More and more manufacturers are revising classic nameplates, attaching them to vastly different vehicles. And although not as dramatic as transforming the Maverick from a compact coupe to a hybrid pickup truck, the 2023 Toyota Crown doesn’t exactly buck the trend.
When Toyota announced the Avalon would be getting the axe last August, it wasn’t exactly hard to see why. The sedan market is drying up in North America, with more and more consumers choosing to opt for ground clearance found in crossovers instead. What many didn’t see coming, your author included, was a replacement more akin to the Honda Accord Crosstour.
Instead of fully committing to the crossover trend, Toyota decided to create what they call a “lift-up sedan”. The traditional three-box sedan look has been essentially given a lift kit, offering buyers a more comfortable seating position and improved visibility without forcing them into a liftback. The Crown sits almost 4 inches higher than the Camry, making ingress and egress easier than ever, a big selling point for the Avalon’s typical clientele.
The 2023 Crown rides on a newly developed chassis based on Toyota’s GA-K platform, which also underpins the outgoing Avalon, Camry, Highlander, RAV4, Sienna, as well as a handful of Lexus models. Toyota promises confident handling bundled with supreme comfort and a sophisticated ride. All wheel drive is standard, as is a hybrid powertrain, regardless of trim level.
Both the entry-level XLE trim and mid-tier Limited trim are powered by Toyota’s Fourth Generation Hybrid System. This traditional 2.5L 4-cylinder setup offers 236 horsepower and can return up to 38 miles per gallon (city/highway combined). Stepping up to the Platinum trim unlocks Toyota’s all new performance HYBRID MAX system. Featuring a turbocharged 2.4L 4-cylinder, direct-shift 6 speed automatic, and electric motor on the rear axle, drivers can enjoy an estimated 340 horsepower combined with instant torque. To further support the performance talk, the Platinum trim comes standard with adaptive variable suspension, six unique drive modes, and 21 inch wheels.
The XLE trim is available in your choice of five exterior colors paired with a black woven fabric interior. Heated, power front seats are standard, along with a new 12.3 inch touchscreen system and six speaker sound system. The Limited trim adds a fixed panoramic roof, multibeam LED headlights, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, an 11 speaker JBL sound system, rain-sensing wipers, and rear-cross traffic emergency braking. An optional Technology Package adds 21 inch wheels, a 360-view surround camera, and digital smartphone key access. You can also choose between black, black and chestnut, and macadamia interior colors. Platinum trim includes the larger engine, automatic parking, and unique bi-tone paint options. All trims also include Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 standard, giving you radar cruise control, pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, road sign recognition, and lane tracing assist.
Toyota promises an incredibly composed, quiet ride. To help achieve this, they stress a high-strength platform that’ll reduce vibrations, strategically placed insulation in the wheel wells, acoustic glass, a sound absorbing pad between the engine bay and cabin, and filled spaces around door frames, wiring, and window openings. All of these fixes are optimized to minimize noise in the frequencies that most interfere with regular conversations.
Pricing is yet to be announced by Toyota, but their marketing department says that the Crown is aimed at 35-39 year olds with a $125,000 median income. The Avalon started around $37,000 and maxed out right around $45,000. Expect to see the first Crown’s at your Toyota dealer this Winter.