Vintage Name returns to the United States
The Toyota Crown has been around since 1955 in Japan and was the first Toyota model exported to the United States in 1957, where it was sold until 1960. Sixty-three years later and in its 16th generation, the Crown returned to the United States. States as a crossover, or as Toyota calls it, an “uplifted sedan.” It is one of four Crown models in the range, including the Sport (hatchback), Sedan and Estate (Crossover/SUV). Own fleet report had the opportunity to be among the first to drive the all-new 2023 Crown crossover, reported here in this Flash Drive story. When we have the Crown for a week or more, we will post a review of the test drive.
The all-wheel-drive 2023 Crown comes with two hybrid engine choices. The base, in XLE and Unlimited versions, is simply called Hybrid. Its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder produces 184 horsepower (hp) and 163 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque driving all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The most powerful Hybrid Max, only available in the Platinum model, is a 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder developing 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. It has a 6-speed automatic transmission. Both hybrid systems have front and rear electric motors, with the Max having more power and torque; both run on 87 octane.
As indicated by the power, torque and transmissions, the Hybrid Max does 0-100 km/h runs in 5.7 seconds while the Hybrid clocks in at 7.6 seconds. During our time at Crown’s media launch program in Nashville, the difference between the two felt greater as the Hybrid Max has the makings of a sporty crossover, while the Hybrid will be more comfortable as a commuter and run errands in town.
Toyota’s hybrid system automatically switches between electric drive mode, combined electric motor and gasoline engine, and gasoline engine power only. Transitions undetectable and smooth have Crown Hybrid fuel economy rated at 42 mpg city/41 highway/41 combined, and the more powerful Hybrid Max at 29 city/32 highway/30 combined. The Hybrid Max’s improved performance is the reason for the huge drop in fuel efficiency, which will be an important consideration when deciding which crown wheel to buy. Do you need to go fast and fuel up, or go slower and ride farther? Perhaps the $12,400 price difference will also come into play.
Our time behind the wheel of the two hybrid systems clearly showed their differences and similarities. Their similarities are that each has regenerative braking, which converts kinetic energy into electrical energy and stores it in the nickel-metal-hydride battery. They also both have the same power front vented disc and the same solid rear disc brakes that worked well for the hybrid. Pushing the sportier Hybrid Max on the backcountry roads of Nashville, they could have been a bit louder and more responsive. This is where Toyota may have made the Hybrid Max, which they call their “all-new performance hybrid”, too powerful for its brakes.
The main difference in driving comes from the different transmissions. The CVT, the only transmission available in the XLE and Limited, felt sluggish. When under stress and demand, it buzzed noticeably. Pushed at full power, when going up a hill or passing another vehicle, it would stay in the last CVT band too long before starting after lifting the accelerator pedal. On the other hand, the Hybrid Max’s 6-speed automatic shifted perfectly and was fun to drive. So, back to that $12,400 premium for the Hybrid Max. Not only does it go faster, it does so by providing a much more enjoyable driving experience.
The Crown is a comfortable midsize crossover with a smooth ride. It was easy to drive on the highway, but city driving is where the two hybrid engines shine. The suspension of both was the same, with the exception of the Hybrid Max having slightly larger diameter front and rear sway bars. The electric power steering was direct, but a little light when cornering on country roads in the Platinum Hybrid Max. The 21-inch 225/45 tires on the Platinum were a welcome upgrade over the 19-inch 225/55 tires on the XLE and Limited, as anything that helps with grip is appreciated.
Toyota’s term for the 2023 Crown as a raised sedan is technically correct, as they say it has a “high ride height”. With a ground clearance of 5.8 inches, the Crown rides a bit taller than the Camry at 5.7 inches. So if you’re looking for a vehicle with a more imposing outlook on the road, the Crown has a higher ride height.
The Crown is an all-new design direction for Toyota, and one we love. Gone are the sharp edges and massive scoops and grilles replaced by an aerodynamic shape and flowing lines. We especially liked the nose and tail and how they used LED lighting for a clean look. The sloping roofline, which extends to the small spoiler on the trunk lid, is one of the features that give the Crown a unique silhouette.
All three trim levels have similar interiors, with the Platinum getting the most upgrades. The Limited shares leather seats with the Platinum while the XLE gets cloth seats with synthetic leather trim. The front seats were comfortable and had power adjustments. The 60/40 split rear seat comfortably accommodates three adults, two for long drives, and features a fold-down center armrest with cupholders.
All models get a 12.3-inch touchscreen for the 11-speaker JBL premium audio system on the Platinum and Limited, while the XLE gets a 6-speaker Toyota setup. All have Apple Car Play, Android Auto and SiriusXM, with wireless phone charging, and offer the ability to control Crown features with voice commands such as “Hey, Toyota!” The head-up display is not available.
The Crown is well equipped with active and passive safety features and comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0. This system includes adaptive cruise control with lane keeping assist, automatic forward braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, blind spot monitor with cross traffic alert and sonar and automatic high beams.
Prices and guarantees
The 2023 Toyota Crown is available in three trim levels, with those base prices including the mandatory $1,095 handling and handling fee.
Crown 2023 has these guarantees.
- Hybrid battery – 10 years/150,000 miles
- Powertrain – Five years / 60,000 miles
- Complete – Three years / 36,000 miles
- Maintenance Plan – Two Year/25,000 Miles
- Roadside Assistance – Two years/25,000 miles
- Corrosion Perforation – Five Years/Unlimited Mileage
Observations: 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE
The 2023 Crown is an all-new model for Toyota and America. The shape is unique in the market, which Toyota hopes will appeal to a wide range of potential buyers.
The only way to decide which hybrid power plant is right for your driving needs and lifestyle is to drive each model for more than a quick ride to the dealership. Tell the salesperson you want to go on the highway to test the acceleration on the ramp and a few corners to check the handling.
The 2023 Toyota Crown is a comfortable car with a quiet cabin and a large trunk that will accommodate your gear on a long, fuel-efficient road trip. Built in Japan, the Crown is an economical mid-size five-seat ‘high hatch’ that should cover your driving needs, whether that’s commuting, city errands or hitting the open road.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos of John Faulkner and Toyota.
Learn more about Toyota’s crossover lineup:
Road test: 2017 Toyota 4Runner
Flash Player: Toyota BZ4X Electric 2023
Road test: 2020 Toyota C-HR
New: New 2023 Toyota and Lexus Products
Road test: 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Road test: 2021 RAV4 Premium PHEV
Road test: 2019 Toyota RAV4
New: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Road test: 2021 Toyota Venza Hybrid
Own fleet report is loaned test vehicles from car manufacturers free of charge to evaluate, usually for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this week of driving a new vehicle. For this reason, we do not address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technologies. As part of these events, transport, accommodation or meals may be offered to us free of charge. We do our best to present our unvarnished ratings of vehicles and news regardless of these incentives.
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