Toyota Canada dealerships will have a new old nameplate for the 2023 model year. The top of the Toyota lineup will be a high-riding sedan with a distinctive two-tone palette, a standard hybrid drivetrain, and an on-demand all-wheel drive (AWD) system. It wears a name that’s beloved in Japan but has been absent from the Canadian market since 1972.
Meet the 2023 Toyota Crown.
Toyota Moves Upmarket for An Avalon Replacement
Toyota has long made an excellent full-size sedan. But it never received the love it should have in the Canadian market. Many car critics consider the Toyota Avalon full-size sedan a quietly great car. It offered Lexus-like refinement, a responsive but quiet V6, and even more space than the ubiquitous mid-size Camry sedan. The Avalon was enough to get our critic to call it “a luxury car for people who don’t want to pay luxury car prices.” But it wasn’t enough to save the Avalon, which Toyota stopped selling in Canada after the 2021 model year.
In its place will come something harder to ignore.
A Blend of Sedan and SUV Traits
The Crown rides high, like an SUV, but wears a sedan’s body. Toyota says it’s nearly four inches taller than the Camry for “increased road visibility, along with easy entry and exit.” But it avoids the rugged, outdoorsy look of other high-riding sedans with sculpted bodies. A fastback rear lends a sporty air.
An unusual two-tone colour scheme draws the eye. But Toyota says it will be offered only on the top-of-the-line Platinum trim.
Toyota says the Crown will reach dealerships “later this year.” They’ll reveal pricing closer to that time. In Japan, the Crown has long enjoyed a luxury car reputation. If Toyota hopes to replicate that status in Canada, a starting price in the mid-$45,000 range makes sense.
Classic Look Inside
Inside, the look is on the line between Toyota and Lexus. A tall transmission tunnel insulates driver from passenger—opposite the airy design aesthetic most cars seem to go for this year. A curved dashboard houses the driver’s instrument screen and central touchscreen in a single bezel. But they are clearly divided, avoiding the one-wide-screen look much of the competition seems to have embraced.
All trim levels get a 12.3-inch infotainment screen. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is Toyota’s voice assistant for verbal commands.
A Choice of Two Hybrid Powertrains
Available in three trim levels—XLE, Limited, and Platinum—the 2023 Toyota Crown will offer a choice of two different hybrid powertrains.
The HYBRID MAX powertrain—exclusive to the Crown Platinum grade—is Toyota’s all-new performance hybrid that puts out an estimated 340 net horsepower. With a 2.4-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission, Toyota says the “HYBRID MAX produces powerful torque at low RPM for sporty, exhilarating driving.” It has a manufacturer-estimated combined city/highway fuel consumption of 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres.
The Crown XLE and Limited trims are equipped with Toyota’s more conventional Hybrid System: a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder gas engine with a newly developed, high-output nickel-metal hydride battery to achieve a an estimated 6.2 L/100 km. Toyota Canada hasn’t announced power figures for that setup.
All Crowns come with on-demand AWD. The system powers the front wheels all the time and the rear wheels when needed for added traction.
Every trim level includes Toyota’s Safety Sense 3.0 suite of driver assists. It has smart cruise control with lane tracing assist, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, and a rear seat reminder that tracks whether a back door was opened before starting and reminds the driver to check for rear seat passengers on shutting down.