First Toyota Crown car review 2023: Does not fit a bug
When 2023 Toyota Crown revealed to be the de facto replacement for Avalon, we were a bit confused. We are not surprised that Toyota will try to quit Avalon, a relatively interesting pattern in a rapidly shrinking market. Still, even with its tall build, the Crown is still a full-size sedan, not even a convertible. And then the powertrain doesn’t seem ambitious. All models will be conventional crossbred, or at least that was the case at launch. One Dip into the mixture yes since it was announced. So it looks like the Crown will just be an Avalon, but looks weird. But maybe it will all make sense when we finally get a chance to dig into the details and actually drive the car.
We learned from Toyota representatives that company President Akio Toyoda ordered the Crown to be something different from the conventional line. And while there have been tall sedans in the past (Subaru Outback SUS and Volvo S60 Cross Country), there is no question that it is definitely different. So at least the shape and even the bold two-tone paint job option makes sense in that context.
Interestingly, despite the significant design changes, the Crown’s dimensions aren’t that far from the Avalon’s, with one exception: the overall height. The crown is about 4 inches taller than the Avalon or camry. But in terms of length, width and wheelbase, it differs by less than an inch. Also, all height is at the bodywork, with no extra ground clearance. The Crown only has an extra 0.5 inch of air between the rocker and the road. So even though it has an SUV-like hood, we wouldn’t try riding on anything rougher than well-graded dirt or gravel, especially with the standard 19-inch wheels or 21 inch examples are available.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most interior dimensions are also extremely close to the Avalon. The difference in headroom is an inch apart, and the front legroom is identical. It loses an inch and a half of rear legroom and a few inches of shoulder room compared to the Avalon. It’s all on paper, though. In fact, the interior of the Crown feel slightly smaller. A major contributing factor is front headroom, which is very tight up front, at least with a sunroof. If you are 6 meters or more tall, you will be appreciated. We don’t remember this being an issue in the old Avalon, and we suspect the problem here is that Toyota has enhanced the seating position for an SUV-like feel. And that’s also why it feels so tight despite the extra roof height. Fortunately, if you get a model without a sunroof, you get more front headroom.
As for the back, headroom is still a tight stethoscope, but not bad. Legroom doesn’t feel reduced compared to the limo-like Avalon, but tall adults can sit front and back without too much difficulty. However, interior space is not the only thing that has been reduced in size. Goods room decreased by about 1 cubic foot for a total of 15.2.
Aside from feeling smaller, the Crown’s interior doesn’t better, one in two. The Avalon has a surprisingly cool and impressive interior design, with a prominent center stack that flows right down to the center console. The side panels are pretty neat, and on the right trim you get a really gorgeous natural wood finish. On the Crown, regardless of trim, you mostly get black plastic. It’s black plastic in most places, but it’s just black plastic. The copper-painted metal trim is nice, but nothing here is particularly impressive. At least Toyota’s new infotainment system is more modern than that of the previous generation Avalon.
For better or worse, the interior is virtually the same whether you choose the base XLE or the Platinum. The difference lies in the XLE’s upholstery, which is a noticeably soft, woven fabric (top right, bottom right). Platinum has leather and faux leather seats applied to the door panels.
So if the interior is a mistake, how to drive? That depends on the version. The base option is the Crown Hybrid, and it feels a lot like a Avalon Hybrid or Camry Hybrid. It’s no surprise that it’s based on the same TNGA-K platform and shares essentially the same hybrid powertrain, despite 236 hp (versus 215) and standard all-wheel drive. . It also has a nickel metal hydride the battery rather than the Avalon Hybrid’s lithium-ion pack. Fuel economy is slightly lower than the Avalon at 42 mpg city, 41 highway and 41 combined, though there’s still no drop.
The driving experience is similarly competent but dull. The 7.6-second run to 60 mph is claimed to be completely reliable. The cabin is very quiet, although some low 2.5-liter drones pass by when decking it. And like most Toyota hybrids, it has a rubbery feel when accelerating. The ride is soft and supple, and the handling is tuned for safety rather than pleasure. It’s responsive, but the last thing it wants to do is deliver even the tiniest bit of rear rotation. Some of this could be because the all-wheel drive system always drives the front wheels and only needs to power the rear wheels when needed (such as when slippage is detected). But, being a comfortable cruiser, it is quite capable.
However, the Hybrid Max is something to buy if you are going to order the Crown. This powertrain is essentially a less powerful version of what you’ll find in Lexus RX 500h: a completely different hybrid from Toyota that includes a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder, a six-speed automatic transmission, and a much larger rear engine that works on a variety of different conditions and situations each other instead of only when the vehicle detects a front wheel slip. The output is 340 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.
Toyota claims a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds, and that once again shows reliability. It feels pretty powerful, even at high speeds. The gearbox is also a big improvement over the eCVT, providing more conventional engine rpm and a more direct connection between what the wheel is doing and your foot. It also seems much quieter, most likely thanks to the turbo engine and no eCVT drones. The transmission isn’t lightning fast when shifting gears, and it’s actually a bit slow to start, but it’s smooth and quick enough when shifting manually. You actually lose a bit of efficiency compared to the base model. The Max returns 29 mpg in the city, 32 on the highway and 30 combined.
The extra power is great, but the other chassis tweaks are even better. Maximum combination always operate in all-wheel drive with at least 30% of the torque transmitted to the rear wheels at all times, with a maximum of 80% possible. The suspension features thicker anti-roll bars and, in the case of the Platinum, adaptive shocks. The result is a car that is actually quite fun. It’s more neutral, with the rear end swinging around with the curve, rather than being dragged’ around it. Body roll is reduced and the ride feels a bit more solid, although it is adaptive, ride comfort is maintained. It can also be adjusted based on the driving mode, from super strong to gentle, along with throttle response, steering weight and shift time. The steering is responsive and precise, but fairly light – could have made it heavier with the appreciated sport modes even without the extra feedback.
So as a Hybrid Max in the Platinum version, which is the only way to get the Hybrid Max, the Crown has some appeal. The thing is, it’s quite expensive, starting at $53,445. For about $1,000 more you can get in Acura TLX Type-S 355 hp better to drive and carry a luxury badge. Or, for $1,000 less, you can get Kia Stinger GT 368 hp, it’s loads of fun, definitely different in its own right and even a hatchback. Or save more money with Stinger GT-Line 300 hp. The VW Arteon is an unusual choice that devalues Crown.
Most of those options are definitely thirstier, so if you’re looking for something greener, there are very attractive electric options with similar capacity that don’t use gas at all. Kia EV6 All-wheel drive starts at about the same price and features a more appealing interior, more cargo space and similar, if not more, striking style. It also doesn’t drink gas. A dual engine Tesla Model 3 A few thousand more expensive but does not consume gas.
As for the lower version Crown, the XLE starts at $41,045 and the Limited at $46,595. Big, hybrid cruisers getting a combined 41 mpg aren’t exactly in big supply, but there’s at least one, and it comes from Toyota insiders: Lexus ES 300h. It’s priced right in this range. And while it makes a bit less power and doesn’t have to be all-wheel drive, the base hybrid is a bit more efficient and it has much more premium interior options available. All are within the price range of regular Crown Hybrid models.
The Crown is not a bad car and we will always applaud a car company that tried to do something different. That’s how innovation happens and trends begin. The point is that here, Crown’s main selling point seems to be it To be difference. It’s only good in areas that make a car. As such, it could make sense for a slim group of buyers who want a big, luxurious, SUV-style, sporty and efficient car, but without the gas. That seems like a pretty little group.