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Can Toyota's Front-Drive C-HR Succeed In an AWD segment?

Is Toyota bringing a knife to a gunfight with its front-drive only C-HR?

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Toyota's new C-HR is poised to impress at the upcoming Detroit auto show. The C-HR has a dynamic look, a new engine, a new CVT transmission, standard safety its peers don't even offer, and the backing of one of the country's largest dealership networks to help it succeed. However, one thing seems to be missing - All-wheel drive.

Torque News considers our readership to be one of the most car-savvy of any publication. In our recent story on the C-HR reader "Joe" pointed out, "...all the competitive models offer AWD, but Toyota has decided to only offer the CH-R in FWD. That can't help sales." We wish we could take credit for the idea, but it was Joe that got us wondering how this little crossover can expect to beat the field with half its drive wheels along for the ride.

The irony of the C-HR not launching with AWD is Toyota's tag-line "Let's go places." Apparently, the C-HR will just go some places, and the Honda HR-V will go more places. Like snowy places. Speaking of Honda, we reached out to our contact at the company and asked "What percentage of HR-Vs sell with AWD now?" Our contact was kind enough to reply and tells Torque News that fully half of all the HR-Vs sold have AWD. Mazda also stepped right up with data. The CX-3 is presently at a 70% AWD take-rate. What is Toyota thinking?

Our guess is that the C-HR launching with just two powered wheels is a fuel economy ploy. The adverts will run claiming best in class fuel economy, and they will be right. The only problem is that half the class is AWD.

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