Road Test Review – 2023 Toyota Crown Limited – Is It’s Luxury Indeed Fit For A King?

It has been a few decades since Toyota brought the Crown nameplate to our shores. The Crown was originally offered here in the U.S. market from 1958 to 1972 before it was replaced by the Corona. The Crown morphed into a Japanese-exclusive offering at that point which was supposed to offer well-heeled buyers a step up in Toyota luxury with the U.S. getting the Lexus luxury brand as a consolation prize. The Crown returned to the U.S. in 2022 and this time, Toyota is using it as a distinctive sub-brand. But is it enough to lure in buyers and Avalon loyalists?


Polishing The Royal Jewels With Crown Themed Style

The exterior styling of the outgoing Toyota Avalon was not aging gracefully before it was axed and from some angles, it looked like a bad throwback to a 1980’s Buick your Grandpa drove. The Crown attempts to fix this by adopting new styling that not only flaunts its size but also adds some futuristic elements to the formula with the large front grille being accented by squinty LED headlights and a small bar that wraps around the entire front fascia unifying the lights in the process. Our red-hued Limited tester had an interesting two-tone red/black color combination that helped it look bolder than most entries.

The rear styling looks like a blob of melted ice cream but Toyota stylists chose to adopt a simplistic motif with a slender rear lightbar being mounted above the large “Crown” font script. The Platinium trim gets more chrome accents but the Limited grade tester we had was still elegant and composed from a wide variety of angles. The Crown’s exterior styling also shines a light on the fact that Toyota is attempting to blur segment boundaries with the platform and the raised ride height potentially luring in some CUV buyers even though the Crown is still a formal large sedan (The Crown Signia SUV is coming later.)


Premium Luxury Without The Lexus Badge

Slip inside the Crown and you’ll discover a cabin that feels modern and premium. While it will not make designers at Lexus lose sleep anytime soon, it’s a noticeable step up over what you might see in other Toyota models. The driving position is raised when compared to the Avalon with the Crown feeling like a compact CUV. Eight-way power-operated heated front seats are standard along with dual-zone climate control and ambient interior lighting.

Limited and Platinum models add a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, and ventilated seating to the mix and they all work together to make front seat comfort very good for occupants especially on long road trips. Unfortunately, the large sunroof requires a price to be paid and that’s evident when you get in the rear seats. While the rear seats themselves are very comfortable and even feature rear heat capability, the sunroof eats into headroom for taller passengers and that causes their heads to come right up to the ceiling (we even managed to hit our noggin on the rear portion of the roof assembly a few times during its stay with us.) Trunk space here is very impressive with our tester easily swallowing several bulky pieces of luggage as well as a full load of groceries.

A 12.3-inch infotainment system is standard across the entire trim ladder and it benefits from improved software that bundles in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities with both of them being able to be connected to the Crown wirelessly. A matching 12.3-inch screen houses the digital instrument cluster. The base Crown gets a six-speaker audio system but Limited and Platinum models get a beefier 11-speaker JBL Premium audio system. While we have enjoyed other JBL systems in the past, we found that the system here in the Crown didn’t cut the mustard when it came to certain sounds with the high notes sounding a bit off when listening to certain types of music.


Crown Goes Hybrid Only In Quest For Maximum Fuel Economy

Performance for the 2023 Toyota Crown lineup comes from a pair of hybrid powertrains with trim level playing a prominent role in what engine buyers will get. If you go for the range-topping Platinum model, Toyota’s “Hybrid Max” system makes an appearance with the turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder being paired with an electric motor that produces a combined system output of 340 horsepower. Our Limited tester arrived with the less powerful option which uses a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder that’s paired with three electric motors to produce 236-hp.

This engine did a good job delivering smooth performance but buyers looking for more gutsy driving behavior will not find it here and are instead directed towards the Platinum’s “Hybrid Max” engine. The 2.5-liter is a smooth engine in its own right but it does not like being rushed with the engine delivering lethargic acceleration and lukewarm passing behavior out on the freeway. A CVT is the lone transmission on the XLE and the Limited and while it doesn’t stand out in any discernible way, the shift logic here is smooth and reasonable. The suspension tuning on these 2.5-liter models is tuned towards providing a relaxing ride and if you stray out of its comfort zone, the Crown will reward you with copious amounts of body roll and plenty of squealing from the tires.

The switch to an all-hybrid performance ladder also paid dividends in fuel economy with XLE and Limited models getting 42/41/41 mpg in city/freeway/combined driving. Meanwhile, the range-topping Platinum model sees its figures dip to 29/32/30 mpg in the same categories which is largely due to its more performance-focused nature and the CVT being switched out for a six-speed automatic (though it’s still pretty good for a hybrid entry.)


Value Quotient

Pricing for the 2024 Toyota Crown lineup is reflective of the model’s luxury ambitions but unlike a formal Lexus model, there’s still some value to be found here. A base XLE starts at $40,350 while the range-topping Platinum model starts at $53,370. Our Limited model is the middle ground for the Crown family with a base price of $45,950.

While the performance offered by the Platinum model is hard to ignore, if we had our dollar invested in getting one, we would actually go for the Limited model. The Limited is the right balance of luxury and value with the performance on hand being enough for the bulk of everyday buyers. It also doesn’t hurt either that the extra equipment you get over the base XLE doesn’t come with less MPGs at the pump which is a core aspect of the Crown’s hybrid setup. The Crown will also be joined by the Crown Signia SUV as Toyota attempts to establish solid ground for the Crown name in the U.S. over the next few years.


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

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.

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