Raising an All-New Full-Size Sedan
At a time when American drivers are losing interest in sedans, Toyota is coming out with an all-new full-size sedan, but with a twist. The 2023 Toyota Crown, in Toyota-speak, is a “raised sedan” that offers a cross between a sedan and SUV, with a ride height falling between the two.
Those of a certain age will remember the Crown was the first car Toyota exported to the U.S., selling it in America from 1958 through 1972. It may have been gone from America for 50 years, but the Crown nameplate has remained a steady member of the Toyota line-up in Asia, used frequently as a luxury executive sedan.
Clean Fleet Report was in Austin, Texas, in mid-July 2022, for the press reveal of the 2023 Crown. We were able to crawl all over the Crown, but Toyota did not give us the keys. Since we did not get to do any driving, this review is a general introduction which we’ll follow up with details on how the Crown performs coming in the fall.
The 2023 Crown comes with either a standard hybrid or the Max hybrid powertrain with standard all-wheel drive (AWD). For efficiency, the XLE and Limited grades have the base 2.5-liter engine combined with the Toyota Hybrid System that produces 236 horsepower and returns 38 miles per gallon. The Crown Platinum gets the first-ever Toyota performance Max Hybrid, that uses the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that produces 340 horsepower, but delivers only 28 miles per gallon.
The Crown XLE and Limited get an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission, while the more powerful Max hybrid in the Crown Platinum has a 6-speed automatic transmission. The AWD system can distribute front-to-rear traction 70:30 to 20:80, and while not made for off-road driving, the AWD system and the electric power boost from the hybrid battery should make for some spirited and sure-footed driving. Again, we will get into the driving experience later in 2022.
The Max Hybrid has driver-selectable drive modes of Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Sport+ and Custom, with paddle shifters when you want to get a bit sportier. When selecting a drive mode, there are video game-like graphics on the center 12-inch instrument display for each drive mode.
Unique Exterior Design
The front end features a large closed grille that sports a hash-grid pattern, and narrow LED head and daytime driving lights that wrap onto front fenders. Thankfully Toyota designers limited the amount of cladding. The front and rear overhangs are short. The low profile roof, with a panoramic sunroof on the Limited and Platinum models, sweeps to the trunk, which has attractive LED tail lights connected by a light strip. The lights take-up little space, part of a modern design.
The all-new 2023 Crown is replacing the Avalon full-size sedan. The Crown is about two inches longer than a Camry and two inches shorter than the Avalon. The front heated seats, with 8-way power adjustments for the driver and passenger, are standard on all models. The rear seat, heated on the Limited and Platinum trims, holds three with ample shoulder, head and leg room. Taller passengers will need to dip their head a bit to clear the sweeping roofline. The seats are covered in Softex synthetic fabric on the XLE, and leather-trimmed on the Limited and Platinum.
The center console, which sits higher than most car’s, is solid all the way to the front so there is no space for a purse or bag. The dash design is clean and simple and has nice brushed aluminum trim.
The all-new multimedia system has a 12.3-inch touchscreen that houses navigation and SiriusXM/AM/FM radio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. USB A and C ports and wireless phone charging are standard. The system is void of buttons, which is Toyota’s way of having you get used to having things done by voice command. Just stay “Hey, Toyota!,” and then ask it to find a channel, adjust the volume, make a telephone call, get directions or many other directions. The cars at the Crown reveal event were pre-production, so we did not get to try the voice system. However, we have used it on other Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs and can say it works as designed.
Safety and Convenience
The 2023 Toyota Crown comes with active and passive advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), including multiple airbags and Toyota Safety Sense technology. This package includes range detection through millimeter wave radar and a monocular camera for a pre-collision system that includes low-light cyclist, daytime motorcyclist and guardrail detection.
Pricing and Availability
Pricing has not been released for the 2023 Crown, which is scheduled to be in dealers in late-2022.
Observations: 2023 Toyota Crown
The all-new 2023 Crown Hybrid is the next step for Toyota on its quest to have all vehicles come with some level of electrification. The Sienna and Venza are hybrid only; now the Crown will be introducing people to this efficient form of driving. Toyota says buyers of the Crown will not be as concerned with the fact it is a hybrid, but more-so that is has an unique design that melds a sedan and SUV. The Crown is being touted as a premium car which may butt into the space of Toyota’s luxury division, Lexus. Since pricing has not been released, we will need to wait and see where it lands.
The Crown sedan shown here is one of four Crown models (see below) available in Japan. Whether America sees one or all of the others remains to be seen. A couple are pretty sharp and, if they come with plug-in hybrid or EV technology, they could be game changers for Toyota.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Toyota.