When Toyota axed the Avalon sedan a short while back, we were curious to see what the company had in store to fill the void that the aging four-door sedan left behind. The Japanese auto giant answered that question with the 2023 Crown, which not only aims to fill the shoes left by the Avalon but also create a new model sub-family within Toyota’s vehicle lineup too.
Toyota Pulls Automotive Swerve, Confirms Full Crown Family
If you managed to stay up and catch Toyota of Japan’s late-night live stream reveal of the Crown (we sure did), you would’ve seen that Toyota successfully pull off a very impressive surprise. Going into the unveiling, we assumed that only one Crown would appear, but as it turns out, it will be part of a multi-offering family. The traditional sedan version will still be offered, but it will now be joined by three utility-focused cousins.
As for U.S. buyers, the only Crown model that we will get (for now) is the elevated sedan seen here. Toyota claims that it’s supposed to be a mid-sized CUV but look at the wrapper for what it truly is, and it’s obvious that Toyota elected not to stray too far from the basic sedan shape. Last seen on our shores in 1972 (Lexus badged GS variants excluded), the 16th iteration of the Crown boasts modern styling with a large front grille being flanked by slender lighting elements. The rear has a Venza-like lightbar and the liftgate on the sporty-looking model Toyota used for its images can be finished in a contrasting black hue. This Crown variant is also slightly shorter than the Avalon. The width and the wheelbase are also slightly shorter compared to the Avalon, but the hip point is where the CUV DNA bleeds through, with this model having four more inches of it to help provide occupants a very good view of the road.
Luxury That Doesn’t Cross Into Lexus Territory
When the Crown arrives in dealerships, Toyota will offer three models (XLE, Limited, and Platinum), with all three of these trims offering renewed amounts of luxury but without stepping into Lexus territory. The trims also offer a three-tier system for materials, with the XLE getting a nifty black weave material while the other two get Softex faux leather and real black leather accents. A pair of 12.3-inch screens are standard on all models. The latter comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, which will be a noticeable step up in tech from older Toyota infotainment systems.
That said, Toyota still has to protect Lexus, and as a result, the Crowns offered here in the U.S. will put a greater emphasis on improving driving dynamics, with the company revealing that it has put in considerable effort to reduce harshness, vibration, and noise. Part of this is seen in the acoustic glass as well as specific chassis and sound deadening techniques to help the structure resist these urges and reward buyers with comfort and quiet. All three trims come with standard dual-zone climate control and eight-way heated front seats though buyers looking to add cooling to the throne’s list of tricks will have to upgrade to either the Limited or Platinum models. These two models will also have heated rear seats to keep rear passengers cozy too.
Crown Sharpens Up Toyota’s Hybrid Game
Toyota representatives confirmed that they have no plans to offer an all-electric version of the Crown in the near future but did reveal that all Crown models will come with standard all-wheel drive and hybrid powerplants, with the base model producing 236 hp from its naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder. The Crown has the ability to drive on pure electric power, but like other Toyota hybrids, it’s only for short distances and at low speeds. The range-topping Platinum comes with the all-new Hybrid Max system, which enhances performance thanks to the 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, paired with a water-cooled motor to produce a combined 340 hp. A CVT is equipped to XLE and Limited Models, but Platnium versions ditch it for a six-speed automatic with a multi-plate wet clutch.
Fuel economy will also be a potent selling point for the Crown, with XLE and Limited models getting an estimated 38 mpg combined in mixed driving. The Platnium’s focus on improving overall performance also dings its efforts to dodge the pump slightly, with these models getting a lower 28 mpg in the same combined driving loop. It will be interesting to see if some of this performance will help the Crown stand out from the crowd. As it stands now, the Crown is straddling the line between mainstream and the near-luxury SUV segments, and the growing pool of competition (as well as the Crown’s long absence from our shores) could potentially cause it to blend into the proverbial crowd.)
When Will We See It?
Toyota revealed that the Crown would arrive in U.S. showrooms towards the end of the year though the company stopped short of revealing official pricing for all three trim levels. That said, with a base Avalon hybrid starting just north of $38,000, look for the Crown’s pricing ladder to start firmly in the $40,000 range with a fully loaded model surpassing the $50,000 barrier.
This Crown variant will also serve as a potential spearhead of a bigger Crown family though it remains to be seen if the family structure that we saw in Japan stays intact or not for other markets. We’re confident that the sedan will not make it to our shores (again, to protect Lexus), but the smaller CUV could potentially get the green light to come here since it would allow Toyota to fill a void for customers looking for a smaller utility that will still come with all the fitments that are expected from a model wearing the Crown name.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.