(By Tom Lohnes) – The Toyota Crown is a name most Americans do not remember, because it was Toyota’s flagship model back in the mid-to-late 70’s when Toyota really wasn’t what they are today. It was a cool enough car, with scaled-down land yacht styling and great fuel economy, but as you can tell it never really caught on. Since then, we have still gotten the Crown intermittently, with models being imported and sold under the name Cressida, or more recently, our dearly departed third-gen Lexus GS. Either way, it is back now, and it once again returns to America.
As you can see, this flagship sedan is a tad bit different than the one that last left our shores in 1977. Meant to replace the Avalon, the 2023 crown is an electrified, lifted, family sedan that has three more versions coming later on. Looking like a Corolla that just survived the apocalypse, the new Crown is a new take on a family vehicle, which is refreshing to see in the sea of CUVs we have today.
In America, the Crown will have three trim levels on the initial lifted sedan model. The XLE, Limited, and Platinum all have hybrid powertrains, but one of them is significantly better than the other. In the XLE, the only powertrain option is a 2.5-liter atmospheric 4-cylinder at the front with an electric motor at the rear, creating an impromptu AWD system. This base powertrain makes a healthy 265 horsepower, and a CVT is sadly the only transmission option. If you go up one more trim level to the Limited, things get interesting. For a few extra thousand dollars, you can elect to have your new Crown with an all-new “Hybrid MAX” powertrain. This basically consists of the same setup as the base model, but with a 2.4L turbocharged 4-pot in the place of the sluggish N/A one. This is good for 340 horsepower, which you would most definitely not expect out of something that looks like this.
Inside the Crown, you will find a new generation of Toyota interior, with an all-new digital gauge cluster, the newest generation of Toyota’s infotainment suite, and an overall nice look for something coming from the official company of an Enterprise lot. This sedan also gives the high seating position desired by many crossover buyers, and the oddly styled rear end opens up in a clamshell style to reveal a very practical cargo area. SUV who?
If you want a real SUV styled like the crown, Toyota will gladly sell you one. Two, of them actually, although one claims to be a wagon. Also, if you don’t like the lift kit and cladding on the sedan model, there is a far sleeker version coming to our shores along with the other three versions. In a few years, there should be fully electric versions of all of them too, if you’re into that.
It is very nice to see an original vehicle be released, and it really is a rarity in today’s market. I cannot wait to see what the aftermarket looks like on these things, because a crown on a trail would definitely be a sight for sore eyes. Expect more info about pricing to be released early next year.
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