What’s new for the 2023 Toyota Crown?
The 2023 Toyota Crown is new for the U.S., and redesigned for its Japanese home market where it’s been available as a premium sedan for decades.
The Crown’s body cuts a fastback sedan shape, but the cladding around the wheel cutouts and lower body adds a few SUV-like cues. There’s nothing trail-ready about it; in height and ground clearance, it’s strictly a car. The design is almost elegant from the well sculpted sides, though a bit off-putting due to the tall roof.
The nose, however, features a wide grille inspired by the Toyota Venza’s face but with something of an overbite. Coincidentally, the new Crown appears as a raised sedan—due to a seating position that sits four inches higher than the Camry’s and a roofline to match—just as the first Venza presented as a raised wagon. The top model will be offered with two-tone paint.
Inside, the Crown has an upscale look, much like the Avalon it replaces. For a serene environment, every Crown has acoustic glass and a sound absorbing pad between the engine and cabin, and engineers worked to block sound paths around the door frames, window openings, wiring harnesses, and other areas.
The Crown marks the debut of two hybrid systems for Toyota, the most notable of which is the new Hybrid Max system that balances power and fuel economy in the top model. It’s comprised of a 2.4-liter turbo-4 and front and rear motors to produce 340 hp and provide on-demand all-wheel drive that can vary torque between a 70/30 front bias and a 20/80 rear bias.
It feeds the power through a 6-speed direct-shift transmission that can be shifted manually via steering wheel paddles. Toyota estimates 28 mpg combined with this powertrain and a 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds.
The Crown’s two other grades get the next generation Toyota Hybrid System (THS). It teams a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with front and rear motors to provide 236 hp, all-wheel drive, and a company-estimated 38 mpg combined. In this application, torque distribution can vary between 100/0 and 20/80 front to rear.
Cars equipped with THS have Eco, Normal, Sport, and EV driving modes, the last of which allows for short periods of low-speed electric driving. Crowns with the Hybrid Max powertrain lose the EV mode, but gain Sport+, Comfort, and Custom modes.
Built on the Toyota New Global Architecture K (TNGA-K) that it shares with cars and crossovers, the Crown features a MacPherson strut front suspension, a multi-link rear independent suspension.
How much does the 2023 Toyota Crown cost?
The Crown will be offered in XLE, Limited, and Platinum trims. Prices have yet to be announced, but we know that the XLE comes standard with 8-way power front seats, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with over-the-air-update capability, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, wireless smartphone charging, USB-A and USB-C ports, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
The XLE model has cloth and synthetic suede upholstery, while the Limited and Platinum features leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, an 11-speaker JBL audio system, and 19-inch wheels. The Platinum also gets cooled front seats, a surround-view camera system, a digital key, adaptive dampers, and 21-inch wheels. An Advanced Tech package makes 21s available for the Limited as well.
Toyota loads up the Crown with standard safety features, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cross-traffic detection, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, automatic high beams, road sign recognition, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and a rear-seat reminder system. The Platinum also has automatic parking.
Toyota has not yet announced pricing or full specifications, and has only said it will arrive late this year. Look for more information closer to launch.
What kind of vehicle is the 2023 Toyota Crown? What does it compare to?
Toyota is sunsetting one premium full-size sedan only to introduce another, this one with crossover influences and a pair of hybrid powertrains. It competes with the likes of the Subaru Legacy, Nissan Maxima, Dodge Charger, and Volvo V90.
Enough About The Sedan-UV Stuff, What Is A Crown?
The Crown nameplate is not new. In fact, it adorned the first Toyotas sold here in America back in the 1950s, before fading from this market in the early ’70s. All in all, it’s been through 15 generations overseas, where it has long been attached to premium Toyota sedans.
More recently, Toyota added an SUV version based on what we know as the Highlander, and it’s expected that the Crown family in Japan will grow to include more body styles soon. Consider the Crown name appropriate, then, for this up-market four-door, which, yes, essentially fills in for the now-dead Avalon in Toyota’s U.S. lineup.
To further differentiate the Crown from mere cars—or similarly sized offerings such as Nissan’s Maxima or Dodge’s Charger—all-wheel drive is standard. So is hybrid power. On the entry-level Crown XLE and midlevel Crown Limited, that hybrid power is delivered by the latest version of Toyota’s 2.5-liter-four-cylinder-based gas-electric combination, similar to what you’d find in the RAV4 Hybrid crossover.
