Toyota takes the wraps off its 2023 Crown midsize sedan
With the obvious obsession that Americans have for SUVs, you might think it's crazy to bring out an all-new midsize sedan in 2022, but Toyota knows what they're doing. The all-new Crown is a sedan that brings you some of the most popular aspects of the crossover experience, and Toyota has gone the extra mile to make this an appealing alternative to yet another SUV.
The tradeoff with SUVs has always been utility versus handling. SUVs offer tremendous carrying capacity, but they tend to be clumsy and bulky compared to passenger cars. The new Crown offers a raised ride height and large doors that give passengers easy access to the cabin. You don't have to climb up or drop down to get into the Crown; you just slide right in. As a midsize car, there's plenty of room in the front and back seats, with space for five adults.
The only tradeoff you'll make is in cargo volume. The Crown's large 15.2 cubic-foot trunk can't compare with a large SUV's hatch and fold-down seats, but unless you really plan to load that SUV, the Crown may be an attractive choice because it drives like a passenger car, with responsive steering and easy maneuverability, especially in tight parking lots.
All Crown models are hybrids with all-wheel drive. But you'll have a choice between two distinct drivelines. The regular hybrid gives you a healthy 236 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque based on its 2.5-liter gas engine and electric motor. If you want more performance, the Hybrid Max offers 340 net system horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 2.4-liter gas engine and hybrid electric motors. With that much power, the Crown Hybrid still returns 42 MPG in the city and 41 MPG on the highway, while the Hybrid Max gives you 29 MPG city and 32 MPG on the highway.
Both hybrid styles use an electric motor to drive the rear wheels. In front, the Crown Hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission, while the Hybrid Max offers a traditional six-speed automatic. On the highway, the Crown Hybrid will hit 60 MPH in just 7.6 seconds, while the Hybrid Max delivers premium performance with 0-60 in 5.7 seconds.
Inside, the new Crown is all about technology and luxury. Depending on your trim level, you can get the Crown with sumptuous heated and ventilated leather seats and leather-wrapped touch surfaces. On the console, you'll find four of the new USB-C ports, and a single traditional USB-A port. A wireless device charger is also there, with an innovative pocket that allows you to stand your phone up while charging. The pocket is big enough to handle a new iPhone 13 or 14 ProMax in a protective case.
Dashboard tech includes a 12.3-inch driver information display screen, and a similar-sized infotainment screen. A JBL 11-speaker premium audio system is also available. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration is standard. There's a Toyota app for both those operating systems, and it also supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
On the road, the Crown is a pleasure to drive. The basic Crown Hybrid is a good midsize sedan, but the Hybrid Max is a real treat. With plenty of power under your control, the Hybrid Max is fast, confident, and comfortable. The Crown will eat up the highway miles like a big sedan of days gone by.
One thing to mention is the inevitable comparison between the Crown and the also-midsize Camry, which is Toyota's most popular passenger car and usually the best-selling passenger car in America. The Crown is a little bit bigger than the Camry, but the real difference is in the demeanor. The Camry offers the same good value that it has always delivered, but the Crown is a step up in luxury, features, and in price. The Crown will pick up at the top end of the Camry pricing structure, starting at $39,950 for the XLE grade, $45,550 for the Limited grade and $52,350 for the Platinum grade. Consider the 2023 Crown as a premium vehicle and, well, a crown for the Toyota brand.
The 2023 Toyota Crown is expected to arrive at Toyota dealerships in early 2023, but you can reserve one now.
2023 Toyota Crown
Base price: $39,950
Price as tested: $52,350
Type: Midsize sedan
Engines: 2.5-liter hybrid or 2.4-liter turbo hybrid (236-340 hp, 163-332 lbs-ft)
Transmissions: Continuously Variable or 6-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 29/32 Hybrid Max, 42/41 Hybrid
Overall length: 196.1 inches
Curb weight: 4,306 pounds
Final assembly: Aichi, Japan
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