Nine of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the United States in 2022 were pickup trucks or sport utility vehicles. Once the top seller for American families, sedans continue to find fewer buyers.
Toyota decided not to embrace automotive conformity with its new 2023 Crown. It’s a large family sedan with SUV tendencies. It replaces the Toyota Avalon, which debuted as a 1995 model. It had a 27-year run until four straight years of diminished sales prompted its demise.
The 2023 Toyota Crown, loosely defined as a combination of a Toyota Camry and Toyota 4Runner, is available in XLE, Limited and Premium trims. All models feature a hybrid powertrain, with the XLE and Limited models including 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engines with 236 horsepower and three electric motors. The top-line Platinum model includes the new Hybrid Max setup. It matches a turbocharged 2.4-liter, four-cylinder with an electric motor on the rear axle for a combined 340 horsepower.
The XLE and Limited have continuously variable automatic transmissions (CVT); the Platinum uses a six-speed automatic. All-wheel-drive is standard throughout the lineup. Acceleration is rated at 7.2 seconds for the 0-to-60 miles per hour standard for the XLE and reviewed Limited offerings. The Premium completes the standard in 5.1 seconds.
With its hybrid powertrain, the XLE and Limited trims have EPA estimates of 42 miles per gallon in city driving, 41 mpg on the highway. The Premium trim is rated at 32 mpg in the city and on the highway. Standard are 19-inch wheels on the XLE and Limited, with 21-inch wheels optional on the Limited and standard on the Platinum.
As a premium offering, the 2023 Toyota Crown is a hybrid in two ways, its efficient engine and its raised driving position, an SUV trait. It’s the idea of providing a more versatile vehicle for a family not quite interested in a full-on SUV. The new vehicle is about four inches taller than the Avalon and nearly as tall as some mid-sized SUVs.
Standard equipment is standard Toyota, with a long list of safety, comfort and performance features. All Crown trims feature: eight-way power-adjustable front seats with heat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and ambient interior lighting. Limited and Platinum trims add a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats and a heating steering wheel.
The Crown has 15.2 cubic feet of trunk space and the rear seats fold down. A power liftgate is not available and the small button to open the trunk is oddly positioned on the right side of the trunk lid below the LED light strip
A 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard on all trims, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and wireless smartphone connectivity. A second 12.3-inch display features gauges within the driver’s, with convenience equipment including a smartphone charging pad, onboard Wi-Fi, five USB and two USC ports.
The base XLE trim has a six-speaker stereo; Limited and Platinum models are equipped with an 11-speaker JBL stereo.
Toyota doesn’t skimp on safety, with a lengthy list of driver-assistance features from automatic emergency braking with pedestrian section to automatic high-beam headlamps to land-departure warnings.
The 2023 Toyota Crown doesn’t have much competition as a hybrid hybrid, with its sibling, the Toyota Camry Hybrid as its most notable rival. The Camry doesn’t have the extreme futuristic design of the Crown and it isn’t raised.
With its midrange MSRP of $45,550 and reaching the $50,000 plateau with a few extras and fees, the Crown is a refreshing new vehicle. But Toyota offers so many options in its lineup, there may not be a strong enough niche market for consumers who simultaneously want and don’t want an SUV.