First Look: The 2023 Toyota Crown is an original sedan and crossover replacing the Avalon
The sedan landscape changed drastically as a number of automakers reduced their lineups, while Buick and Ford exited the segment altogether.
Full-size sedans were among the hardest hit, as the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, Kia Cadenza and Hyundai Azera were all discontinued. Also, the Chrysler 300 is almost dead while the Nissan Maxima sells for a fraction of what it used to.
With the carpocalypse in full swing, it’s no surprise when Toyota announced plans to phase out the Avalon at the end of the 2022 model year. However, the company isn’t completely throwing in the towel as the crown 2023 will arrive this fall to effectively replace it.
Read also : 2023 Toyota Crown debuts in America as a full-size sedan redesigned for the crossover era
We first saw the Crown in June and immediately had mixed feelings about it, as our dreams of a rear-drive sports sedan were quickly dashed. Combine that with a dodgy two-tone paint job and we had plenty of reservations.
However, with time and repeated viewings, the initial shock wore off. That being said, the model is a huge departure from the Avalon, as Toyota has reinvented the full-size sedan for the crossover era. As a result, it features crossover-inspired styling cues such as plastic body cladding and a raised ride height.
Reaction to the design was mixed, but Toyota knew maintaining the status quo was a losing battle. Consumers voted with their wallets and they are overwhelmingly choosing crossovers over sedans.
Given this, sedans adopted traditional crossover features such as all-wheel drive and, occasionally, plastic body cladding. If the AMC Eagle spawned the modern crossover we know today, it seems like we’ve come full circle.
Fortunately, the Crown is a far cry from the old Eagle as it sports a modern design that incorporates some elements of the bZ4X. Although the front end drew some criticism, there’s a lot to like as the sedan features a flowing body, a graceful roof and handsome 19- and 21-inch wheels.
Although it looks like a liftback, the Crown comes with a trunk and although it looks small from the outside, it’s downright massive when opened. Toyota hasn’t released detailed US specs at this point, but this reviewer could easily fit inside and that’s before folding the rear seats.
A spacious but relatively bland cabin
The Crown will sit at the top of Toyota’s mainstream sedan lineup, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell by looking at the interior. The cabin is surprisingly bland as black plastic abounds and is only interrupted by occasional silver or bronze accents. However, upgrading to the Limited trim will reward buyers with leather seats which can be available in macadamia, black and brown, and the traditional black you see here.
Although the cabin lacks visual interest, it does feature a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch Toyota Audio Multimedia system. The latter is a huge improvement over the Avalon’s 9-inch infotainment system, as it offers better graphics along with modern connectivity features such as cloud-based navigation, over-the-air updates and an intelligent assistant that responds to “Hey, Toyota’s wake word.
The good news doesn’t stop there, as the quality of the materials seems above average and the model is equipped with eight-way power heated front seats as well as cloth and Softex upholstery. The entry-level Crown XLE also comes with a dual-zone climate control system, wireless smartphone charger and a six-speaker audio system.
Upgrading to the Limited adds comfortable, heated and ventilated leather front seats as well as heated rear seats. Other highlights include a fixed panoramic glass roof and an 11-speaker JBL premium audio system.
Speaking of the rear seats, they’re roomy but lack the limo-like legroom found on the Avalon. That’s not too surprising as the crown is 1.9 inches (48mm) shorter and has a 0.8 inch (20mm) smaller wheelbase. However, there was more than enough legroom for this 6’2” scribe and I was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of headroom as well.
Plus, the raised ride height helps improve entry and exit. It’s important to note that older Americans have generally embraced full-size sedans, but some have turned to crossovers as they struggle to get in and out of cars.
Two hybrid powertrains and standard all-wheel drive
While Toyota remains coy on a number of US specs, the company has already confirmed that the model will be offered with two different hybrid powertrains.
The entry-level powertrain is found on the Crown XLE and Limited and includes a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, two electric motors, an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission and a new 2-pole metal hydride battery from high performance nickel. The Japanese variant has a combined output of 231 PS (172 kW / 234 hp) and we can expect the US spec model to have similar performance. Regardless of the final numbers, Toyota USA expects a fuel economy rating of 38 mpg.
However, we’re more interested in the Crown Platinum, which features an all-new Hybrid Max powertrain. It features a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a front electric motor that helps maximize torque output, a rear eAxle, and a direct-shift six-speed automatic transmission with a new hydraulic multi-disc wet start clutch.
This configuration gives the car an estimated power output of 340 PS (254 kW / 345 hp) and a 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) time of 5.9 seconds. Unfortunately, performance comes at a cost as the Platinum is expected to have a fuel economy rating of 28 mpg. That’s 10 mpg less than Crown’s other variants and a far cry from the Avalon Hybrid, which offered up to 44 mpg combined. That being said, the eco-friendly Avalon lacked all-wheel drive and only offered a combined output of 215 hp (160 kW / 218 hp).
Speaking of all-wheel drive, it’s standard on the Crown. The XLE and Limited variants have an E-Four AWD system with a rear-mounted electric motor that activates as needed in slippery conditions. The Crown Platinum features a more sophisticated E-Four Advanced AWD system with a rear eAxle featuring a high-output, water-cooled electric motor. The E-Four Advanced AWD system also offers front/rear power splits between 70:30 and 20:80, in contrast to the E-Four AWD system which can send up to 100% of its power to the front wheels .
Of course, we’ll learn more about powertrains and all-wheel-drive systems as summer gives way to fall.