Two powertrains will be available when the Crown debuts. The one that most reports will be excited about is called Hybrid Max—we’ll get to that one in a bit.
Most versions of the Crown will likely come with the newest version of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain (they call it Toyota Hybrid System, or THS), which pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors, an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT), and a newly developed nickel-metal hydride battery. The XLE and Limited trims use an all-wheel-drive system, called E-Four AWD, that sends 100 percent of available power to the front wheels in normal driving or cruising situations. When needed, it can vary power between the front and rear wheels all the way up to 80 percent of the current drive torque to the rear. Toyota estimates that this powertrain will get 38 mpg combined in the EPA testing cycle.
The Hybrid Max powertrain, which only comes on the top-level Platinum trim, produces 340 net horsepower from a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an electric drive. This is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and driving two electric motors. Toyota claims that it will get 28 mpg combined on the EPA cycle.
The front motor is part of an assembly attached to the engine, along with the generator and power control unit. In the rear, the electric motor sits on the axle. The automaker says that this “performance hybrid” system will always be sending power to all four wheels, in a split that varies between 70 percent front and 30 percent rear to 20 percent to the front wheels and 80 percent to the rear wheels.
This latter, performance-oriented powertrain, gets six selectable drive modes. In addition to the Normal, Eco, and Sport modes (which are also on the regular Crown) the Max gets a Sport+ mode that is claimed to enhance steering and cornering response, a Comfort mode that is supposed to “emphasize passenger comfort,” and a Custom mode that lets the driver choose which aspect of the various modes they like best. The Platinum trim also gets an adaptive suspension.
We’ll see how—and if—these systems have any impact on driving the Crown when we are able to get our hands on them. There is no mention of a plug-in hybrid version, unlike the Lexus RX, or a fully electric version.