2023 Toyota Crown is part sedan, part SUV with 340hp hybrid power

After a half-century hiatus, Toyota’s oldest nameplate returns to North America this year. Making its debut Thursday, the new 2023 Toyota Crown is a very different vehicle from the sedan that has evolved over 15 generations in the company’s home country of Japan, and is literally head and shoulders above the rest of Toyota’s sedans with its larger, crossover-like proportions.

Lift-up proportions

The Crown’s footprint is slightly larger than the current Camry and slightly smaller than the Avalon, measuring 194 inches from bumper to bumper with a 112.2 inch wheelbase. With the Avalon gracefully bowing out of the lineup this year, that makes the Crown the automaker’s new flagship. However, the Crown’s 60.6-inch roofline makes it about 3.7 inches taller than the Camry, with very different proportions from anything we’ve seen before from Toyota’s designers. Representatives of the brand tell us that most of the Crown’s verticality comes from the “raised” proportions of its body, and not from a significantly increased ground clearance.

Raising the roof also allowed Crown designers to raise the seating position to a more crossover-like height, hopefully combining the familiar driving dynamics, silhouette and discreet trunk of a sedan with forward visibility, confidence and confidence. the easy entry and exit of a small SUV. But with so many of today’s SUVs already having very car-like handling, Toyota can split its hair over the perceived benefits of driving experience.

The Crown’s handling department is staffed by a MacPherson strut suspension in the front and a multi-link setup for the rear wheels with standard 19-inch wheels for lower ranks and optional 21-inchers for the Limited trim. The top-spec Platinum makes those 21s standard equipment and upgrades the suspension with standard adaptive dampers.

340 hp hybrid max

Two powertrain options are available to Crown buyers, and both are hybrids with electronic four-wheel drive as standard. The base configuration for XLE and Limited classes is the 2.5-liter Toyota Hybrid system, which combines the automaker’s bread-and-butter gas-electric hybrid setup on the front axle with a second electric motor on the rear axle for improved performance. demand all-wheel drive. This is very similar to the setup found in the current RAV4 Hybrid, but tweaks to the battery and other systems put the Crown’s power at 236 horsepower and estimated fuel consumption at around 38 mpg combined.

The best Platinum class has adaptive suspension and a more powerful Hybrid Max drivetrain, and can be supplied with two-tone paint.


Opting for the Platinum class also swaps the powertrain for the automaker’s new Hybrid Max system. This is an upgrade to a turbocharged 2.4-litre gas-electric hybrid system, with six-speed automatic transmission to the front axle and a water-cooled electric motor driving the rear axle for a more performance-oriented, full-time four-wheel drive. When everything works together, the Hybrid Max system peaks at 340 horsepower and, with an even right foot, delivers up to 28 combined mpg according to Toyota’s internal estimates.

The Crown is built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture K (TNGA-K), which also serves as the basis for the Camry, RAV4, Highlander and Sienna. This means the chances of seeing a Polestar 2 fighting, all-electric version of the tall sedan are minimal. This feels like a missed opportunity to bend the E-TNGA-specific electrical architecture used on the new BZ4X, but it’s likely that development on the Crown predates that platform.

Another missed opportunity is the lack of a plug-in hybrid version of the Crown. A bigger battery and a few tens of miles of EV range at the start of each day would be a little future-proof as governments push for all-electric vehicle fleets in the next decade. It would also help the Crown serve as a gateway for buyers unsure about plugging in as Toyota makes its own slow transition to electrification. Toyota won’t comment on future products, so who knows? There may be a Crown PHEV on the drawing board waiting for its debut.

The latest generation of Toyota’s Audio Multimedia technology comes standard with two 12.3-inch displays on the dashboard.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Connected Multimedia Technology

The Crown interior is home to Toyota’s latest generation of dashboard technology. Dual 12.3-inch screens are standard: one for the driver that serves as a user-customizable digital instrument panel and a second, central touchscreen that is home to Toyota’s Audio Multimedia infotainment software. We’ve seen this system before in the new tundra, where the built-in data connection provides wireless software updates, subscription-based remote services, managing multiple Toyota user profiles and connected destination searches. There is also the hotword recognition “Hey, Toyota”, which allows users to start searches with the sound of their voice.

Below the displays are physical controls for the climate systems (thanks for that!), a deep pocket for wireless phone charging and two USB Type-C ports for charging other passenger electronics. There are two more Type-C ports in the second row and a USB Type-A port is in the center console for media playback or standard Android Auto or Apple CarPlay connectivity.

The Crown combines the familiarity – and discreet trunk – of a large sedan with the seating position of a small SUV.


The Crown will also come standard with the automaker’s Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 driver aid suite. The pedestrian detection system now includes the recognition of motorcyclists and crash barriers. Meanwhile, the precollision system can now detect and brake automatically to avoid accidents when crossing an intersection. Radar adaptive cruise control and Lane Tracing Assist also claim upgrades for this generation. Low-speed safety is enhanced with a standard rear-view camera or a 360-degree camera system that is optional for limited quality and standard on platinum.

The 2023 Toyota Crown is an interesting exercise in class defying and mixing with its mix of sedan and crossover features, but it also feels oddly timed. It’s a sedan launching as new car buyers transition to SUVs and a hybrid hitting the road as the industry creeps to a tipping point for full electrification. We’ll have to wait to see how well buyers receive the Kroon when it goes on sale towards the end of this year. Pricing and final fuel economy are expected to be announced closer to that launch window.