2023 Toyota Crown LTD Sedan - Review by David Colman +VIDEO
You’ve come a looong way, baby!
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
The Crown name may be new to you but it’s old hat to Toyota. Way back in 1958, Toyota’s pioneer offering in North America was a fusty-looking four-door sedan called the Toyopet Crown. It was the first Japanese car sold in America, and it was not a success. Toyota will do a lot better with the 2023 Crown Limited AWD, a rather mysterious amalgam of sedan and SUV, that proved both delightful to drive and a feast for the eyes.
The bifurcated mission of the new Crown became apparent when we opened the door of what appeared to be a five-passenger sedan and discovered the incongruous presence of ultra heavy-duty rubber floor mats front, rear and in the trunk as well. Now granted, such safari equipment is not standard issue since the “All Weather Mats” cost an extra $463. But they started to make sense when we noticed the exaggerated ride height of the Crown. We measured generous ground clearance of 8.5 inches at the front valance, 10.5 inches at the rocker panels, and 11 inches beneath the tail. Toyota has managed to achieve this lofty elevation despite the fact that they’ve equipped the Limited with 45 series Michelin Primacy Tour A/S radials mounted on 21-inch, 10-spoke alloy rims. The 225/45R21 Michelins carry an ultra-durable wear rating of TW 540. Base versions of the Crown make do with 19-inch diameter rims.
The only chrome used anywhere on the eye-catching body of the Crown can be found at the tail end, where “AWD” appears along with the word “CROWN.” A complete walk around the Crown shows that Toyota stylists used remarkable restraint in decorating this handsome piece of rolling stock. The large front grill is finished in piano black, a modest aluminum strip runs below the Crown’s nose, and a pair of signature blackout panels give definition to the sedan’s indented flanks. Our test Toyota sported a scintillating Supersonic Red paint job that was worth every penny of the $425 Premium Paint Charge.
Driving the crown was a blast. It’s quick enough to get you into and out of holes in traffic. It does so effortlessly, emitting an ethereal high-pitched moan when you stomp the throttle. The shift mechanism for the electronically controlled constant velocity transmission is derived from the Prius and takes a bit of familiarization before you get comfortable with what you’re doing. The stubby level for the ECVT box is neatly finished in a muted anodized shade of gold that matches the subtle trim strip across the face of the dash as well as the subdued gold piping trimming all seats front and rear.
The cabin of the Crown Limited is indeed a happy and cosseting place. The front seats are fully equipped with 3-position memory, electric positional adjustments, and 3-stage heating and ventilation. The top of the transmission tunnel offers a limited number of controls, the most important of which is a small but easily found Drive Mode switch. On challenging back roads, we discovered that selecting Sport rather than Normal immediately improved the steering feedback. In an instant, the Crown’s steering feel went from 1950s tuna boat to 2023 sports sedan. Rarely have we detected such a vast improvement from any other Drive Mode selector. The Michelin rubber sticks commendably despite its hard tread composition, and the Crown neither lists nor wallows, despite its elevated ride height.
When it comes to all-weather, all-road viability, Toyota has supplied the Crown with a stellar hybrid drive train that not only generates 236 horsepower but also powers all four wheels. A punchy gas-efficient (41MPG Overall) 2.5 liter inline 4 uses 3 electric motors to provide instant gratification when you’re up for some throttle stomping. Take this unlikely red rocket to your local track’s weekly drag race night, and your competition will be stunned to discover that even the base motor Crown will turn the 0-60mph sprint in 7.6 seconds, and crack 15.4 seconds in the standing start quarter mile. If that’s not quick enough to promote an adrenaline rush, then step up to the top specification Crown Premium which bumps horsepower to 340hp. That upgrade produces a 0-60mph time of 5.6 seconds and a SS ¼ mile run of 14 seconds flat. When you’re done running the drag strip you can take your Crown to the off-road park for some down and dirty rut-running.
Toyota has resuscitated the Crown name with a vehicle that’s as far removed from its predecessor as 2023 is from 1958. This newest entry to assume the Crown is good looking, practical, and quick. You can’t ask for more than that from a vehicle with a bottom line of just $50,648.
2023 TOYOTA CROWN LIMITED SEDAN
ENGINE: 2.5-liter inline 4DOHC, 16-valve + 3 AC Motors
HORSEPOWER: 236HP (Combined)
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 42MPG City/41MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $50,648
HYPES: Defines a New Category: Dual Utility Vehicle (DUV)
GRIPES: Feeble Windshield Washer Spray
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10
©2023 David E Colman