Toyota C-HR Concept

Compact Utility Vehicles (CUVs) have become all the rage these days especially in the Philippine market where there’s a premium for bigger vehicles considering the potholes and floods vehicles are subjected to.

The CUV market has started to get loaded in the form of the popular Ford EcoSport, the Mitsubishi ASX (which has a reputation as a gas guzzler), the Chevrolet Trax, the new (well, newly-introduced and funky) Nissan Juke, and the pricey Honda HR-V. Hyundai is also set to release the i20 Cross Sport and Mazda’s set to join the fray with the CX-3.

Ford Philippines made a killing with the EcoSport, marketing it as a cheaper and small flood-forder and that actually clicked with the market and that seems to be the thing with CUVs – small but tall. The pricing also matters, as anything beyond PhP 1M makes you reconsider opting for a truck-based SUV instead. All of the models are sub-PhP 1M save of the Honda HR-V.

Toyota has been quite deliberate with how they position their models. If you’re looking for the cheap and tall, there’s the Avanza (starts at PhP 639K and with a ground clearance of 200mm). However, the Avanza isn’t exactly in the compact crossover class and, style-wise, it doesn’t even come close to those compact crossovers.

So it’s only logical for Toyota not to take a piece of this profitable pie. This here’s the Toyota C-HR concept that has been making rounds in the car show circuit since last year. And it has gotten some buzz yet again with reports of it getting a hybrid variant.

So far, it’s looking really good. Styling for these available compact crossovers are polarizing at best. Personally, the Nissan Juke looks the funkiest but it’s either you like it or you hate it. But C-HR doesn’t look bad at all. It looks like the FT-86 on stilts.

Now, Toyota hasn’t announced production yet but being in the market for a taller vehicle, the prospect of this coming out has prompted me to put off purchasing a compact cross at least until things firm up.