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.