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2023 Toyota Crown Replaces the Avalon as a Lifted, Hybrid Sedan

Photo credit: Toyota
Photo credit: Toyota
  • 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.

Photo credit: Toyota
Photo credit: Toyota

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.

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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.

Photo credit: Toyota
Photo credit: Toyota

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.