As the first major show of the year, Tokyo Auto Salon (TAS) is typically a good indicator of what cars and trends will be most popular. No doubt we find some of our favorite cars you’ll see trickle into the magazine throughout the year, but TAS is also a good time for us to see what might be the next hot car the aftermarket embraces. For example, it was no mystery that the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ were the stars of the show several years back with nearly every other booth featuring a different example for enthusiasts to admire and get ideas from. Since then, there hasn’t been a new car that has created nearly as much buzz, but there have been some notable contenders. Last year, several companies developed parts for the fourth-generation ND Mazda MX-5 (branded as the Roadster in Japan). As for this year, if we had to take a guess, it would probably be the Toyota C-HR.
The C-HR was a concept debuted under the Scion brand in the US, hence the compact SUV’s younger appeal and more aggressive styling. The vehicle has since become an available production model for Toyota in markets like Japan and Europe. We won’t be getting the turbocharged 1.2-liter, the 1.8-liter hybrid, or the all-wheel drive models that the rest of the world sees, but we will get a 144hp, 139 lb.-ft. of torque, 2.0-liter front-wheel drive version. As far as styling is concerned, the North American model should be quite similar to the C-HR in Japan, so we’re hoping parts will carry over from the examples that we saw at TAS from Blitz, Modellista, and Kansai. Our two personal favorite C-HRs at TAS were Gazoo Racing’s 24-hour Nurburgring car, which finished the ‘16 endurance race, and also the slammed T-Demand version.
The C-HR is set to hit our local Toyota dealerships this spring and we should have driving impressions and more details on the U.S.-spec C-HR in March. Does it have what it takes to be the next hot car at this year’s SEMA show? Let us know your thoughts!