When we initially set out to build the brand new Toyota C-HR, we had two goals in mind.

Goal #1 Help bring an early production car to aftermarket companies so that they can get a jump on prototyping parts for the public.

Goal #2 Work with QUALITY partners to ensure proper brands get the exposure they deserve.

The late 90’s and early 2000’s no doubt were the golden years of the sport compact scene.  Aftermarket parts manufacturers such as Blitz, HKS, Greddy and A’PEXi were household JDM name brands visible on race cars and at show cars all over the country.  After the economy crashed in the mid 2000’s, enthusiasts slowly stopped modding and some of the once dominant brands had to shut down their U.S. operations.  A’PEXi was one of the few brands to stay in the states and tough it out! A’PEXi will be a major marketing partner on the #ProjectCHR build providing suspension and multiple performance parts.  Below are some throwback photos of the brand during the peak of their motorsport days.

Turbo Magazine is another relic from the past, A’PEXi’s R33 GTR graced the covers in full race trim.

Hailing from Japan, A’PEXi was even involved with the Super GT race series collaborating with ARTA to build and race the Toyota MRS.

We recently headed to A’PEXi’s USA headquarters to install their Smart Accel Controller.  Most modern Toyota’s are now drive by wire.  Older cars had a cable that literally was pulled when you stepped on the gas pedal which in turn, opened your throttle body allowing your engine to rev/accelerate.  Drive by wire cars replace this cable system and there are now two sensors, one by the pedal and one by the throttle.  When you step on the gas, the pedal sensor “senses” the position of the pedal and sends an electronic signal to the throttle sensor, which then opens the throttle.  While efficient, there can sometimes be a lag in acceleration as it takes time for the sensors to send the signals.  A’PEXi’s Smart Accel Controller sends the signal faster, allowing for faster throttle response.  The part technically doesn’t give you “more” power, but it allows power to be delivered faster on demand.

The unit is so popular with Lexus and Toyota owners that A’PEXi is often sold out even with increased production.

Jun of A’PEXi USA helping install the controller – the first C-HR in the country to rock one!

The controller itself is small and fits conveniently in the stock spare auxiliary port.

The verdict?  Off the line, the C-HR can be a bit sluggish.  Lower horsepower output combined with a CVT transmission leaves for this to be expected.  However, the Smart Accel Controller definitely helps power come on about a second sooner than standard.  The real noticeable change is when the car is at speed.  Power is delivered much quicker on highways, allowing for easier lane changes and fun exiting corners.  Special shout out to the crew at A’PEXi, Masaki, Chuck and Jun for the quick and easy install.