The 2023 Toyota Crown Rides Higher and Is Back in America

Believe it or not, the Toyota Crown has been made in Japan since 1955 and was the first Japanese car in the US market for a brief span of the 20th century. But now for it’s 15th and the 2023 model year generation, the luxury sedan returns to the States after a decades-long hiatus. I got to take a look at the Platinum model which features a new “Hybrid Max” 2.4L (turbocharged) powertrain.

The Powertrain Story

XLE, Limited, and Platinum trims are available. Pricing isn’t announced yet, but I looked at the top-end Platinum with Hybrid Max. I’m told the XLE and Limited trims get the venerable 2.5L THS (Toyota Hybrid System) and have on-demand all-wheel drive. Their AWD system produces up to 20% of power to the rear axle through a separate electric motor.

The real excitement is around Hybrid Max in the Platinum Crown though. Producing 380 HP, the system is always sending engine power to the rear and that ratio is configurable from 20:80 to 70:30. You also get a six-speed wet clutch transmission with Hybrid Max that should provide direct and quicker feedback. XLE and Limited get a familiar eCVT unit. Hybrid Max’s potency and engaging transmission comes with a tradeoff besides the higher cost though; it’s rated for a not-great 28 MPG. The lower-end XLE and Limited will get an excellent 38 mpg from their more modest motors and AWD systems.

How’s the Rest of the Car?

The Crown is notable for coming as hybrid-only, but there’s more I found interesting. Namely:

  • Despite the fastback styling, this is firmly a sedan and has a traditional trunk. No hatchback here.
  • But that huge trunk-opening is nice and actually reminds me of the much-more expensive Lucid Air.
  • The rear seats are nicely appointed but not as comfortable as I’d like. You get climate vents and USB-C charging, but at 6’2″ I didn’t have a luxurious amount of room to stretch my legs of my spine. It’s not as squashed as some compact crossovers however, and the material quality holds up.
  • You get heated rear-seats on the Limited and Platinum models, but ventilated seats are only for the driver and front passenger
  • The displays are great: you get the 12″ Audio MMI touchscreen out of the Tundra and new bz4X and a great all-digital instrument cluster that has several customizable modes
  • Adaptable Variable Suspension (AVS) is standard and should make the sedan driving experience more comfortable.

When Is It Actually Coming?

We don’t have price or performance details like 0-60 time, and the model I looked at is still a prototype. Toyota told me to expect a drive event in October, so I’m looking forward to learning more about the Crown then.