February 29, 2024
Wheels

Crown is spacious sedan focused on premium cabin comforts

Toyota updates interior for 2024, keeps pricing affordable

The 2023 Crown is a raised sedan that pushes the styling boundaries for Toyota while delivering a truly premium experience.

It is not often that Toyota steps outside the conservative “box” on the styling of their vehicles, but the Crown is their most aggressive exterior-styled vehicle. You don’t reach the heights the Japanese auto manufacturer has in sales worldwide by not giving your customers what they want. So, the question still begs, what is the Toyota Crown sedan?

In the most basic terms, the Crown, introduced in 2023, is a raised sedan, which means you sit higher in the cabin. The seating position is not the end of the selling points that for many will reside inside the premium cabin. On the outside, well, that’s going to be up to you. For me, I like the more aggressive look and athletic stance with the standard 19-inch rims.

Granted, a lot is going on with the exterior metal and signature edges, though, from a design standpoint, the swooping lines do create genuine continuity from the rear to the extended nose. Most of the criticism I’ve heard is directed at the black, plastic insert running above the rocker panel and the huge black grille that dominates the front cowl.

I give Toyota points for taking the Crown outside the conservative box for styling.

New for 2024

Notable changes for the 2024 model are relegated to the interior, with updates to soft-touch materials and steel-colored accents across XLE, Limited and Platinum grades. This is a Lexus-like interior and the real spotlight deservedly should be on it.

The mid-range Limited can now be ordered with the Advance Technology package, which includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, a lane-change assist feature, and a front cross-traffic alert system; the top-spec Platinum trim gets those features as standard.

Performance

My Platinum tester had most of the top-end bells and whistles, but it is important to understand the impressive performance you can get all the way through the stable of trim levels. All Crown models offer all-wheel drive and a hybrid, but only the Platinum gets the Hybrid Max setup, which pairs a 2.4-liter four-cylinder turbo with an electric motor on the rear axle for a combined 340 horsepower.

The XLE and Limited models offer a 236-hp hybrid system that uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and three electric motors. The XLE and Limited have a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) while the Platinum offers a more responsive 6-speed automatic.

No doubt my Platinum tester with the more powerful setup is the choice if you want to launch yourself into faster speeds as quickly as possible. I found the Crown’s suspension to be tuned for a comfortable ride, so high-speed cornering is not advised. The Platinum model does come with adaptive dampers that tighten the feel up and make the aggressive exterior translate to the pavement.

The base-hybrid Crown will get you 42 mpg city and 41 mpg highway. My Platinum model with the Hybrid Max powertrain provided a very impressive 29 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

Interior

The spacious cabin of the Crown is the absolute highlight of the sedan. As mentioned earlier, the Lexus-level materials, fit and finish, are a value at Toyota’s price. The first thing you notice while sitting in the Crown is the elevated seating position, which is about the same as a compact SUV. It’s not a lot more than a sedan, but it is a real selling point in the American market.

Seating in the front and rear is generous in size and bolstering. Look for standard 8-way power-adjustable front seats with heat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and ambient interior lighting. Limited and Platinum trims add a huge panoramic sunroof, supple leather upholstery, and heated/ventilated front seats.

At the center of connectivity is the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are integrated into the infotainment software and connect to smartphones via a wireless connection.

A 6-speaker base stereo system gets upgraded in the Limited and Platinum models with an 11-speaker JBL audio system. Look for standard dual-zone automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink.

Safety

The Crown is a very safe sedan that offers a wide array of features to help avoid accidents and injury. My Crown featured the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 suite of driver assistance systems that includes Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, and a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. Add that mix to Automatic High Beams, Road Sign Assist, and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, as well as Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and you have peace of mind every time you get on the road.

Crown pricing starts at $40,050 for the entry-level XLE, though if you get hungry for the long options list you can find yourself in a Lexus-like price range topping out at about $54,000. Crown is a solid performer and a uniquely-styled vehicle compared to everything else Toyota offers.

John Stein is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. He has more than 25 years of experience driving, testing, and writing about the automotive industry, its latest innovations, and vehicles.