Car Reviews

2023 Toyota Crown First Drive Review: Nonconformist to a fault

When the 2023 Toyota Crown was revealed because the de facto alternative for the Avalon, we had been a bit confused. We weren’t stunned that Toyota could be seeking to drop the Avalon, a comparatively unexciting mannequin in a quickly shrinking market. However, even with its tall profile, the Crown is, properly, nonetheless an enormous sedan, not even a liftback. After which, the powertrains appeared unambitious. All fashions will probably be typical hybrids, or a minimum of that was the case at launch. A plug-in hybrid has since been introduced. So it appeared just like the Crown was simply going to be an Avalon, however bizarre trying. However perhaps it could all make sense after we lastly acquired an opportunity to be taught extra of the small print and really drive the automotive.

Not likely.

We did be taught from Toyota representatives that firm President Akio Toyoda decreed the Crown be one thing totally different from the standard line-up of automobiles. And whereas there have been tall sedans up to now (Subaru Outback SUS and Volvo S60 Cross Nation), there is no query that it certain is totally different. So a minimum of the form and even the daring two-tone paint job possibility make sense in that context.

What’s attention-grabbing, is that regardless of the considerably altered design, the size of the Crown usually are not far off from the Avalon, with one exception: total peak. The Crown is about 4 inches taller than both the Avalon or the Camry. However in size, width and wheelbase, it is lower than an inch totally different. Additionally, all the peak is within the physique, not with added floor clearance. The Crown has simply 0.5 inch extra air between the rockers and the highway. So though it has a roofline like an SUV, we would not strive taking it on something rougher than a well-graded dust or gravel highway, particularly with the usual 19-inch wheels or the obtainable 21-inch examples.

Maybe not surprisingly, many of the inside dimensions are additionally extraordinarily near the Avalon. Variations in headroom are inside an inch of one another and entrance legroom is an identical. It does lose an inch and a half of rear legroom and a pair inches of shoulder room in comparison with the Avalon. That is all on paper, although. In actuality, the Crown’s inside feels a good bit smaller. A serious contributing issue is the headroom, which could be very tight up entrance, a minimum of with a sunroof. Should you’re 6-feet tall or extra, you will be rubbing the headliner. We do not bear in mind this being a problem within the previous Avalon, and we suspect the issue right here is that Toyota has jacked up the seating place for that SUV-like really feel. And that is additionally why it feels so tight regardless of the additional roof peak. Thankfully, in the event you get a mannequin with no sunroof, you get rather more entrance headroom. 

2023 Toyota Crown Platinum

As for the again, headroom continues to be a schosch tight, however not unhealthy. Legroom does really feel decreased in comparison with the limo-like Avalon, however tall adults can sit back and front with out an excessive amount of hassle. The inside house is not the one factor downsized, although. Cargo room is down by about 1 cubic foot to a complete of 15.2.

Along with feeling smaller, the Crown’s inside is not nicer, both. The Avalon had a surprisingly hanging and funky inside design, with a distinguished heart stack flowing proper down into the middle console. The dashboard on both facet was pretty uncluttered, and on the precise trim, you bought actually beautiful pure end wooden. On the Crown, no matter trim, you largely get black plastic. It is respectable black plastic in most locations, however it’s simply black plastic. The bronze-painted metallic trim is good, however there’s nothing right here that significantly wows. A minimum of the recent Toyota infotainment system is extra trendy in comparison with the Avalon’s previous-generation system. 

2023 Toyota Crown Platinum2023 Toyota Crown Platinum2023 Toyota Crown XLE

For higher or for worse, the inside is generally the identical whether or not you select a base XLE or a Platinum. Variations come all the way down to the XLE’s material upholstery, which is a notably mushy, woven material (pictured above, backside proper). The Platinum has leather-based upholstery and leatherette utilized to the door panels. 

So if the inside is a misfire, how is it to drive? That relies on the model. The bottom possibility is the Crown Hybrid, and it feels very very like an Avalon Hybrid or Camry Hybrid. No shock there because it’s based mostly on the identical TNGA-Okay platform and shares principally the identical hybrid powertrain, albeit with 236 horsepower (versus 215) and customary all-wheel drive. It additionally has a nickel-metal hydride battery moderately than the Avalon Hybrid’s lithium-ion pack. Gasoline financial system is a bit decrease than the Avalon at 42 mpg metropolis, 41 freeway and 41 mixed, although nonetheless no slouch.

