We had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the 2023 Toyota Crown a few months ago. I’ll admit, we walked away a bit puzzled. It had the swoopy proportions of the recently launched bZ4X EV, which we consider a crossover. But it looked an awful lot like a sedan.
And without being able to open any of the doors, we couldn’t tell if the vehicle had a trunk or a hatchback. Now that we’ve had a chance to see it in person, we’ll be honest, we’re still a bit confused.
It has a trunk, so it must be a sedan? Well, it also has a lifted ride height, so it’s a crossover?
Yeah. I have no clue how to classify this one. So, I figured I’d focus on the more crossover attributes and put the 2023 Toyota Crown in a new class I’m going to call the sedanover.
The biggest thing to point out here is the raised ride height. The 2023 Toyota Crown will be nearly 4 inches higher than the Toyota Camry. While this gives it more of an SUV look to it, it also provides better visibility as well as easier entry/exit from all seating positions.
If you look at just the silhouette, the Crown beats a resemblance to the various “sport” crossovers with the egg shapes like the BMW X4 and Audi Q3 Sportback. The primary difference between that and this: Those vehicles have a hatchback, and the Crown has a trunk.
The 2023 Toyota Crown will be built on the global GA-K platform, which underpins both sedans and SUVs. With an overall length of 194 inches, height of 60.9 inches and width of 72.4 inches, that makes it longer than the Toyota RAV4 and taller than the Toyota Camry. For reference, the BMW X4 has a length of 187.5 inches and a height of 63.8 inches.
Since this is just a preliminary reveal, we don’t have full tech specs, but we presume the cargo volume of the trunk will sit closer to the Camry’s 15.1 cubic feet than the RAV4’s 37.5 cubic feet. The outgoing full-size Toyota Avalon sedan had a cargo volume of 16.1 cubic feet.
In addition to the crossover proportions, the Crown will get large-diameter wheels that, as Toyota points out, adds to the “lift-up” style. There will be standard 19-inch wheels, with available 21-inch wheels on Limited and Platinum trims.
One of the big “crossover” attributes on the 2023 Toyota Crown will be the standard all-wheel drive. The Crown will have two versions of Toyota’s on-demand electric AWD: E-Four AWD and E-Four Advanced. The former will be standard on XLE and Limited trims, while the latter will be on the Platinum.
While both of these systems use a separate rear-mounted motor to send power to the rear wheels when needed, the E-Four Advance is paired with the Hybrid Max powertrain and utilizes a rear-mounted eAxle electric motor. This up-level system delivers rear-wheel-drive maneuverability, straight-line stability and comfortable turning.
Toyota’s new mantra seems to be “hybrid all the things.” Both the Sienna minivan and Sequoia full-size SUV are hybrid-only powertrains, and for the first time, the Toyota Tundra full-size pickup truck now has a hybrid version. So, the fact the 2023 Toyota Crown is hybrid only, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
What’s interesting is Toyota is offering two different hybrid systems for the first time. The base system is Toyota’s fourth-generation hybrid system (THS), which utilizes a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. While we don’t have any horsepower numbers for this powertrain, the similar system in the Sienna delivers 245 horsepower, so we anticipate similar numbers for the Crown. Combined fuel economy for the THS-equipped Crowns is estimated to be 38 MPG in combined driving.
Toyota calls the up-level system “Hybrid Max,” and it is only available on the Platinum trim. It is an all-new performance-focused system that should be fun to drive as well as efficient. The Hybrid Max powertrain has a 2.4-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine as well as two motors specifically design for the higher power output. Combined output here is 340 horsepower. It is estimated to deliver 28 MPG in combined driving.
One other interesting thing to note here is that the base THS will be paired with an electric continuously variable transmission, which is par for the course among hybrids, but the Hybrid Max system gets a direct-shift 6-speed automatic.
Because this is an all-new vehicle for Toyota, there are a lot of other interesting features and details. It gets Toyota’s new infotainment system with the 12.3-inch touchscreen that we’ve seen on Tundra, bZ4X and Sequoia. Other standard features include heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, digital gauge cluster, wireless charging, USB-A and USB-C charge ports, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Available features include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 360-degree camera, passive entry on all four doors, JBL premium audio, smart phone as a key functionality and advanced hands-free parking.
If you’re going to classify a vehicle by its caboose (still standing by my declaration that Hyundai Santa Cruz is a pickup), then the 2023 Toyota Crown is certainly a sedan. But it has enough crossover attributes to make it interesting.
Will it be enough to give the sedan segment new life? That, I don’t know.
So, stay tuned as we watch this “sedanover” segment.