossover, which means it can color outside the lines. And the C-HR doesn’t look that much different than the concept we first saw in Paris a while back.
A Fuzzy Pedigree
If a Hollywood celebrity can name a daughter Apple or Moon Unit, why not a carmaker bestowing the convoluted moniker Coupe High-Rider (C-HR) on a funky-looking compact crossover? In a buttoned-down family like Toyota, the C-HR could easily be the rebellious stepchild of the brand’s lineup. Why? Because not only is its styling extreme, it wasn’t intended to be marketed as a Toyota in America in the first place. Nope, it was earmarked for Scion before Toyota axed the brand last year.
Although Toyota also inherited other Scion nameplates like the sporty FR-S, the C-HR had been a real styling departure for Toyota until the 2018 Camry came along. With the new Camry on the showroom floor, C-HR won’t look so out of place — in an odd way, the new Camry kind of helps the C-HR make a little more sense. Still highly stylized, the lines of the 2018 Toyota C-HR may just represent the extreme limits of a significant sea change in the brand’s styling theme.
Just One of the Kids
Like that rebellious kid at Thanksgiving dinner, a small crossover can get away with just about anything. A few eye rolls from the rest of the family is about the extent of the repercussions. After all, the C-HR isn’t the first smaller crossover showing up to church with its ballcap on backwards. The Nissan Juke and Kia Soul don’t exactly represent the family styling themes of their respective brands either. Somehow, we are willing to overlook some eccentricities in our small crossovers, um wagons, uh “coupe high-riders.”
Build It and They Will Come
Crossovers are the automotive equivalant of the boy bands of this decade. Wildly popular, a carmaker can sell the heck out of just about anything if the vehicle has a two-box body style and the word “crossover” appears in its marketing. The public is that gaga over crossovers. It is the fastest growing salessegment in the industry.
A carmaker will never go wrong giving the public what it wants and what it wants today is crossovers. So, even if the C-HR’s styling is a bit on the wild side, and it’s a little pokey off the line, and it doesn’t offer all-wheel drive, it will undoubtedly sell because Toyota markets it as a crossover.
We’re not judgy. If you want a crossover and you like the cut of the C-HR’s jib, and need Toyota’s well-known reliability, it’s a fun little driver. You certainly won’t be alone in buying it.