I’ll admit, the first time I saw a new Toyota Crown I was not impressed. I think it was at the D.C. Auto Show, and while I was quite taken with the in-your-face styling, I was confused by, well that very same styling. However, I am a professional and when Toyota asked me if I wanted to spend as week with one, I was very much in. We don’t get many sedans to test these days and the damn thing is brown, which I love. So, let’s see if I started to come around on the Crown by the end of the week. Or…not.
2023 Toyota Crown Overview
Check it out dear hoons, this is the SIXTEENTH generation of Toyota’s Crown! They have had a Crown in production since 1955, which is absolutely wild to consider. They have generally been rear wheel drive sedans, though this new one (the first in our market) is also sort of considered a crossover. Looks like a sedan to me bro.
The Crown comes in typical Toyota trim levels, starting at just over $40,000 for the XLE up to just over $53,000 for the Platinum trim like our tester. The XLE and Limited have to make the best of a 236 horsepower Hybrid Max system, while our Platinum gets a more than decent bump up to 340 hp.
You can opt for an interesting variety of colors including five monotone and four dual-tone options. Everything aside from black and gray will cost you, specifically $425 for solid and $975 for dual-tone. We got the very cool “Bronze Age with Black Bi-Tone” option which obviously isn’t really brown, but it’s close. All Crowns get black leather interior.
There are no packages or options available, just a host of accessories to choose from. Out the door our test car was $55,440 so let’s see how well it stacks up to it’s MSRP.
2023 Toyota Crown Platinum Inside & Out
So, the exterior is one of the most polarizing designs I’ve ever seen. That meant that it got a lot of comments out on the street, more on that in a bit. I tried, but I’m still not fully on board with the whole thing if I’m honest. The rear sort of reminds me of the jokes people made about the BMW i8 when it was first unveiled, specifically it appeared as if it was giving birth to a Porsche 911. In the Crown as well it’s as if another car (heck maybe a new 911 based on that light bar) is awkwardly coming out of the back of the Crown sort of like Ace Ventura coming out of a fake rhinoceros.
It’s a striking looking thing, I’ll give you that. It’s just not for me.
The inside is a bit more “normal”, with a fairly typical Toyota interior. Only the bronze accents running the length of the dashboard and wrapping around the vents on either side belie the quirkiness that exists on the outside of the Crown. It’s pretty well-equipped too.
- 21-inch two-tone alloy wheels
- Paddle shifters
- Upgraded LED headlights
- Panoramic glass roof
- Automatic windshield wipers
- Keyless entry and keyless start
- Leather upholstery
- 12.3-inch center touchscreen
- Multiple USB charge ports
- Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- Wireless charging pad
- Ventilated front seats
- Heated rear seats
- Heated steering wheel
- 11-speaker JBL audio system
- Front and rear parking sensors with automatic braking
- Adaptive suspension
- Surround-view camera system
- Advanced Park system
So yeah, lots of good stuff and It’s all well laid out, the seats were nicely bolstered and it was a pretty nice place to spend some time. And spend some time I did, the Crown was an absolute holiday workhorse this year, arriving for the week of December 18 – 27 just in time to tackle all the holiday driving.
The trunk is decently sized for carrying presents, with 15.2 cubic feet of capacity, generally pretty average for the class.
2023 Toyota Crown Platinum On the Road
However, that’s all well and good, but I drove the hell out of the Crown and made a lot of notes in my log. First, the 340 hp hybrid powertrain has some giddy up (60 mph arrives in around six-seconds), especially in Sport+. The CTV transmission was fine, not the worst I’ve experienced. It wouldn’t downshift to “1st” until I was almost stopped, even in fun mode, so it’s clearly designed more for daily cruising vs. hooning. As I said, the Crown was the absolute holiday travel workhorse and the seats were very comfortable, plus it rides well.
I didn’t find much else that I didn’t like from a driving experience perspective. The first time I got out it kept obsessively beeping at me. I thought that that was a bit annoying, obnoxious even, but then once I got to my apartment I realized it was trying to tell me that I left my phone in the charger. Oops. The trunk release button is very well hidden, lodged somewhere above the “W” and “N” up in the deck lid. That’s something you might get used to have owned it but it took several adults more than than I want to admit to find it and load up presents.
The elephant in the room was the mpg rating though. I got a computer-estimated 26 miles per gallon, which isn’t amazing for a hybrid vehicle, but way better than my two gas guzzlers at home. EPA estimates are around 30 mph combined, so it’s likely related to my driving style, though Edmunds got 26.9 mpg in their testing. For the whole “Hybrid-Max” thing to work, I think it needs a bit more mpg or a bit more power to have it makes sense.
Overall, I appreciate that Toyota is still making sedan instead of SUVs. Well, they are making those as well, you know what I mean. It’s not pretty, it’s really not pretty, but it is very much interesting and works pretty well as a car. I got a ton of unsolicited compliments on the streets, plus the fact of my 19-year-old son thinks it’s pretty cool might negate some of my negativity about the looks. If you are a quirky person, maybe someone who would have wanted a Saab back in the day (no offense) and want something that stands out, the Toyota Crown should be on your shopping list.