NEWS

2023 Toyota Crown: Royalty Returns to the U.S.

Competes with: Chrysler 300, Lexus ES, Volvo S90 Cross Country

Looks like: A lifted Avalon that’s inexplicably two-tone

Powertrains: 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid with continuously variable automatic transmission (XLE, Limited) or 323-system-horsepower, turbocharged 2.4-liter hybrid with six-speed automatic (Platinum); standard all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Fall

The Toyota Crown, last sold in the U.S. in the early 1970s, returns for the 2023 model year as a high-riding full-size sedan with standard all-wheel drive and a choice of two hybrid powertrains, including a performance-oriented Hybrid Max option for the range-topping Platinum that will produce a Toyota-estimated 340 net horsepower.

Related: Toyota Joins List of Automakers No Longer Eligible for Full EV Tax Credit

Available in XLE, Limited and Platinum trims, the Crown will be the new top dog in Toyota’s sedan lineup after the Avalon exits the brand’s lineup for 2023. The Crown is 4.1 inches taller than the outgoing Avalon, but slightly smaller in terms of length and width with a wheelbase that’s just under an inch shorter.

Exterior

Toyota describes the car’s ride height as “just below an SUV” and says it will improve visibility; a cynic might say turning a sedan into an SUV is currently the only way to satisfy the tastes of shoppers. Besides the lifted look — accomplished in part with what Toyota considers “large-diameter tires” and 19- or 21-inch wheels — the Crown’s overall aesthetic is that of a lifted, modernized Avalon. Its front styling shares elements with other Toyotas, including the Corolla and the new bZ4X electric SUV. At the sides, large sculpted accents run across the doors, and the sweeping roofline ends at the rear with a very Venza-like LED taillight design stretching across the back.

The most unique styling aspect — and possibly most controversial — is the Platinum’s available two-tone exterior paint option that paints the hood, roof and trunk black and offers a choice of four colors for the rest of the car. Whether this will appeal to the Avalon-buying demographic remains to be seen, but it’s worth noting that it is just an option.

Interior

Despite the Crown’s somewhat radical exterior, the interior is very traditional. Upholstery is SofTex leatherette and fabric (XLE) or leather (Limited, Platinum). It will come with a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and 12.3-inch touchscreen display regardless of trim level, with a row of physical controls situated below the latter. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and the system will be kept current via over-the-air updates. The display responds to voice commands, too. Wireless device charging is also standard and located in a cubby ahead of the gear selector. Dual-zone climate control and eight-way power adjustable heated front seats round out the standard features.

Toyota claims to have prioritized a quiet cabin, with everything from the suspension tuning to the wheel and tire construction meant to reduce the amount of cabin noise. It also has a number of noise-reducing materials and design elements, including acoustic glass. For those who prefer it loud, however, audiophiles can choose between a six-speaker stereo (XLE) and a premium 11-speaker JBL unit (Limited, Platinum).

Powertrain

Buyers will have a choice of two hybrid powertrains: The XLE and Limited will get a hybrid system that includes a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a new nickel-metal-hydride battery. Toyota says it’s targeting a 38 mpg EPA rating but has not yet provided power figures (similar applications in other Toyota hybrids produce horsepower ratings around 200-240). This powertrain is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. For a potentially more thrilling experience, opt for the Platinum, which uses a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder as part of its hybrid powertrain (dubbed “Hybrid Max”) and will make a Toyota-estimated 340 hp net. The Platinum swaps out the CVT for a six-speed automatic, too. Fuel economy for this powertrain is estimated at 28 mpg combined, which suggests it really will be a performance-oriented choice.

The Crown will use two different AWD systems depending on powertrain. The XLE and Limited will use Toyota’s E-Four AWD system, which divides power between the front and rear wheels from 100:0 to 20:80. Continuing its performance-oriented trend, the Platinum’s new E-Four Advanced AWD provides more instant torque to the rear axle via its “e-Axle” electric motor, and the power distribution varies from front to rear from 70:30 to 20:80; unlike in the XLE and Limited, the Platinum will always have some power sent to the rear wheels.

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Safety

All Crowns will come with the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 suite of advanced driver assistance technologies, including forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection and intersection intervention, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist and lane-centering steering, and automatic high beams. Blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert is also standard.

The Limited is available with a 360-degree camera system, which comes standard on the Platinum. A parking assist system for hands-free parallel and perpendicular parking is also standard on the Platinum.

Pricing and Release Date

Toyota says the Crown will go on sale in the fall, with pricing and additional details coming closer to its on-sale date.

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