Toyota is reintroducing the Crown model to the U.S. market because it appears to spice up gross sales of its premium Toyota-branded sedans, regardless of declining client demand for these autos.
Even although the market has primarily switched towards SUVs and pickups, the Japanese carmaker credit a few of its place because the top-selling automaker within the U.S. from the continued gross sales —– and recognition — of its sedans at the same time as GM and Ford has deserted them.
Sure the numbers are unhealthy; lower than 22% of latest automobile gross sales in 2017 have been sedans, in comparison with greater than 50% in 2009. The decline is steep sufficient to persuade Hyundai Motor Group to cease promoting quite a few Hyundai and Kia sedans.
But it’s not stopping Toyota.
The new mannequin is the start of a Crown premium sub-brand, of which this mannequin is the primary. In Japan, there shall be 4 totally different Crown fashions, together with this one. The U.S. will get this mannequin for now, which was designed “mostly for this market,” in accordance with a Toyota spokesperson.
A brand new search for the Crown
The new Crown doesn’t resemble any earlier automobile sporting the nameplate. Shorter but taller than the Avalon sedan, the Crown’s proportions recall to mind the Mercedes-Benz EQ line of autos, with a sloping rear greenhouse suggesting it’s a five-door hatchback, nevertheless it’s really a four-door sedan with a brand new proportion.
Toyota officers discuss with it as a lifted-up sedan, hoping to attraction to prospects who need the upper trip top, simpler ingress and egress of an SUV, however packaged in a sedan with the identical type of efficiency.
Toyota was cautious to take away Crown emblems from the automobile that you just’d see in Japan. Toyota wished to make it possible for shoppers knew this was a Toyota.
Toyota will supply the automobile in ascending XLE, Limited and Platinum trim ranges with a alternative of two gas-electric hybrid powertrains. It’s constructed on the TNGA-Okay platform with a MacPherson entrance suspension and a multi-link rear. It’s the identical structure that underpin the present Toyota Avalon, Camry, Highlander, RAV4, and Sienna amongst different Toyota and Lexus fashions.
Measuring 194 inches lengthy on a 112.2-inch wheelbase, it’s almost two inches shorter than the Avalon sedan it replaces, and rides on a 1-inch shorter wheelbase. But it’s greater than 4 inches taller, permitting for a better seating place, not in contrast to a crossover SUV. This contrasts with the outgoing Avalon, which had its trip top lowered for 2019, and additional lowered on its TRD mannequin.
While Toyota didn’t present many specs in regards to the new notchback, however they did say that trunk area was corresponding to that of the outgoing Toyota Avalon.
Choosing the top-of-the-line Platinum brings with it a bit extra bling, as may be seen right here, with two-tone paint, machined 21-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels with black accents, and an adaptive variable suspension. Crown Limited trims even have 21s, whereas the XLE makes do with smaller 19-inch wheels.
Under the hood
The Crown shall be powered by certainly one of two hybrid powertrains.
Platinum fashions get Toyota’s new Hybrid Max driveline, which the corporate describes as a performance-focused hybrid system. It mates a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine to an electrical motor at every finish and a direct shift six-speed computerized transmission on the entrance engine. Rather than using a torque converter, the Crown’s transmission makes use of a a number of blade, hydraulic moist clutch, a know-how sometimes reserved for bikes to reinforce efficiency.
The rear engine is bigger, to deal with the extra torque and supply energy to the rear wheels. The engine produces 340 horsepower and achieves an estimated 28 mpg in accordance with the producer. To enhance its enjoyable issue, Toyota has calibrated the Hybrid Max system to supply peak torque at 2,000-to-3,000 rpm. All-wheel drive comes commonplace, and is ready to distribute from 20% entrance, 80% rear to 70% entrance, 30% rear relying on driving circumstances. The Crown additionally comes commonplace with Normal, Eco, Sport, Sport+, Comfort, and Custom driving modes.
