Toyota tries to split difference between sedan and SUV in 2023 Crown hybrid

2023 Toyota Crown
2023 Toyota Crown

Toyota’s longest running model name will return to the United States this fall on a 2023 vehicle.

A tall sedan with a standard all-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain and vaguely SUV-ish looks, the 2023 Crown is expected to be the Toyota brand’s top car, filling the niche abandoned by the Avalon.

The Crown is a revered name within Toyota. As the Toyopet Crown, it was the company’s first mass-produced automobile in 1955, and the first Japanese car sold in the U.S. beginning in 1958. Toyota last sold a car called the Crown here in 1972, but the nameplate has remained on the lineup in Japan and elsewhere.

Toyota will build the Crown un Japan. It produced the Avalon in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Smaller, but taller than the Avalon

The new vehicle is the 15th-generation Crown.

Toyota appears to be trying to meld that heritage with the contemporary taste for SUVs by giving the new Crown big wheels and wheel wells and a tall profile.

Crown prices will be announced closer to when they go on sale.

The five-passenger sedan measures 194 inches long — 1.9 inches shorter than the Avalon, which just went out of production. It's fractionally narrower than the Avalon, but it’s 60.6-inch-high roof makes the Crown a whopping 4.1 inches taller than the Avalon. The Crown’s 112.2-inch wheelbase, a key dimension that affects passenger space and handling, is 0.8-inch shorter than the Avalon.

2023 Toyota Crown
2023 Toyota Crown

Toyota's betting the prestige of its longest-running model name on the theory that buyers' preference for SUVs can be sated by a puffed-up sedan that offers up to 21-inch wheels and tires.

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Two hybrid systems

Lower trim levels — XLE and Limited — will have a 2.5L engine and hybrid system with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Toyota’s not revealing that drivetrain’s power, but predicts it will get a 38 mpg rating in combined city and highway driving.

The top Platinum trim gets a more powerful system that Toyota calls Hybrid Max. It generates 340 horsepower and has a 2.4L engine, six-speed automatic transmission and electrically powered rear axle. Toyota predicts it will get 38 mpg in combined city and highway driving.

2023 Toyota Crown
2023 Toyota Crown

Interior features include Toyota’s cloud-based infotainment system; heated and ventilated front seats; heated rear seats; 12.3-inch landscape oriented touch screen and 11-speaker JBL audio.

Safety and driver assistance features include:

  • Hands-free parking

  • Pedestrian and motorcycle detection

  • Intersection assist

  • Adaptive cruise control

  • Automatic high beams

  • Lane departure alert and assist

  • Lane centering

  • Road sign recognition

  • Rear-seat reminder

  • Blind spot and cross traffic alerts

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Toyota revives Crown name in US with SUV-ish sedan