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2024 Toyota Crown

An elevated sedan both physically and in its entire package.

The Crown is a historical name for Toyota that dates to 1955 in Japan. It's a prominent luxury sedan overseas that holds the distinction of being the longest running passenger-car nameplate affixed to any Toyota model. The Crown was first exported to the US from 1958 - 1972 before being replaced by an alternative model in the US. The name returned to the US in 2022 as an all-new sedan that filled the void left by the long-running Avalon. The current Crown has an innovative look with bold styling, an elevated ride height and exclusive hybrid powertrain.

For 2024 it is available in three grades known as XLE, Limited, and Platinum... all coming standard with AWD. Toyota has also already announced that a new Nightshade Edition will join that mix for 2025. The Crown is available with the choice of either the Hybrid MAX or standard Toyota Hybrid System. The standard system pairs front and rear electric motors with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine to deliver a combined 236 horsepower. The Hybrid MAX utilizes a turbocharged 2.4L 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors with a combined 340 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.

2025 models are already arriving at dealers with the only change being the new grade. 2025 model prices start at $41,440 for the XLE and top out at a starting price of $54,990 for the Platinum. Competition is limited as the Crown sits in a unique segment. The most logical competitors include the Acura TLX, Honda Accord Hybrid, Subaru Legacy, and Lexus ES. Many of its initial full-size competitors such as the Nissan Maxima, Volkswagen Arteon, Dodge Charger, and Chrysler 300 have all faced the chopping block this year. I spent time in Crown Platinum that checked in at $56,183 and here's what stood out.

Exterior Style (+)
I personally like sedans and think Toyota did a nice job with the Crown's styling. It has a unique design with its higher ride height of 60.6" (Camry is 56.9") and 5.8" of ground clearance.  Part of that height comes from either the standard 19" or available 21" wheels (the largest ever on a Toyota sedan).  Its presence is strong with balanced proportions and minimal overhangs. The side profile flows into a broader rear end and features rounded edges and sweeping character lines. It has a fastback look but comes with a standard trunk. Up front is a large faux grille in the lower front fascia with a textured design and slim LED headlights. Around back it, LED lighting stretched across the trunk with C-R-O-W-N spelled out across the center and the license plate in the lower bumper. It's an elegant looking sedan.

And for even more flare the Crown is available with a two-tone paint job that paints the top of the car (roof, front hood, and rear trunk) from front to the back bumper in black paired with red, white, bronze, or gray. During my time with the two-toned red/black combination I receive more love than hate on that paint combination.

Powertrain (+)
While this is not a performance-oriented sedan by any means, it is a very comfortable riding car. Having spent time in the more powerful 340-horsepower Hybrid MAX, it delivered ample power for an engaging and refined ride. Acceleration is smooth from a stop, and it will get from 0-60 MPH in under 6 seconds. Power is appropriately responsive on the highway as well for merging on or passing other vehicles.  The Hybrid MAX pairs with a 6-speed automatic that glides through the gears. Steering is well-weighted and brakes are confident.

It handles well around corners but does feel heavy. The Platinum model is equipped with an adaptive suspension that improves ride quality on all kinds of road surfaces. The ride is smooth and quiet. Various settings allow the driver to customize the ride feel to personal preferences. Toyota Crown's suspension consists of a MacPherson strut in the front and a multilink rear suspension in the rear. Swing valve shock absorbers are equipped on the Limited and XLE grade and an Adaptive Variable Suspension comes standard on the Platinum grade. Each option is intended to give Crown a smooth ride that minimizes head movement. Drivers can also throw the shifter into fixed gear mode, for paddle-shifted fun.

The Hybrid MAX equipped Platinum grade receives a comprehensive drive mode selection - which not only includes NORMAL, ECO and SPORT but adds three drive modes: SPORT+ mode that provides an emphasis on steering response, flat cornering and a sense of stability, COMFORT mode that provides a more supple drive that emphasizes passenger comfort and a CUSTOM mode that enables drivers to adjust system settings individually, creating a safe profile that suits their driving habits.

XLE & Limited models come with the less-powerful 236 horsepower 2.5L 4-cylinder that pairs with an electronic continuously variable automatic. While I have not personally driven this model, other reviews mention that it is sufficient, but less refined than the Hybrid MAX.

Standard AWD (+)
The XLE and Limited grades come standard with Toyota's Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive and the Platinum grade comes with Full-time Electronic All-Wheel Drive, two highly efficient systems that take maximum advantage of the hybrid powertrain's benefits. Instead of using a transfer case and driveshaft to the rear wheels, Electronic On-Demand AWD on the XLE and Limited grades employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. Electronic On-Demand AWD achieves stable performance by driving the rear wheels with a rear motor, to provide traction when needed in slippery conditions.

