Toyota ‘Considering’ C-HR With AWD but Can’t Make It Work As-Is
Toyota’s spunky little crossover would need serious re-engineering to make all-wheel-drive work, though it seemingly might get it.
A Toyota spokesperson revealed at the 2019 Denver Auto Show that the company has considered, but would be challenged to make an all-wheel-drive version of its subcompact C-HR crossover.
Originally a Scion project, the C-HR was appropriated as a Toyota product when the youth-oriented marque was deemed a failure and discontinued in February of 2016. It was envisioned as a small, affordable lifestyle vehicle with a crossover-coupe body style meant to appeal to a younger demographic. Most importantly, Toyota saw the C-HR as an exclusively urban vehicle and only sells it with front-wheel-drive which, compared to all-wheel-drive, is lighter, more efficient, and cheaper to produce. Nevertheless, soaring consumer interest in AWD has Toyota regretting that it didn't design the C-HR to be more compatible with the system.
"I guess [in] hindsight, it'd be nice to have an all-wheel-drive in one of those, and I know we're considering that—I don't know where we are in the process," said Toyota spokesperson David Lee on Wednesday, during the same presentation that he confirmed a new generation of Toyota's full-size Tundra pickup to be in development.
"The engine that currently resides in that car is not compatible with our all-wheel-drive systems, so we need to either engineer the all-wheel-drive side of it, or figure a new power plant, or a different one, perhaps," continued Lee. "That is something we've had under study for a while, but I gotta be honest with you, I don't know where we stand in that situation, but being a Denver resident, here, I would hope we would have it at some point in time. It'd really broaden that car's appeal, it's a great vehicle."
C-HRs sold in North America are powered by a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated 3ZR-FAE four-cylinder engine, which doesn't bolt up to any current Toyota AWD system. Some C-HRs sold internationally do have AWD, but only as paired with a smaller, turbocharged 1.2-liter engine, one unavailable in the U.S.
While nothing obvious stands in the way of Toyota homologating the 1.2-liter engine with American authorities, the combination of low displacement and AWD would make C-HRs equipped with this combo dreadfully slow; an acceleration test conducted by Car Question depicts this spec of C-HR doing 0-to-60 in about 12 seconds, and in a country where pizzas are free if not delivered in a half-hour, that's simply too slow to work. If only the 600-horsepower C-HR R-Tuned was a showroom model.
MORE TO READ
Toyota Confirms New Tundra in Development, Says to ‘Expect Some Big Changes’
Something serious is going to change with the next Toyota Tundra, but when?
2019 Toyota RAV4 New Dad Review: A Crossover That Checks All the Family-Friendly Boxes
Toyota’s all-new RAV4 is just right for families who want that every-so-popular crossover body style, but don’t want to pay too much.
Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ Owners Claim a Recall Fix Is Destroying Their Engines (Updated)
More owners are reporting problems now than during the actual recall period.
Alfa Romeo Tonale Crossover Concept Dazzles Under the Lights at Geneva Motor Show
Alfa Romeo could bring some much-needed beauty to the somewhat bland compact luxury crossover segment.