Skip to main content

Toyota is teasing us with a new C-HR concept called the prologue. Toyota sounds upbeat about introducing the second generation of C-HR, especially in Europe, and we hope the new one keeps the funky looks but addresses some of the older version’s shortcomings. The company says the new C-HR prologue concept is “a demonstration that Toyota is going to deliver all of this.” Could we get the new C-HR in the U.S. soon?

Today’s C-HR looks cool, but it’s getting a bit old

A white 2021 Toyota C-HR parked on display next to a blue wall
The 2021 Toyota C-HR | Toyota

Toyota first previewed the CH-R at the Paris Auto Show in 2014. When the little crossover SUV came to market a few years later, it looked a lot like that funky concept. Toyota created that original concept at its European Design Development headquarters in France. It’s gone on to sell well, but not spectacularly. Its small engine and tight passenger room doomed this funky crossover.

Today’s C-HR is known for its good looks and its nimble handling, but mainly its looks. This subcompact has a 144-horsepower four-cylinder, paired with a CVT automatic, that doesn’t stir the soul. Though it seems like it would get great economy with that mix, it only achieves 27 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. With the introduction of the similarly-placed Corolla Cross for 2022, it makes sense that Toyota decided to kill the C-CHR for now.

The next C-HR should be a PHEV, plug-in hybrid

The new concept images are a tease, for sure. But, according to Toyota many of the design elements of the prologue concept should see the light of day. The C-HR concept keeps its funky look by integrating big wheels with shorter overhangs, which give it a stance. Toyota calls the front end the HAMMERHEAD, in all caps, and you can see a bit of that shark’s face in the gaping grille.

But Toyota dropped a big nugget in its latest European news release about the upcoming C-HR. The company said “The new Plug-in Toyota C-HR with European assembled batteries, in addition to the hybrid version will further strengthen Toyota’s multi-technology line-up.” A plug-in hybrid version would complement this little SUV’s city-first mission. Many cities, especially in Europe, are trying to discourage internal combustion cars. In the U.S., the hybrid version makes sense, too.

The old C-HR seemed more like a concept car on the street

2024 Toyota C-HR in silver and black
Toyota C-HR prologue concept | Toyota

The C-HR looks cool, sure. But behind that pretty face, it never really lived up to its promise. When Toyota debuted the C-HR concept eight years ago, it too, had two doors. Then, when it hit production, it gained a pair of tiny rear doors that added some practicality. Could the new prologue also keep the two-door SUV layout that everyone says they like?

While Toyota is staying upbeat about the new C-HR prologue concept, we don’t know much more. Funky cars are great, for a time, and sometimes they make it. But sometimes the styling needs to match what people want in a crossover, like space, power, and practicality that the old one failed to deliver. Will this new C-HR succeed? Well, we’ll have to see it in person, first.