High-Rider leads Toyota push for new drive units

  • Three new models, each a unique vehicle
  • Fuel-saving shells, electric drives
  • Take your own generating on camping trips
TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW: Image: Newspress/Toyota
TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW: The new Toyota Coupe High-Rider SUV is, the automaker says, leading the brand’s drive towards greater stylistic freedom.  Image: Newspress/Toyota

PARIS, France – Toyota’s all-new Coupe High-Rider crossover SUV is the latest example of the what the automaker says is a drive towards greater stylistic freedom.

Akio Toyoda’s determination “to allow greater stylistic freedom and promote creative engineering” is now delivering eye-catching designs.

Toyota says its concept cars attracted much attention at the Paris auto show in 2014 and at Frankfurt the next year; now the coupe-like lines of the C-HR (as the car is branded) are showing designers’ resolve to create a stand-out Toyota style – a new direction – among mid-sized crossovers.

TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW: Image: Newspress/Toyota
TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW: The C-HR crossover is said to have taken Toyota into a whole new realm of design originality. Image: Newspress/Toyota

Toyota says it is targeting a clear customer profile: people driven by emotion who seek individuality to be the first to try experiences and products. “Style and quality are essential qualities in any purchase they make,” Toyota says, “and their car serves as an extension of their personality.”

C-HR chief engineer Hiroyuki Koba said he focused firmly on such requirements throughout development and insisted on high design and quality benchmarks.

RAISED GROUND CLEARANCE – BUT STILL COUPE STYLE

“The C-HR’s unique character demonstrates the flexibility of Toyota ‘new global architecture’ in design, power train and dynamics,” Toyota told The Corner in a media release, “to deliver a fresh take on what has become an increasingly commoditised crossover segment.”

Prominent wheel-arches, Toyota says, “emphasise the vehicle’s strength and rigidity” while the “powerful lower body, raised ground clearance and the sleek cabin profile” are that of a coupe.

The car’s nose “has a slender upper grille flowing from the Toyota emblem into the headlights before wrapping around the front”. Rear light clusters stand proud of the bodywork some have diode illumination.

GLOBAL SUPPLY – UNDER TESTING FOR SA

The cabin – described as “airy and spacious” – has high-tech functionality with “a focused area around the driver”. The instrument panel extends into the door trim with a piano-black panel while keeping relevant switches accessible for the front passenger.

The C-HR will be available globally with either petrol or hybrid power trains. Units for South Africa, however, will only be supplied with a 1.2-litre turbopetrol engine capable of 85kW/185Nm turning a six-speed manual or constantly variable transmission and front or all-wheel drive.

“Even on secondary roads,” Toyota says, “the car remains remarkably composed and accurate, contributing to a confident and enjoyable drive.”

PLUG-IN POWER FOR PRIUS

TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW: Image: Newspress/Toyota
TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW:  The latest version of the Prius – a Plug-In. Image: Newspress/Toyota

ALSO AT PARIS IS THE second generation of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid which has all the attributes of the fourth-generation Prius but with an all-electric drive.

Toyota’s believes its new PHV is “a powerful response to customer feedback” about the original Prius Plug-in but adds: “It is not just an evolution of the latest generation Prius, it is also a significant vehicle in its own right.”

DOUBLING THE RANGE

Prius Plug-in is still under study for sale in South Africa but meanwhile claims a steady-driving battery range of about 50km – double that of its predecessor – which, the company says, “represents a major advance in efficiency, driving performance, innovation and styling”.

A comprehensive aerodynamics package has reduced the drag coefficient to 0.25 – an area where once 0.30 was regarded as remarkable.

TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW: Image: Newspress/Toyota
TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW:  The Toyota FCV (Fuel-Cell Vehicle) Plus can also burn hydrogen as a mobile electricity generator.  Image: Newspress/Toyota

The car can be fitted with a roof-mounted solar panel array to charge the hybrid’s drive battery-pack first seen on a Toyota Auris concept in 2010.

Solar charging can increase the car’s EV driving range by as much as five kilometres a day – if used consistently, that would be close to an extra 900km of ‘free’ driving range in a year.

…AND THE TOYOTA FCV PLUS

THEN THERE IS the Toyota FCV Plus, one of such vehicles which perhaps will offer eco-friendly transport, but even if they become commonplace they will not be the only energy users: Toyota wants to turn fuel-cell vehicles from “energy users” into “energy makers”.

The Toyota FCV Plus, making its European debut at the 2016 Paris auto show, is a fuel-cell vehicle that can also be part of the electricity generation infrastructure.

TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW: Image: Newspress/Toyota
TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW: The Toyota FCV Plus is a strange-looking machine – but then so are the things that it can do. Image: Newspress/Toyota

The car can convert clean hydrogen (clean, that is, apart from its production – Editor) into electricity to serve as an important aid to energy security.

As well as burning hydrogen contained in its on-board tank, the FCV Plus, when parked, can generate electricity from an external hydrogen supply – “a stable source of electric power for home or away”.

TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW: Image: Newspress/Toyota
TOYOTA AT PARIS SHOW: Could one call the FCV well-heeled? Image: Newspress/Toyota

The car’s fuel-cell stack can even be removed and re-used as an energy generator, going beyond the traditional functions of a vehicle.

Put to different uses around the world, these stacks could make a significant contribution to local communities.

Imaging having one on a camping trip…!

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