Monday, June 19, 2017

The Cluttered Toyota C-HR

The Toyota C-HR is a small vehicle suffering from over-decoration: yet another Styling Crime.  Previous similar examples I've written about include the Nissan Juke and the BMW i3.

A brief Wikipedia entry on the C-HR dealing with its international production status is here.   And a not-very-favorable reaction by Motor Trend magazine is here, in which it is noted that "C-HR stands for 'Coupe-High Rider,' and it’s neither."

Let's consider its styling.  Generally speaking, it is one more example of Toyota over-reacting against criticism of its cars' styling being too bland.  The result is a confusing mess.


I have to admire the Toyota engineers responsible for the body stampings.  Note the door cut lines and how they cross the various bulges and creases while not interfering with the shapes of same.  The Motor Trend article linked above criticized the small windows on the rear doors, mentioning that they made it difficult for back-seat passengers -- especially children -- to see out.
Try imagining the C-HR without all the visual jazz but with the same windows.  The underlying shape would have too much of a flat, empty surface aft of the center door cut -- the only cure being enlargement of the windows.  Yet the small windows have the "advantage" of reducing the car's weight and thereby enhancing fuel economy.

The side bulges that mimic separate fenders are linked by an Art-Nouveau curved bulge and a plastic protection panel lower down.  I suspect the design might have been improved if the separate fender scheme had been altered to eliminate the swoopy connection zone.

Given that the C-HR is a hatchback, it is interesting to observe the upper part of its cut line as it crosses over the top by the aerodynamic lip over the back window.  The upper curve of the side window line continues towards the rear of the car in a nice way.  I would have considered extending the rear side windows farther aft to coordinate more with the upper edge of the back window, styling clich√© that it might be -- though perhaps Toyota stylists chose to avoid that.

The front is similar to other Toyotas, therefore providing some useful brand identity.  Its theme is better integrated than that of the rest of the car, though the effect strikes me as being slightly too heavy-looking.


emjayay said...

"Art-Nouveau curved bulge" Please do not insult an entire design movement like that again.

Donald Pittenger said...

emjayay -- Can I assume it was Toyota who made the insult? I am quite fond of Art Nouveau.

Anonymous said...

In profile and three quarter view it looks just like an angry hamster. Hopefully this child-like phase auto designers are copying from one another will be short lived.

emjayay said...

Donald: the Car Design Critic wrote "The side bulges that mimic separate fenders are linked by an Art-Nouveau curved bulge and a plastic protection panel lower down." That is what I was referring to. Mr CDC is pretty great and I'm sure he meant no offense to any turn of the century art movement.