Toyota has said it’s serious about performance.
Hot on the heels of a rumour that there's a Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla in the development pipeline is another savoury nugget of speculation that there's a GR C-HR coming, too. Auto Express first reported the rumour, though it didn't say where the information originated. If true, the GR C-HR could be the second performance Toyota model set to debut before 2023.
The publication speculates the performance C-HR would use a detuned version of Toyota's turbocharged 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine that's in the GR Yaris. It makes 257 bhp (192 kilowatts) in Europe and 268 bhp (200 kW) in Japan. A "senior Gazoo Racing executive" told Auto Express that the engine could be used in a wide range of applications with differing performance outputs.
The GR C-HR could be a swansong for the first-generation of one of the funkier crossovers on the market, or it could be a kick-off model for the second-generation that's set to debut sometime in 2021. Either way, it'll ride on Toyota's TNGA platform that underpins the Toyota lineup, which should provide a sound basis for a performance crossover.
Gallery: 2020 Toyota C-HR by Gazoo Racing
Just as the GR Corolla would compete with the Ford Focus ST and Hyundai i30N, the CR C-HR would face off against the likes of the Ford Puma ST, VW T-Roc R, and others. As consumers continue to move toward crossovers and SUVs, there are those looking for sportier trims and models. There's nothing wrong with Toyota adapting to a changing consumer base.
Toyota has said it's serious about performance as it remakes itself into a brand more appealing to younger buyers. That doesn't mean we'll see a plethora of new high-horsepower sports cars from the automaker. However, it should add some vigour to the Toyota brand that's long played it safe.