- The new Toyota Crown arrives for the 2023 model year with two hybrid powertrain options, standard all-wheel drive, lots of modern tech, and an unorthodox lifted-sedan bodystyle.
- The base powertrain is a 236-horsepower hybrid setup, while the Platinum trim comes with a 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-four and two electric motors, good for 340 hp.
- The Platinum also features an 11-speaker JBL sound system, heated and ventilated leather-trimmed front seats, and a snazzy two-tone paint option.
If you’re not quite sure how to classify the 2023 Toyota Crown, don’t worry. Toyota isn’t either. The teaser video asked “Sedan or SUV?” while the press release refers to it as a “premium sedan” with a “higher ride-height design.” We’re inclined to call it a “sport utility sedan,” with the Crown’s look bringing to mind the Subaru Legacy SUS of the late ’90s and the Volvo S60 Cross Country. Whatever the Crown may be, it’s effectively the replacement for the Avalon, which bows out after 2022, and it trades the Avalon’s staid demeanor for a flashy new design, two hybrid powertrain options, and standard all-wheel-drive.
Hybrid Horsepower and MPG
The 2023 Crown debuts with three trim levels. Powering the XLE and Limited is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with three electric motors powered by a new nickel-metal-hydride battery pack. This is Toyota’s familiar hybrid setup, with two motors and the internal-combustion engine joined together via a planetary gearset that allows for continuously variable ratio adjustment as it sends power to the front wheels. Plus, there’s a third electric motor that motivates the rear wheels, giving the Crown all-wheel drive.
Toyota claims this setup produces 236 horsepower and will achieve a combined 38 mpg. This hybrid system also has an EV mode that permits electric-only driving over short distances at low speeds.
Upgrading to the Platinum trim brings what Toyota dubs “Hybrid Max,” a new hybrid system with a 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-four hybrid powertrain mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, with a wet multi-plate clutch sandwiched between the engine and the gearbox, taking the place of a standard torque converter (like Mercedes-AMG does). An electric motor adds extra horsepower and torque and increases the responsiveness of the powertrain. Like the base hybrid system, another electric motor sits on the rear axle, although it is water-cooled and more powerful than the motor in the XLE and Limited.
Toyota claims that the Hybrid Max setup makes 340 horsepower, with peak torque from the gas engine arriving between 2000 and 3000 rpm. While the base hybrid operates in front-wheel drive in certain conditions, the Platinum is always in all-wheel-drive mode, sending up to 70 percent of the Crown’s power to the front wheels or up to 80 percent to the rear wheels. Fuel economy takes a hit compared with the XLE and Limited, however, with Toyota estimating a combined 28 mpg.
The Platinum also gets adaptive dampers, and all Crowns have a strut front suspension and a multilink rear suspension. The Crown is also fitted with Active Cornering Assist, which uses the stability control to minimize understeer in corners. The XLE rides on 19-inch alloy wheels, while the Platinum receives 21-inch 10-spoke wheels with black accents.
Inside, the Crown has a sleek and simple design. The dashboard is dominated by a 12.3-inch touchscreen and a digital gauge cluster. Thankfully, there is a row of physical buttons beneath the screen to operate the standard dual-zone climate control. The Crown comes with a wireless charging pad and plenty of USB ports, including two USB-C outlets for the rear passengers. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported, and a subscription service for Wi-Fi can provide up to five devices with a 4G connection.
The Crown XLE comes standard with eight-way power heated front seats wrapped in a mixture of synthetic leather and fabric. Stepping up to the Limited or Platinum adds ventilated leather seats up front and heated seats for the rear passengers. The Limited and Platinum also upgrade to an 11-speaker JBL sound system. While the interior on the XLE comes exclusively in black, the Limited can also be specced in black and chestnut or macadamia. In our brief time with a Crown Platinum, we found it comfortable and fairly roomy, but were surprised by the amount of hard plastics in the interior. Toyota also talks up the Crown’s quiet cabin, with acoustic glass and sound-proofing material throughout the vehicle, and when we sat in the car we could scarcely hear the music that was blasting in the studio.
The Platinum and Limited trims also add other goodies such as a panoramic sunroof, LED interior accent lighting, LED headlights, and rain-sensing wipers. A bird’s eye view camera also comes on the Platinum, and can be optioned on the Limited as part of the Advanced Tech package. This add-on also includes a digital key and dark metallic 21-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels. The Platinum can also be decked out in a two-tone paint job, with black paint on the hood and trunk.
All Crowns feature Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and more. The Platinum trim comes standard with the Advanced Park system, which will park the Crown without the driver needing to touch the wheel or pedals.
The Crown will reach dealerships this fall, with pricing to be revealed closer to the on-sale date. We expect the XLE to start in the low $40,000 range, with the Platinum pushing $50,000, although Toyota did say that the Crown is targeting a more affluent buyer than its predecessor, the Avalon, did.
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