Final power figures are forthcoming, but look for something in the neighborhood of 236 hp between the dual front electric motors and gas engine and the separate (third) electric motor that independently powers the rear axle. Toyota expects this combination will deliver up to 38 mpg combined.
Step up to the range-topping Crown Platinum, and Toyota swaps in a hybrid powertrain geared toward sportiness over efficiency. In goes a new 2.4-liter turbo four-cylinder and six-speed automatic transmission combo with an electric motor standing in for the torque converter, plus a larger rear-axle motor.
This layout mimics that on the new-generation Lexus RX’s 500h F Sport trim, although instead of 367 hp it delivers 340, along with some 400-lb-ft of torque. The Platinum also has a Sport+ drive mode—XLE and Limited models top out at “Sport”—and paddle shifters for its automatic transmission.
(The XLE and Limited, like other Toyota hybrids, have a planetary-type continuously variable automatic transmission tuned for smoothness.) Fuel economy drops to a combined 28 mpg, perhaps a worthy tradeoff for the huge power.
Toyota says the Crown generally and the Platinum specifically are tuned for sportiness, although both also prioritize quiet operation and comfort with standard acoustic front glass and a thick noise-absorbing mat lining the firewall. If those sound like disparate and conflicting goals, well, consider them on-brand: You’re talking about a vehicle that can’t figure out if it’s an SUV or a car. Internal strife seems to be its thing.
Swoop, There It Is
The Crown itself is big. Think Avalon big. It is 194 inches long, 72.4 inches wide, 60.6 inches tall, and its wheelbase stretches 112.2 inches. Those dimensions are all just a hair smaller than those of the Avalon, save for the height, which is taller. (Toyota says the Crown sits 4 inches higher off the deck than a regular sedan, which we take to mean the Avalon.) The rear seat area is commodious, and even the Crown XLE rides on 19-inch wheels.
In a Toyota first, the Platinum wears standard 21-inch rollers. Toyota also will offer a two-tone paint option on the Platinum only, which slathers the hood, roof, and decklid in black paint, in case the whole lifted-giant-sedan look weren’t bold enough for you. Underneath, its platform isn’t shared with other Toyotas; instead, its TNGA-K bones are closer to those of the new Lexus RX crossover.
Without poking further fun at the Crown’s oddball format, it has some presence in person. The shape is very sleek for a Toyota sedan—er, thing—and while the detailing is a bit strange, it’s not an incohesive design.
There is a full-width, thin taillight, along with slim headlights. A contrasting color panel on the lower door area breaks up the otherwise slab sides, and the mouthy grille is distinctive. Of course, nearly 100 percent of that mouth is not actually open; only a thin section below and nostrils on either side of a central front crash sensor are perforated to allow air into the nose.
Every Crown is loaded with glamorous tech, including a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen running Toyota’s latest Audio Multimedia software. This easier-to-use, snappier-looking interface first appeared on the 2022 Tundra pickup and is rapidly proliferating throughout Toyota’s lineup.
A thin row of climate control buttons live beneath this screen, as does a central volume knob. While XLE versions get a six-speaker audio system, Limited and Platinum models upgrade to an 11-speaker JBL setup.
Other niceties include standard heated front seats (ventilated and heated up front and heated in back on Limited and up); Toyota’s SofTex faux leather (Limited and up get real leather); and Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS) active safety features including blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist.
Limited and up also get full-LED headlights, parking sensors, and rain-sensing wipers. For the Platinum, Toyota also fits an electronically adaptive suspension, which can firm up or soften depending on which drive mode is selected.
We poked around the interior of the new Crown and felt it was premium, but not quite Lexus-level. There are some mainstream-feeling plastics on the door panels and center console, but the overall look is definitely more upmarket than you’ll find on any other Toyota. One glaring issue we found has nothing to do with quality, but practicality.
For as large as the cabin is, the trunk—yes, there’s a trunk, not a hatch like the fastback roof suggests—feels Corolla-sized at best, and with an odd opening and only a small pass-through to the cabin with the rear seats folded.
Whether this combination of supposedly sporty (or at least powerful) hybrid-ness and tall sedan-ness is something buyers are looking for remains to be seen. What we can say is that Toyota’s conviction to do something for full-size sedans is as admirably human as it is abnormal.
The logical thing for an automaker watching shoppers abandon one vehicle segment it no longer serves for another it has more than covered would be to step out of their way. To do nothing but hold up a big sign for the RAV4, Highlander, or Sequoia. Instead, the Crown will arrive in dealerships this fall.
Where is the 2023 Toyota Crown made?