"Playful Fun For Adults:" Toyota Finally Releases Its C-HR Compact Crossover At Home – Forbes
That Toyota would eventually launch its first compact crossover, the C-HR, was one of the company’s worst-kept secrets. In the works since late 2009, and debuted at the Geneva Motor Show early this year, a C-HR raced around the Nürburg Ring in May. In the U.S., the C-HR was formally announced at the LA Motor Show last November. Inevitably, Verticalscope has long launched a C-HR forum, which competes with another one in the UK for attention. Nevertheless, when the C-HR was presented to the Japanese press yesterday, we had to act as if we had never heard of something called C-HR, we were sworn to great secrecy, and not to utter anything about the car until a day later.
The Japanese press conference for the ute was, well, utilitarian. Some 30 people crammed around a few tables, a PowerPoint deck, the requisite bottle of water for each, that was it. Two cars could be inspected, but not driven, later outside. We all have heard about lavish press jaunts to exotic places, but those are for the Americans. Here in Japan, we practice the zen of press events: We travel in the business class of packed subways, 30 minutes PowerPoint, 30 minutes questions, domo arigatou gozaimasu until the next event.
Yesterday, we were told by the C-HR’s Chief Engineer Hiroyuki “Hiro” Koba that the car is Toyota’s second vehicle that was created according to the writ of Toyota’s new TNGA production and design philosophy, something that seems to be harder to explain than a Far-Eastern religion. It also is practiced at Toyota with a similar fervor. Like the new Prius, the C-HR sits on the new TNGA platform, it shares a few parts, and adds a few new ones. The car could have been released a few years earlier, we heard, but it had to wait for TNGA to be handed down, and the Prius had first dibs. Mr. Koba also revealed that target buyers are heavily into style, and that that’s the reason for the C-HR’s edgy posture, and its interior allegedly oozing “sensual design with adult sexual charm.” I decided to blame that statement on a wayward translator talking into my earpiece, but when a few minutes later I heard that the buttons on the dash are placed to maximize “playful fun for adults,” I decided that they really mean it, and that 50 shades of grey had found their way into a car launch.
Car and Driver already wrote that “C-HR” stands for “Coupe High-Rider,” but Koba-san poured cold water over it, mentioning that the three-letter word used to be the vehicle’s design code during development, and that it grew on the team so much that they kept it. Something similar had happened before the launch of Toyota’s supercar, the Lexus LFA. For those who insist on definition, Koba said the acronym could also stand for “Compact High Rider.”