Aaron Turpen: The Crown Is Proof Toyota Can Make Pretty Cars

Automotive columnist Aaron Turpen writes, “The Crown has a lot in common with its predecessor, including similar drivetrains and a similar interior size. Unlike the ‘this is basically a Camrolla’ look of the Avalon, though, the Crown is … well … beautiful.”

Aaron Turpen

February 25, 20244 min read

2023 Toyota Crown 1 2 1 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Of all the automakers, Toyota is the most conservative. Taking big risks has not generally been the company’s style. Because of this, Toyota vehicles usually aren’t what anyone would call “edgy.”

Toyota’s overall corporate mantra has almost always seemed to be “Boring is reliable. People like reliable.”

Occasionally, though, despite that, something eye-catchingly unusual happens. The Toyota Stout of the mid-1960s was one of those. The Toyota 2000GT of the late ’60s was another. And the very 1980s MR2 was one too.

This time it’s the new Toyota Crown.

The Toyota Crown is replacing the stodgy and meh-selling Avalon as the largest sedan in the company’s lineup. The Crown has a lot in common with its predecessor, including similar drivetrains and a similar interior size. Unlike the “this is basically a Camrolla” look of the Avalon, though, the Crown is … well … beautiful.

Starting with a basic three-box design, the Crown has a dipped hood flanked by sharp lighting and large wheel wells. A very raked windscreen leads to a curved roof that outlines the passenger space. The roofline continues in a fastback drop to a clipped rear. That makes the basic boxes.

Bodywork on the Crown accents that fast-paced outline. Bone lines and a distinct upward cut from the bottom of the front wheel housing to the rear door handle create an arrowhead facing rearward.

Above that, the beltline under the windows jumps upward at the rear door handle — just on top of that arrowhead point — to narrow the greenhouse and broaden the rear fender. That adds muscle to the back end of the car.

All together, these elements push the design of the Crown forward, making for a fast pace to the car’s look. The floating roof via the “deleted” rear pillar, the added black edge underneath the arrowhead to mimic the greenhouse above (in reverse), and the wide wells with large wheels are finishing touches. Lighting and fender plastics accentuate these elements.

  • 2023 Toyota Crown 4 2 1 24
    (Cowboy State Daily Staff)
  • 2023 Toyota Crown 10 2 1 24
    (Cowboy State Daily Staff)
  • 2023 Toyota Crown 7 2 1 24
    (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

It’s beautiful design work.

Powering the new Toyota Crown is something a lot less surprising. It’s a hybrid powertrain, which Toyota is particularly well known for. A four-cylinder engine and electric motors combine to produce 236 horsepower in all-wheel drive. This is pretty good for the car’s size. The Crown is only marginally larger than the Camry, even if Toyota calls it a “full-sized sedan.” Fuel economy is rated at 41 mpg on the highway, per the EPA.

In the real world, I drove the Platinum model. Which boosts output by over 100 horses to 340 hp. This added power makes the Crown a whole lot sportier.

Adding to that end, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) in the other models is replaced by a less efficient, but much more exciting, six-speed automatic. Fuel economy drops by about 11 mpg with this model. My highway loop (65 mph from North College to the TA truck stop and back) pulled 30.3 mpg, so pretty close to EPA estimates. The turbocharging in this souped-up version of the Crown made up for altitude.

My only complaints about the Toyota Crown were in its safety systems, a complaint I have with most Toyota vehicles. They’re aggressive. The car feels like it’s beeping all of the time.

Get out and lock the doors without checking the rear seats? It beeps at you. Getting close to the road line because you’re passing a semitruck and trying to give maximum space? Beeps. Let off the brake as someone passes through the light so you can make your turn? Yep. Beeps. After a while, these safety systems become moot because you stop looking at the dashboard to find out what the latest beeping is about.

On the (kinda) upside, the Toyota Crown comes with all of the advanced safety features as standard equipment. Some could save your life. The forward collision mitigation is great and doesn’t get aggressive. The safe exit assist (which keeps the rear door locked so it can’t open if oncoming traffic is detected) is a great idea.

Overall, Toyota did a great job with the new Crown. The Avalon was, well, old. It appealed to age, not dynamism. The Crown is a much younger vehicle.

Aaron Turpen. can be reached at: TurpenAaron@gmail.com

2023 Toyota Crown 3 2 1 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)
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Aaron Turpen