2023 Toyota Crown Review

2023 Toyota Crown - Crown replaces top-tine Toyota Avalon


Price: $53,445 (approximate)

Pros—Sleek. Roomy. Fairly fast. Economical. Hybrid. All-wheel drive.

Cons—Pricey. May encounter tricky trunk opening procedure.

Bottom Line—Something significantly different.

The brand new 2023 Toyota Crown four-door sedan replaces the far less extroverted Avalon sedan and shows Toyota isn’t betting the sedan market is being destroyed by SUVs.

Well, good for Toyota. The Crown—top Toyota model—is about four inches taller than the Avalon and looks especially racy with optional, attractive 21-inch wheels, which seem almost oversized for the car. The Crown was introduced in Japan in the 1950s as an upmarket sedan, was sold in America for awhile and then  was dropped here for several years.

The Crown, which looks bigger than it really is, looks especially sharp thanks to such things as a sleek sloping rear roof. That roof makes it look much like a hatchback. Actually, it’s got a regular sedan trunk which is quite roomy. Fold-down seat backs further increase cargo area.

The 112-inch Crown returns with quite a splash. It’s sold in XLE, Limited and Platinum form, starting at $41,045. The base two models have a 236-horsepower four-cylinder and electric motors and work with a CVT transmission. The Platinum has a 340-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder with electric motors coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission that uses a clutch pack instead of a torque converter for more efficient operation.

All have standard all-wheel drive. And none are slow. The base models does 0-60 mp.h. in a respectable 7.6 seconds, while the Platinum charges to 60 in 5.7 seconds. Fuel economy numbers won’t make you familiar at gas stations.

Handling isn’t in the sports sedan category but the Crown feels very stable and driving feel can be changed via a console control to “Sport” mode for firmer steering and more secure handling. I found “Comfort” to be the best of the selectable drive modes. The steering  could use more road feel, although the ride is comfortable. The brakes bite early, but the pedal feels a bit soggy.

I tested the Platinum, which has an upscale interior and is offered in attractive, if not to say distinctive, optional two-tone paint on the hood, roof trunk and sides. This paint is only offered for the Platinum.

There’s plenty of room, front and rear, although the center of the back seat is too stiff for comfort—it’s best to leave it to the large pull-down armrest with its two cupholders. The exceptionally large front console is roomy, but I can’t say much for the side door storage pockets, except they’re large enough for a beverage bottle.

The Crown has a 12.3-inch touchscreen that’s deftly placed low enough the dashboard so it doesn’t black driver vision much. Thankfully, there’s a bunch of buttons and switches that control a variety of functions, including climate settings and a heated wheel. There’s also a wireless charger and manual trunk release. The trunk lid won’t open no matter how many times you press the “trunk” symbol on the key fob—unless you go to the glove compartment and push a small lever that finally lets the fob open the trunk. Let’s hope Crown salespersons explain this feature to the car’s buyers.

Another safety feature is a warning in the instrument area to check the back seat to make sure you didn’t leave anything valuable back there when you leave the car.

Safety features include a backup camera,  and a rear cross-traffic alert.

The increasingly competitive auto world can use a car like the Crown to shake things up a bit.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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