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The Toyota Crown Returns to the States as an SUV

Photo credit: Toyota
Photo credit: Toyota

Even though the Crown was the first Japanese car to enter the U.S. market back in 1958, the nameplate isn’t one that most Americans are familiar with today. That is going to change quickly, as the automaker has just unveiled the new 2023 Toyota Crown, representing the first example bound for the States since 1972, now with two electrified powertrains, standard all-wheel drive, and a funky SUV ride height.

The Toyota Crown has always traditionally slotted into the executive sedan segment. That said, global sales reports are quick to highlight that the majority of buyers aren’t interested in such a bodystyle these days. Toyota has decided to embrace the world’s ongoing SUV-obsession, transforming the well-storied Crown into a sort of sedan-shaped crossover. The bodywork looks more like a traditional sedan than a Toyota Venza, but the Crown rides up to four-inches higher than a new Camry, measuring in at 60.6-inches overall. That height is visually offset by the 194-inch overall length, which is just an inch shorter than the Highlander. The standard 19-inch wheels on XLE and Limited models also add to the visual mass, while Premium trim customers will have a pair of 21-inch wheels to choose from. It’s certainly a unique take on a sedan, and one that Toyota says helps them stand out in the segment. It has been a while since the Honda Crosstour left production, I suppose.

Photo credit: Toyota
Photo credit: Toyota

Styling choices aside, Toyota have made full use of the TNGA-K platform that underpins the Crown. Every Toyota Crown model will come with one of two hybrid powertrains, each of which come with a unique on-demand all-wheel drive system. (TNGA-K is the same modular architecture that Toyota uses for the Camry, the Avalon, the Venza, the RAV4, the Sienna, a few Lexus models, and the Highlander. As of last year in China, the Highlander is also sold as the Crown Kluger, a premonition of things to come.) XLE and Limited models come equipped with the fourth-generation Toyota Hybrid System, which pairs a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder with two electric motors. The powertrain comes exclusively mated to an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission. The Crown XLE and Limited models utilize the E-Four AWD system. The rear axle only kicks on when additional traction is needed, and the Crown’s updated system is capable of sending more power to the rear axle than other models. Toyota estimates fuel economy figures of 38 MPG with this setup. The THS powertrain also supports three individual drive modes: Normal, Eco and Sport. Should you wish to be extra fuel-conscious, the Crown can operate in a pure EV mode for short trips.

Photo credit: Toyota
Photo credit: Toyota