Students of automotive history know that the Toyota Crown has been at the top of its game in Japan since the 1950s and hasn’t been part of the Big T’s portfolio in America since 1973, when it was replaced by the Corona. Our very own Murilli can explain this family tree in excruciating detail, which is one of the many reasons we appreciate his ramblings.
Now the Crown has returned to this country. Technically replacing the Avalon, it’s a four-door hybrid-powered vehicle (car? SUV?) with a conventional sedan trunk sitting on a structure that puts it four inches taller than the Camry. When Toyota sought to defy categorization by bringing the Crown name back to America for the first time in five decades, it certainly succeeded.
There will be three trim levels, all of which will be familiar to Toyota fans – XLE, Limited and Platinum. The first two are powered by a 2.5-liter four-seater that has a nickel-metal hydride battery and three electric motors as dance partners. This configuration is good for a claimed 236 horsepower and achieves 40 mpg in combined driving conditions with the CVT. Due to the placement of these motors, these Crowns are all-wheel drive.
Platinum models get the capitalized HYBRID MAX transmission, which we’ll never capitalize again. Here we find a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed wet-clutch transmission that performs a two-stage hybrid system from the battery and two electric motors, the latter of which is liquid. cooled on the rear axle. Toyota says those gubbins make 340 horsepower, but fuel economy drops to about 28 mpg on the combined cycle.
A fancier hybrid system sends power to all four wheels sequentially, while XLE and Limited trims can have front-wheel drive in certain conditions. Powered by a water-cooled Hybrid Max rear motor, the Platinum trim can send up to 80 percent of its power to the rear wheels for hopefully sharp action on loose surfaces.
But what about his appearance? What, really. Using the TNGA-K platform, it appears that Crown is trying to combine sedan-like ride comfort with crossover-like ground clearance. If you want to mention the Subaru Legacy SUS or AMC Eagle Sedan in the comments, we won’t stop you. Taking a measuring tape to the Crown, you get an overall height of 60.6 inches (compared to the Camry’s 56.9), a length of 194.0 inches on a 112.2-inch wheelbase, and a width of 72.4 inches.
For reference, the 2022 Highlander is listed as 68.1 inches tall, 194.9 inches long (112.2 inches W/B) and 76.0 inches wide. If you notice that its wheelbase is identical to the Crown, give yourself a gold star. Both cars are built using the TNGA-K bones that currently underpin a whole range of Toyota vehicles from the Venza to the Sienna and from the RAV4 to the Camry. Old Avalon used it too. The Crown’s interior is familiar to anyone who’s been in a new Toyota recently, which isn’t a bad thing.
Availability is slated for this fall, though Toyota has been mum on pricing. As for what it’s worth, the 215-horsepower Avalon Hybrid now starts at $37,850, so we expect the Crown to top $40K at launch.
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