2023 Toyota Crown: When Luxury Means Electric, Performance and … a Crossover?

2023 Toyota Crown

A fitting name for Toyota’s newest model… and a peek at the future?

The Toyota Crown is coming to the US and introducing the “crown” of Toyota design in a sedan/crossover that gives us a look at what Toyota has planned for its future. 

If you’ve traveled abroad you may have seen the Crown, a sedan that sports a unique and majestic badge on its front grille. And if you’re old enough to remember when Toyota made its very first debut in the US, you might remember the Crown as the first Toyota model to be sold here. 

Bringing it back is a dual move, though: it revives this name in a top-of-the-line model, and it also sets the framework for Toyota’s electrified future. 

For a few years now Toyota has been planning for a future that is electric, and touts all the hybrids it produces as a path to that future. The Crown is the latest in the journey, with only hybrid models available; there are no conventional gas engine options (though, remember, hybrids are gas and battery powered) and it will feature Toyota’s first ever Hybrid Max engine, a hybrid designed as much for high powered performance as fuel efficiency.

But the Crown also has some of the earmarks of a plug in electric car: It’s taller than the average sedan— in this case, 4” taller than the Camry. It has a flat front without the air intake grille; the Crown’s grille is a textured but solid diamond pattern grille. And it has a wide rear seat with a relatively (but not completely) flat floor. Looking at it I’d guess it’s electric and it seems it easily could be without too many changes to the overall design of the car. 

Related: Toyota bZ4X: Toyota’s First Full Electric Car is Designed to Delight … And Prius Fans Will Rejoice 

Toyota Crown Has A Full Sized Trunk

The Toyota Crown has a full sized trunk. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Crossover… Sedan?

Yes, Toyota is calling the Crown a crossover due to its height and the higher ‘hip point’ of the seats. This means that the seats are higher off the ground and closer to the average height of the average human hip, making it easier to get in and out of. Anyone who spends her days on school runs/grocery runs/Starbucks stop/dry cleaner/pharmacy stop/dance rehearsal/sports practice knows the beauty of a higher hip point. 

But is it a crossover? No. It’s a sedan. First, because it has a trunk; a real, full, quite large trunk. While the rear seats can fold down, it’s still a trunk. Then, it’s also not as tall as a crossover; it’s about 5” lower to the ground than the Toyota Venza, a true crossover. And then, the swoop of the roofline may put the idea of crossover in your head. Yes, enjoy the pretty roof line, but don’t think this is a crossover. 

Related: 2021 Toyota Venza Review: Can This 5 Passenger Luxe Hybrid SUV the Best Family Road Trip Car?

Toyota Crown Rear End

The Toyota Crown has the model name spelled out across the rear; the Platinum edition also features the Hybrid Max performance engine.

Three Versions of the Toyota Crown 

The Crown is all hybrid and all models are all wheel drive. As a premium car, it will have a number of standard features including Toyota’s Toyota Safety System 3.0, a more refined version of its driver assist and safety system (adaptive cruise control, lane departure assist, blind spot monitoring and the like). They are also including Toyota’s new 12” driver information screen and 12” multimedia system standard. Redesigned last year, this is a great system with some fantastic features, including ‘Hey Toyota’ voice activation, though the premium level with navigation is by subscription.

Toyota Crown Dash

Rose gold trim accents the dash in the Toyota Crown, and it’s so elegant! Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Crown Platinum that Toyota showed at the reveal was dressed in red and black. While I love the combination, I didn’t love these colors on this car, but not to worry; it’s also available in 7 other colors including some standbys like Heavy Metal

Then, the Crown is broken down into three trim levels: XLE, Limited and Platinum. XLE and Limited both have a standard 2.5L hybrid generating 236 horsepower and are estimated to get about 38 MPG. The Platinum trim features the first ever Hybrid Max, a performance hybrid which should produce 340 HP from a 2.4L turbo engine; it is estimated to get about 28 MPG.

Crown drivers will have a choice of drive modes. In the XLE and Limited trims drivers can choose from normal, eco and sport. The Platinum Hybrid Max model adds sport+, comfort and custom modes allowing drivers to put enjoy all 340 horsepower.  

Related: The Lexus NX Just Got An Amazing Makeover, Making it the Lexus to Drool Over

Toyota Crown Driver'S Seat

The view from the driver’s seat in the Toyota Crown. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Learning a Few Things From Lexus

Toyota, parent company of Lexus, imported some nice details from the luxury line into the Crown. It starts with the soft touch details and elegant design. The dash is accented by a rose gold-like metal trim and the seating is Toyota’s leatherette, called SofTex. 

Toyota Crown'S Center Console

The Toyota Crown’s center console is elegantly designed, and that cubby just in front of the gear selector? It’s a vertical wireless phone charger. So clever! Photo: Scotty Reiss

The gear selector is similar to the small, palm-sized shifter in the Lexus NX and LC 500. And, there are some features that previously were only available in Lexus, including park assist, in which the car will find a parking spot and maneuver into it while you control braking and acceleration; and digital key, which allows you to use your phone to unlock, start and drive the car as well as share it with someone else via a phone app. Park assist is only available on the Platinum trim, and digital key is available on both the Limited and Platinum models.

The Crown will roll into dealers in the late fall of 2022 and while pricing hasn’t been announced, it’s expected to be priced at the top of the Toyota tier, in the $50K range or so. And for a performance hybrid with a sleek, elegant shape and nearly all the luxuries and features you would expect on a luxury car, it’ll be a contender for buyers who want all the goodies, good fuel economy and a bit of excitement under foot. 

Disclosure: I was Toyota’s guest for the reveal of the Crown, but they were nice enough to come to Austin so I didn’t have to travel! 

Toyota Crown Leatherette Seating

SofTex leatherette covers the seats and many surfaces in the Toyota Crown. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss