The Toyota Crown is finally back in the U.S, but it now resembles an SUV or crossover more than the stately sedan we once knew and loved. Now that it’s celebrating 15 prior generations, the 2023 Toyota Crown has debuted a major redesign combining a sedan and crossover, and throwing in some performance for good measure. That scattershot approach has produced a crossover Crown hybrid with a turbocharged inline-four cylinder engine and two electric motors making 340 horsepower. There’s a lot going on here, but is it too much?
Toyota says its redesign of the Crown is “reimagining the full-size sedan,” and the carmaker insists the Crown is, indeed, still a sedan. Yeah, OK, Toyota. The new Crown is based on the TNGA-K platform — same as the Avalon, Camry and Highlander. The all-new Crown is almost four inches taller than the Camry, and its wheelbase is just over one inch longer. That gives the Crown its crossover ride height, while leaving its sedan driving comfort intact, according to Toyota.
The new Crown is, really, not that much different from cars like the BMW X4 or the Honda Crosstour. It seems like the Toyota Crown is trying to be all things to all people; this could be the idea behind the new model, because Toyota is making two different drivetrains for it: one is fast, and the other, less fast.
The top model is the 2023 Toyota Crown Platinum with the exclusive, new Hybrid MAX. It’ll have a 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-four cylinder engine tuned to reach peak torque at 2-3,000rpm. The Platinum also adds two electric motors — one at each axle — and comes with AWD that keeps the distribution of power sent to front and rear wheels between 70:30 and 20:80.
The Hybrid MAX configuration will make an estimated 340 horsepower, and propel the Crown Platinum from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds. And yet, the Hybrid MAX will get 28 miles per gallon combined city and highway driving. Two-tone paint is only for the Crown Platinum, and it also comes with standard 21-inch wheels.
The other drivetrain will be available in XLE and Limited trims. It’s the latest version of the Toyota Hybrid System, and comes with a 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine; it also has two electric motors. These Crown models still come with AWD, but will makes less power and have less-advanced AWD keeping the distribution to front and rear wheels between 100:0 and 20:80.
The less sporty XLE and Limited Crowns get 38mpg combined city and highway driving. They’ll have 19-inch wheels, and a simpler paint color. No two-tone.
The last time the Crown was sold in the U.S. was 1972, but it’s one of Toyota’s most long-lasting extant models. It was Toyota’s first mass-produced passenger car, having debuted in 1955. And it was the first Toyota brought to the U.S., back in 1958. It makes sense a redesign would turn the premium sedan into a nearly unrecognizable vehicle in 2022 — some 67 years later. This Crown could appeal to buyers in the U.S., China and Japan, many of whom want bigger cars.
The new model bears little — or no — resemblance to the Crowns that ferried diplomats and state dignitaries for decades. But even icons must change to stay relevant. The Toyota Crown isn’t the same, but still might be a kingly car. If I’m honest, it’s a handsome design in person. It’s just not identifiable as a Crown; that may take time. No prices have been announced yet. We’ll have to wait until the car comes out later this year, in the fall of 2022, to know what it’ll cost.