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Toyota's New 2018 C-HR Could Fill The Prius Role – A New Toyota Plan

We speculate on Toyota’s new small-vehicle lineup strategy: 2018 C-HR vs Prius.

During my back to back drives of the Toyota Prius Prime Plug-in and the conventional Prius hybrid this past month it became clear to me that with the government incentives the Prime Plug-In can earn, it makes little sense not to get the Prius Prime. A Toyota executive is said to have made a statement indiciating the whole Prius line may go electric. Squeezing a few more drops out of the lemon is not going to be possible for the next generations of Prius, so without a plug a better MPG may not be practical. So how might this fit into a plan to keep Toyota at the forefront of the green vehicle market?

Enter the 2018 Toyota C-HR. This new subcompact crossover is targeted squarely at the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. It was fitting that our Honda reporter, Parks McCants did the preview of the new Toyota given that even the naming nomenclature screams Honda. Parks speculates on whether the C-HR will come to the states. There are no guarantees, but given that it will be revealed at the L.A. Auto show in California in about a week, I think it is a safe bet it will be an American model.
- Want more images of C-HR? Read This

Cars have jumped the shark, and the EVangelists are angry at the Prius, which many of them once owned, for using a thimble of gas per mile. Tesla forum members vent serious venom at the car that has saved more fuel than any other because, obviously, it isn’t electric. With the green crusaders turning their back on the hybrid car market, Toyota may be wise to pivot rather than continue to push forward. A hybrid C-HR would offer buyers outstanding fuel economy on the order of about 50 MPG City, would be just as quick or quicker than a Honda HR-V, and has a style and shape that is now popular.

Toyota could take the Prius line entirely hybrid/electric with plug-ins of varying ranges to satisfy the need for a zero-emissions vehicle that earns government blessings and consumer HOV lane access. With a new focus on the hybrid RAV4 and smaller C-HR hybrid, Toyota could continue to outsell the entire battery-electric marketplace with hybrids, while possibly becoming the top-selling electrified car in America with its Prius Plug-in hybrid line.

Related: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Tops Bolt, Tesla Model S, Leaf, Volt, i3 In Efficiency