The driving expertise is equally competent however boring. The claimed 7.6-second run to 60 mph is completely plausible. The cabin could be very quiet, although a number of the 2.5-liter’s low droning comes by way of when flooring it. And like most of Toyota’s hybrids, it has a rubber-band feeling when accelerating. The trip is mushy and supple, and the dealing with is tuned for security moderately than enjoyable. It is responsive, however the very last thing it desires to do is supply even the littlest little bit of rear rotation. A few of that is possible as a result of all-wheel-drive system that’s front-drive more often than not, and easily powers the rear wheels as obligatory (equivalent to when slip is detected). However, as a comfortable cruiser, it is completely competent.

2023 Toyota Crown Limited2023 Toyota Crown Platinum

The Hybrid Max, although, is the one to get if you are going to order a Crown. This powertrain is principally a much less highly effective model of what you’ll discover within the new Lexus RX 500h: a completely totally different sort of hybrid for Toyota consisting of a turbocharged 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a six-speed automated, and a a lot bigger rear motor that kicks in based mostly on quite a lot of circumstances and conditions versus merely when the automotive detects front-wheel slippage. Output is 340 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. 

Toyota claims a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds, and that once more feels plausible. It feels fairly sturdy, even because the speeds climb. The transmission is a serious enchancment over the eCVT, too, offering extra typical engine revving and a extra direct connection between what the wheels are doing and your foot. It additionally appears a lot quieter, almost definitely due to the turbo engine and the shortage of eCVT droning. The transmission is not lightning-fast at shifting, and is definitely a little bit sluggish on kickdown, nevertheless it’s easy and immediate sufficient when shifting manually. You do lose a good bit of effectivity in comparison with the bottom mannequin. The Max returns 29 mpg within the metropolis, 32 on the freeway and 30 mixed.

The additional energy is nice, however the different chassis tweaks are even higher. The Hybrid Max all the time operates in all-wheel-drive with a minimum of 30% of torque going to the rear wheels on a regular basis, with a most of 80% doable. The suspension will get thicker anti-roll bars and, within the case of the Platinum, adaptive shocks. The result’s a automotive that is truly pretty playful. It is extra impartial, with the rear finish coming round with the curve, moderately than being dragged ‘spherical it. Physique roll is decreased and the trip feels a little bit firmer, although because it’s adaptive, trip consolation is maintained. It may also be adjusted based mostly on drive mode, from super-crushy to mildly agency, together with throttle response, steering weight and shift timing. The steering is responsive and correct, however fairly gentle in effort – having the ability to make it heavier with the game modes is appreciated even when there’s no further suggestions. 

2023 Toyota Crown Platinum

In order a Hybrid Max within the Platinum trim, which is the one strategy to get the Hybrid Max, the Crown has some enticing factors. The issue is, it is fairly expensive, beginning at $53,445. For a few $1,000 extra, you may get right into a 355-hp Acura TLX Sort-S that’s higher to drive and carries a luxurious badge. Or, for $1,000 much less, you may get a 368-hp Kia Stinger GT, which is a great deal of enjoyable, definitely totally different in its personal proper and even a hatchback. Or save much more cash with the 300-horsepower Stinger GT-Line. The VW Arteon is one other offbeat alternative that undercuts the Crown. 

Most of these choices are definitely thirstier, so in the event you’re searching for one thing greener, there are very compelling electrical choices with comparable energy which can be fully gas-free. A Kia EV6 with all-wheel drive begins at roughly the identical worth and has a extra charismatic inside, extra cargo house and equally, if no more, hanging type. It additionally would not drink fuel. A dual-motor Tesla Mannequin 3 is a couple of thousand dearer, however once more, no fuel.

2023 Toyota Crown XLE

As for the decrease trim Crowns, the XLE begins at $41,045, and the Restricted at $46,595. Giant, hybrid cruisers that get 41 mpg mixed aren’t precisely in massive provide, however there’s one a minimum of, and it’s coming from inside Toyota’s home: the Lexus ES 300h. It is priced proper on this vary. And whereas it makes a bit much less energy and is not all-wheel-drive, the bottom hybrid is a little more environment friendly, and it has rather more premium inside choices obtainable. All are properly inside the costs of the common Crown Hybrid fashions.

The Crown isn’t a nasty automotive and we’ll all the time applaud a automotive firm for making an attempt to do one thing totally different. That’s how innovation occurs and developments begin. Bother is right here, the Crown’s most important promoting level appears to be that it is totally different. It’s solely simply high-quality at these areas that make a automotive a automotive. In consequence, it might make sense for a slim area of interest of patrons that need a huge automotive that is form of luxurious, form of SUV-like, form of sporty, and environment friendly, however not fuel free. That looks like a fairly small group.


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