A extra environment friendly, fourth-generation hybrid system is commonplace on the XLE and Limited. It has a usually aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a repeatedly variable shift-by-wire computerized transmission that produces 236 horsepower whereas delivering an estimated 38 mpg. Like the Hybrid Max, this mannequin additionally has two engines, however one energizes the battery. The different powers the automobile, offering front-wheel-drive until added traction is required within the rear. There is an ordinary drive mode selector with Normal, Eco, and Sport driving modes.
All Crowns use nickel steel hydride batteries, relatively than Lithium Ion batteries. The firm says its partially as a result of it really works completely effectively proper now, and is simpler to fabricate given the present provide constraints for manufacturing lithium ion batteries
Let’s speak tech
When it involves its tech bundle, Toyota makes some extent of spotlighting the tech that enhances driving enjoyable, reminiscent of Active Cornering Assist, which prompts the soundness management to reduce understeer throughout cornering. It additionally has Toyota’s Advanced Park System, which may spot an open parking area and parallel or perpendicular park the automobile for you. As you’d count on, such driver-assistance security techniques as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Hill Start Assist are commonplace. For peace of thoughts, it’s additionally geared up with commonplace Toyota Safety Connect, which provides Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification.
Perhaps a very powerful piece of tech is Toyota’s new multimedia system. Developed in America – the earlier one got here from Japan – it features a cloud-based navigation system with over-the-air updates. A six-speaker sound system is commonplace on the XLE, as is wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth and with Wi-Fi 4G connectivity for as much as 5 smartphones. A premium 11-speaker JBL audio system with a rear subwoofer, and 8-channel amplifier is out there.
A sedan meets its maker
The Crown arrives as Toyota discontinues the Avalon sedan after the 2022 mannequin yr. The Avalon debuted in 1994, constructed on the Toyota Camry’s structure and a step above in dimension. Known internally because the “Fat Camry,” it was initially meant to tackle such American sedan stalwarts because the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Crown Vctoria, and was initially geared up with an non-obligatory entrance bench seat.
Initially widespread, gross sales declined together with the premium mainstream sedan section by which it competed. During its lifetime, the sedan garnered an older clientele, which the corporate tried valiantly to vary. For its newest technology, redesigned in 2019, the automaker added a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) mannequin with a lowered trip top, blackened exterior trim and a filtered engine sound by means of the audio system whereas juicing the exhaust be aware.
It didn’t work. In 2018, Toyota offered 33,581 Avalons. Redesigned the next yr, gross sales sank 17.3% to 27,767 items. Last yr, the corporate offered 19,460 items, 42% fewer than 4 years earlier.
With the Crown, Toyota is seeking to radically remake its premium sedan lineup.
A reputation most shoppers received’t keep in mind
Few Americans keep in mind the Toyota Crown throughout its first run, nevertheless it was by no means very fashionable, wither.
Debuting in Japan in 1955 as Toyota’s flagship sedan, the automobile arrived within the United States in 1958 because the Toyopet Crown, and was the primary Japanese car to be provided on the market in America.
But it wasn’t prepared.
Toyota’s personal high-speed endurance testing in Japan confirmed that the engine immediately began making loud noises and output fell when the Crown was pushed on a freeway. Despite being deemed insufficient for gross sales in America, it was determined to promote it anyway in gentle of the Crown’s constructive repute in Japan, and its success all through the 50,000-kilometer (31,038 mile) drive from London to Tokyo.
Performance and high quality points rapidly materialized, together with a scarcity of output at excessive pace, insufficient high-speed stability, excessive noise and vibration, irregular vibration, and elements deforming and breaking.
Nevertheless, Toyota changed it with a brand new mannequin by 1961, and continued to promote it in small numbers as their flagship providing by means of 1972.
But Toyota is hoping for much greater issues with the 2023 Crown when it goes on sale within the fall. The firm is hoping to draw a little bit extra prosperous purchaser than than the Avalon, in addition to one who’s youthful. The automaker is hoping to draw an older Millennial or Gen X purchaser, age 35 to 59 years previous. The median purchaser age for the Avalon is 66 years previous, the oldest within the fleet. That’s one purpose the Crown comes solely with a hybrid driveline.
Of course, it additionally depends upon the costs, which Toyota will announce at a later date together with extra particulars in regards to the automobile.