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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Toyota's C-HR concept tries to carve style into crossovers


Toyota C-HR Concept
                         Toyota C-HR Concept

The global boom for crossover SUVs has left car designers scrambling. Traditional ideas of beauty in vehicles call for long, low, sculpted forms — not chassis designed to ride high and hold enough cargo to double as a dorm room.

 It's to be expected when automakers try a radical take or two, even as, with the Toyota C-HR Concept revealed today, the results seemed jumbled. Make enough folds and something might work, right?

Looking quite like a Local Motors Rally Fighter under the spell of a Scooby Doo villain hypnotist, Toyota says the C-HR "introduces an expressive new, diamond architecture styling theme," with "lower bodywork (that) has been sculpted to represent the facetted surfaces of a highly-durable, precision-cut gemstone."

 Power comes from a unspecified hybrid engine or the captured wingbeats of butterflies — it's a concept car, so whatever's under the hood is there purely for show. (Looking at the hood in these pictures, I'm not even sure how it would open.)

Toyota C-HR Concept
Toyota C-HR Concept

Like the wildest creations of any Paris fashion show, the C-HR's style sacrifices nothing to practical concerns, like rearview mirrors or rear sightlines or a roofline that would be capable of seating humans.

 But the future of a car like this isn't in its whole but its parts: maybe there's a way to adapt that glass-to-glass channel across the C-pillar and the persistence-of-vision lighting to a production car. If we're all going to want plus-size cars, our sense of style will have to catch up.