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Review of the Toyota Crown 2023: Driving in Style

Image Source: Karolis Kavolelis / Shutterstock

The Toyota Avalon has been Toyota’s flagship sedan in the US for nearly three decades, but now Toyota is shifting gears by discontinuing the Avalon and introducing the 2023 Crown. This new high-riding sedan aims to redefine the sedan segment by blending sedan and crossover features. With sedans losing popularity compared to crossovers, Toyota is looking to captivate buyers with the innovative Crown. The market’s response will be revealed upon its release in early 2023.

Although the Crown badge may be unfamiliar to many customers, it has a long history dating back to 1955 in Japan. Standing 3.7 inches taller than the Camry, the Crown offers easier access and a heightened driving position, addressing the current trend for elevated vehicles. The Crown’s unique design sets it apart from Toyota’s existing lineup, featuring a bold and distinctive appearance that resulted from collaboration between experienced and young designers. The younger designer’s influence is evident in elements like the two-tone paint scheme.

The Crown is exclusively available as a hybrid, offering two different hybrid powertrains. The XLE and Limited trims are equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with three electric motors, generating 236 horsepower. This powertrain is linked to a continuously variable transmission powering the front wheels, while an additional electric motor on the rear axle supplies all-wheel drive for added traction when necessary. While the base powertrain delivers decent performance, its acceleration from 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds might not be considered impressive. On the bright side, it boasts a combined EPA rating of 41 mpg.

The premium Hybrid Max system, exclusive to the Platinum trim, combines a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors, producing an impressive 340 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Unlike the base powertrain, the Hybrid Max system ensures continuous engagement of the rear electric motor and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission for enhanced performance. With this upgraded powertrain, the Crown accelerates from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds, albeit with a slightly lower fuel efficiency rating of 30 mpg. The Platinum trim also adds adaptive dampers, enhancing the driving experience on twisty roads.

Having tested both powertrains, the base option provides adequate performance for daily driving, while the Hybrid Max system offers a more exhilarating experience with its superior power delivery and engine sound. Although neither powertrain can be described as fast, the Hybrid Max is the preferable choice for those seeking a more engaging drive. Despite its increased ride height over the Camry, the Crown maintains a sedan-like feel on the road rather than resembling a crossover, thanks to its well-balanced handling and reduced body roll in Sport S Plus mode.

The cabin of the Crown adopts a more conservative approach compared to its bold exterior design. Featuring a well-organized layout without flashy embellishments, the interior is adorned with high-quality materials, though some hard plastics are present, slightly detracting from a premium feel expected at the Platinum trim’s price point of $50,000. The cabin houses a 12.3-inch touchscreen at the center of the dashboard, accompanied by another 12.3-inch digital screen in front of the driver. Toyota’s new Audio Multimedia system significantly improves upon the previous Entune system, offering clear graphics and responsive functionality.

Regarding safety features, the Crown comes equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, encompassing a comprehensive suite of driver assistance technologies. These include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. A new Proactive Driving Assist feature aids in maintaining safe distances from pedestrians and cyclists.

The 2023 Toyota Crown pricing starts at $41,045 for the base XLE trim, while the Limited trim is priced at $46,595 and the Platinum trim at $53,445.

In conclusion, the Crown proves to be a worthy successor to the Avalon, offering a fresh perspective on sedan dynamics while meeting the demand for hybrid efficiency. Whether customers perceive the Crown as solely a large sedan remains to be seen, but Toyota deserves credit for its innovative approach.

Image Source: Karolis Kavolelis / Shutterstock

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