Full-Time Electronic AWD paired with Hybrid MAX delivers power to the front and rear wheels via a front-mounted hybrid motor and a rear-mounted, eAxle electric motor. This system supports stable AWD performance and satisfying acceleration. This new AWD system enhances the drive force of the rear wheels and provides the feel of rear-wheel-drive maneuverability, straight line stability and responsive acceleration.

Fuel Economy (+/-)
Despite being exclusively a hybrid sedan, the Crown returns below average fuel economy ratings compared to other hybrid sedans. The XLE and Limited get 42 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, while the Platinum model gets 29 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. When it arrived with a full 14.5-gallon tank, it offered an estimated driving range of around 435 miles. The more efficient 2.5L 4-cylinder system offers closer to 600 miles of driving range on a single tank. Overall, the numbers are still better than most non-hybrid sedans.

Interior / Technology(+/-)
Hopping inside you'll find a modern, yet simple interior. Behind the steering wheel is a 12.3" multi-information digital gauge cluster that can display various information including a hybrid indicator, audio information, speedometer, and more. All models feature the Toyota Audio Multimedia system. With an available 12.3-inch touchscreen, the system offers a wide range of connectivity and convenience features, including Over-the-Air updates. Users can interact with the system through touch and voice activation. The screen is a reasonable size and well-placed. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. Below the screen are climate and seat comfort controls. There is a vertical wireless phone charger that I really liked the placement of. The phone sits nicely in the charger without blocking anything or sliding out of place. There are two decent sized cup holders and USB-C ports available in the center console along with a storage compartment with a lid that conveniently opens in either direction.  Speaking of cup holders, the Crown also features large cup holders in the doors capable of holding larger Stanley style cups.

The Crown has an electronic gear shifter with a small lever that tips forward or back to put in gear. I found the selector to be a bit sensitive and sometimes more complicated than it should be to shift into gear. It was especially sensitive when I tried to put it in Neutral to run the Crown through a car wash. Perhaps it gets more intuitive in time, but it feels like it shouldn't be so tough to select the gear. The overall layout is functional and clean. There are some harder plastics in use, but the fit & finish is solid with minimal gaps and durable materials.

Seating (+/-)
The Crown comfortably seats five passengers with ample head, leg, and shoulder room up front. Rear seat head room is more limited due to the sloping roof, but still decent for the segment. It comes standard with cloth and synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, eight-way power-adjustable front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Genuine leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel are available. The seats are comfortable and seating position is very good for passengers of all sizes. Front seat adjustments include slide, recline, tilt, height adjustment and lumbar support (driver seat only). Rear seats include ample cushioning and bolster support for maximum enjoyment.

Interior ambiance (+)
Toyota Crown Platinum and Limited grades include a standard fixed panoramic moonroof. While I appreciate the full glass roof and greenhouse lighting, I do wish there was an option for a functioning sunroof as well.  For added function and ambience, in-cabin LED lighting adds a premium feel. Illumination includes overhead and front/rear footwell lighting, cup holders, USB ports and door handle accents.

Cargo Room (-)
There is 15.2 cubic feet of trunk space, and a power trunk is unavailable. There is standard 60/40 split-folding rear seat backs that can be released via a button in the trunk. They don't fold completely flat but do allow for some additional space. Cargo capacity is average too low for a car this size. It's generally the same size as the Camry (15.1 cu.ft.) but is less than models like the Hyundai Sonata (16 cu.ft.) or Honda Accord (16.7 cu.ft.).

Safety (+)
The Crown comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 that includes the following:

* Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
* Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
* Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist.
* Lane Tracing Assist
* Road Sign Assist
* Automatic High Beams
* Proactive Driving Assist

Additionally, standard convenience features include Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Rear Seat Reminder.

Standard on the Platinum grade is Toyota's Advanced Park System. Sensors identify an open parking space, then once selected by the driver, the system controls steering, shifting, acceleration and braking for hands-free parallel or reverse/forward perpendicular parking. Traffic Jam Assist, Front-Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist are also now standard on the Platinum grade and available through the Advanced Tech package on the Limited grade.  

Final Statement:
The Toyota Crown sits in a class of its own now with its larger size, elevated height, and hybrid-only powertrains. It's a unique offering that offers a nice alternative to the long list of crossovers. With a modern design, respectable power, and refined ride quality it is a great alternative to higher priced luxury models. While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, for the right buyer this is a solid option from Toyota.

First Impression Summary:
Test Vehicle:
2024 Toyota Crown Platinum
Exterior Color: Supersonic Red/ Black
Interior Color: Black Leather
Options: Paint ($425), Two-tone paint ($530), Illuminated Door Sills ($345), Side Puddle Lamps ($165), Carpet Mat Package ($300)
MSRP as tested: $56,183 (With Delivery/Destination)

Pros: Hybrid Powertrain, Turbocharged power, Refined Ride Quality, Standard AWD, Intuitive Technology
Cons: Average Fuel Economy, Average Cargo Room, Quirky Electronic Gear Selector