The jewel in Toyota’s global line-up – the legendary Toyota Crown sedan – has morphed into a range of models, three of which are considered SUVs.
Toyota has reimagined its second-oldest nameplate, the 2023 Toyota Crown luxury sedan, for the SUV era – but like the last 35 years of Crown models, it won’t come to Australia.
As its bejewelled name suggests, the Crown sits near the top of Toyota’s Japanese line-up, and has been sold in its home market as a four-door sedan since 1955 – making it Toyota’s second-oldest nameplate, behind LandCruiser (1954).
The 16th generation in the model’s history, the Crown has morphed from one to four body styles (pictured below): the traditional sedan (silver), plus a high-riding ’Crossover’ liftback, a smaller ’Sport’ SUV (red), and a larger ’Estate’ SUV (yellow).
Toyota Australia has not sold the Crown locally since 1988 – and that will remain the case, with the company confirming today it has “no plans” to offer any of the four versions here.
First to launch overseas will be the Crossover (below), in 40 global markets including the US (wearing Toyota badges, rather than the Crown logos used in Japan). With no technical details revealed for the other body styles, it’s the Crossover we’ll focus on in this story.
Underpinning the new Crown Crossover is the Toyota group’s TNGA-K platform, as used by cars from the popular Toyota RAV4 to the Lexus RX – making this the first front-wheel-drive-based Crown, rather than all 15 of its rear-drive predecessor.
It measures 4930mm long, 1840mm wide and 1540mm high, on a 2850mm wheelbase – 25mm longer and just as wide as a Toyota Camry in Australia, but a substantial 95mm taller.
The Crossover draws styling inspiration from a range of Toyota’s other models, with an X-design front bumper, BZ4X electric SUV-style LED headlights, flared rear haunches, and a full-width LED tail-light bar.
It’s available in a choice of seven main body colours, most of which are offered with black contrasting finishes for the bonnet and tailgate. The requisite matte black plastic wheel arches are standard, while 21-inch wheels can be specified.
Inside, the similarities to other Toyota cars continue, with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch central touchscreen on flagship grades, the latter offering wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and satellite navigation.
Cloth/leatherette combination and genuine leather upholstery are available, depending on the variant, trimming power-adjustable front seats with heating. There’s also a heated leather steering wheel.
Available interior features include an electric sunroof, colour head-up display, wireless phone charging, 10-speaker sound system, electric parking brake, digital rear-view mirror and dual-zone climate control.
A digital key – allowing drivers’ smartphones to unlock and start the car – is available. Japanese reports suggest there will be a rear-seat package, with split 40:20:40 power rear seats with heating, a tablet for individual control of radio/music, and electric window shades.
Powering the new Crown in Japan at launch will be a choice of two petrol-electric hybrid powertrains shared with the new Lexus RX, fitted with standard all-wheel drive.
Entry-level models mate a 2.5-litre non-turbo four-cylinder engine with electric motors for a combined output of 176kW, driving the wheels through a continuously-variable automatic transmission.
The flagship option swaps the 2.5-litre non-turbo engine with a 2.4-litre turbocharged engine, increasing combined outputs to 254kW, sent through a conventional six-speed automatic transmission.
Toyota’s latest advanced safety features are available, including a Toyota Teammate system in Japan enabling semi-autonomous driving in traffic jams at low speeds, plus automatic parking
Forward-facing autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, front and rear cross-traffic alert, low-speed rear AEB, a 360-degree camera, and a safe exit warning are all available.
The 2023 Toyota Crown Crossover is now available to order in Japan, priced from 4.35 to 6.35 million yen ($AU46,000 to $AU68,000) before options. The other three body styles will follow later.
The entry-level Crown ‘X’ costs about 10 per cent less than a top-spec Toyota Camry Hybrid. That translates to a theoretical Australian price of $43,000 plus on-road costs, rising to about $65,000 for a top-of-the-range model.
While this new Crown will be sold in the US for the first time, it won’t be offered in Australia – despite the popularity of Toyota hybrids locally, and the new-generation model’s more appealing SUV-inspired body style.
“Toyota Australia is continually studying the market for new opportunities to offer exciting new products to Australian customers. At this stage however, we have no plans to introduce the Crown model or any of its sub variants to the Australian market,” a Toyota spokesperson told Drive.
Toyota Australia has filed to trademark the new Crown’s revamped logo locally, however.