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The Toyota Small SU EV prototype has been spotted at Toyota's European design center.
The Small SU EV is one of the numerous concept cars Toyota and Lexus unveiled in December 2021, previewing a range of future EV production vehicles. A good year later, the same vehicle appears on European roads in prototype guise and with only slight changes, making us believe it could be a production-ready design.
The vehicle has a different lower bumper intake sporting a honeycomb pattern and integrating fog lights. This is different from the concept’s aluminum-style insert with small openings, although the rest of the design looks virtually identical.
Sticking a larger intake on the grille-less face of an EV doesn’t make sense, so it could hint at the presence of a combustion engine under the hood, as part of an electrified powertrain. We don’t see any visible exhaust tips, however, this is a common trend among electrified models.
The model could sit on Toyota’s upcoming E3 architecture which will combine elements from the GA-C (Corolla, C-HR, etc) and the eTNGA (bZ4x), making it compatible with plug-in hybrid powertrains. This platform will reportedly underpin the next generations of the C-HR that is rumored for 2023, as well as the next Prius.
The Small SU EV concept does bear similarities to the bold design language of the C-HR, so we can’t rule out the possibility of this prototype becoming the successor of the C-HR. However, the slightly larger bZ Compact SUV concept looks like a more fitting replacement to the C-HR, sharing even more styling cues like the sculpted profile.
Currently, the only model in Toyota’s SUV range that sits below the C-HR is the Yaris Cross, which is offered in both ICE-powered and hybrid form. Could the production version of the Small SU EV slot between the Yaris Cross and the C-HR as a different model? The main differentiation points could be the sportier styling with a coupe-style rear end and of course the rumored PHEV powertrain.