Toyota has launched the C-HR in Japan, where the compact crossover will be available at all Toyota, Toyopet, Toyota Corolla and Nets dealerships. Toyota hopes to sell 6,000 units of the “Coupe-High Rider” per month in its homeland.

The C-HR is the second vehicle to sit on the modular Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform after the current Prius. However, Toyota is promising “responsive driving performance” courtesy of global testing and suspension tuning (front MacPherson struts, rear double wishbones) conducted on European roads. The platform is said to be 65% stiffer than Toyota’s previous C-segment base.

The big T even highlighted the C-HR’s participation and completion of the 44th 24 Hours of Nürburgring endurance race under Toyota Gazoo Racing in May to prop up the crossover’s credentials.

Two engines will be available in Japan, a downsized turbo engine and a hybrid powerplant. The 1.2L turbocharged four-pot is the 8NR-FTS with 115 PS and 185 Nm of torque. The JDM car is paired to a Super CVT-i transmission with a seven-speed “sequential shiftmatic” mode, and 4WD.

The hybrid option will prove popular in Japan, thanks to its 30.2 km/l fuel economy in the Japanese cycle (15.4 km/l for the 1.2L). The main actors are a 1.8 litre VVT-i Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine, a pair of electric motors and a CVT gearbox, the same combo powering the Prius. The hybrid is 2WD-only.

Toyota says that both the hybrid and 1.2L turbo versions have been certified with exhaust emission levels that are 75% lower than Japan’s “2005 Exhaust Emissions Standards” and both are enjoy tax breaks for environmentally-friendly vehicles. The Toyota Safety Sense P collision avoidance assist package is offered as standard across the board.

Also standard for all (S-T, G-T, S and G; T for turbo) are an electric parking brake, three-spoke leather steering wheel and keyless entry/push start. G and G-T cars get 18-inch wheels, LED front fog lamps, blind spot monitor, front and rear parking assist sonar, and fabric-leather combination seat covers. Prices in Japan start from 2,516,400 yen (RM97,359) for the 1.2L S-T to 2,905,200 yen (RM112,027) for the Hybrid G.

It’s been a long time since a production Toyota’s design captured the imagination of so many, and ASEAN will be eager to welcome the C-HR. In the meantime, early bird Honda is happily raking in the sales with the HR-V. Like what you see?