2023 Toyota Crown
(Photo/Toyota)

Toyota’s Flagship Crown Sedan Returns After 50 Years as a Lifted Hybrid ‘Crossover’

Toyota tries to reinvent the full-size sedan with the 2023 Crown, by making the gap between sedan and crossover even smaller.

One of Toyota’s oldest nameplates is coming back to America later this year. This is the 2023 Toyota Crown, a flagship that is doing its best to blur the lines between crossover, coupe, and conventional sedan.

The Crown has been in the Toyota lineup since 1955 when it was called the Toyopet Crown. It was sold here for several generations, from 1958 through 1973, but was replaced by cars better suited to American car buyers’ wants.

Now it’s back, and it looks like it will be replacing the Avalon. The full-size sedan Toyota has been sold here since the early 1990s.

Crown Blurs Sedan Line With Tall Height

2023 Toyota Crown
(Photo/Toyota)

In Japan, Toyota will have four different Crown variants, including the Sport coupe, Sedan, and Estate. We’ll get just one, the fourth version called the Crown Crossover.

Though it’s called a crossover there, Toyota is still calling it a sedan stateside. Why? Because the proportions are definitely those of a sedan, including a coupe-like roofline, low hood, and — maybe most importantly — a trunk.

But the new 2023 Crown will be tall by sedan standards. Somewhat disguised by the 21-inch wheels, the Crown has a taller ride height and ends up with a roofline 4 inches higher than a Camry.

That makes Crown 60.6 inches tall, splitting the divide between Camry and Venza. Toyota calls the height “unique,” saying it offers better visibility as well as easier entry and exit.

We can’t help but think of Subaru’s Sport Utility Sedan version of the Outback or Volvo’s S60 Cross Country. Though this Toyota seems better integrated when it comes to the additional height where those were largely suspension lifts and body cladding.

Two Hybrids, Including New Hybrid Max

2023 Toyota Crown
(Photo/Toyota)

Crown will be hybrid only, offering two very distinct flavors of electrification. On XLE and Limited, Toyota offers a 2.5L four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. All-wheel drive comes from a motor on the rear axle.

No horsepower figure was given — expect it to be around the 219 horsepower currently offered in the Venza — but Toyota expects 38 mpg combined fuel economy.

The second hybrid system is a new one for Toyota. Called Hybrid Max, this one uses a 2.4L turbocharged engine along with electric motors and has a six-speed automatic instead of Toyota’s eCVT.

Found only on the top-spec Platinum, this system will get a more powerful rear motor for better all-wheel drive performance. Total output will be 340 horsepower, and Toyota says it will offer “sporty, exhilarating driving.” Fuel economy is disappointing at an estimated 28 mpg combined.

Big on Size, Big on Quiet

2023 Toyota Crown
(Photo/Toyota)

Fitting of a flagship sedan, Toyota has gone big on making the car quiet. The priority wasn’t on a specific decibel figure, though, but instead on making it a place where you can chat and listen to music in more detail.

Even the tires and wheels are designed to reduce road noise transmission into the cabin. There is acoustic glass and a sound-absorbing pad between the engine bay and cabin. Toyota has also connected the inner rocker panels and bulkheads with adhesive to work to control noise.

The cabin is typical Toyota in design and gets Toyota’s latest multimedia system. A 12.3-inch touchscreen is standard, and over-the-air updates will be available. The system uses Google POI data, has real-time traffic and other information, and offers a “Hey Toyota” virtual assistant and natural speech control.

Crown Platinum Offers New Tech

2023 Toyota Crown
(Photo/Toyota)

Platinum will offer advanced tech features including letting drivers use their smartphone instead of the key. It will have Toyota’s self-parking system as well as adaptive suspension.

All grades of Crown get Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, which includes radar cruise control, lane recognition, auto high beams, and other common driver assists. This latest version adds improved sensors with better detection of obstacles and more natural operation.

The 2023 Toyota Crown will arrive at dealers before the end of the year. Toyota didn’t list pricing for the new sedan, but we expect it to start near $40,000, the price of the Avalon it is replacing.

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Evan Williams
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Evan has been drooling over cars since the time he learned to walk. Since then he's worked on controlling the drooling and expanded his interests to include hiking, cycling, and kayaking. He went to school for engineering but transitioned into a more satisfying career and has been writing automotive and outdoors news for nearly a decade