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Kelley Blue Book: The 2023 Toyota Crown: This could be the beginning of the end of the SUV craze.

Pros

All-wheel drive is standard

Easy entry and exit

Raised driving position

Cons

Rear headroom may be lacking

What’s new?

The Crown is an all-new model for 2023

Hybrid Max drivetrain offered

The 2023 Toyota Crown is a full-size sedan with a few twists. It comes solely as a hybrid, rides a bit higher than a regular sedan, and has all-wheel drive (AWD) as standard. We expect pricing to start at around $40,000.

Just when it seems there are no new ideas under the sun, Toyota
TM,
+1.73%

comes out with the Crown, a raised hybrid sedan with AWD. But then we remember that Volvo
VLVLY,
+3.29%

made the S60 Cross Country a few years back. Wow, that was ahead of its time. It still might be.

The Crown name was used on past Toyotas, but who needs a history lesson when there’s a distinctive new car to explore? Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of the SUV craze. Where people realize they don’t need so much interior space and would prefer something with better aerodynamics and is easier on gasoline.

Check out: The all-new 2023 Kia Sportage: It’s roomy with plenty of cargo space and drives quiet

2023 Toyota Crown pricing

We expect the 2023 Toyota Crown to start at around $40,000 for the XLE version. The mid-level Limited should be roughly $44K. And set aside $48K or thereabouts for the range-topping Platinum model.

The 2023 Toyota Crown

Toyota

There’s really nothing else like the 2023 Crown full-size hybrid sedan. The ancient Chrysler 300 (from around $35K) has space, but not the fuel efficiency. The Nissan Maxima (starting at approximately $40K) has front-wheel drive exclusively. The hybrid/front-drive Lexus ES 300h (in the $44K region) can only muster 215 horsepower.

Before buying a new 2023 Toyota Crown, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for theirs. It’s way too early to talk about resale values, but Toyota is one of the star players in this arena.

Driving the 2023 Toyota Crown

The main advantage of the 2023 Crown full-size sedan’s ride height is the elevated driving position, helping the driver’s outward vision.

The first two trims of the lineup — XLE and Limited — come with the more fuel-efficient hybrid drivetrain of the two on offer, which includes an automatic transmission of the continuously variable variety.

Platinum trim has the Hybrid Max drivetrain developing a substantial 340 horsepower. It should be the more satisfying variant to drive, thanks to its 6-speed automatic transmission. This model also has an adaptive suspension as standard, for a broad spectrum of settings with tautness at one end and comfort at the other.

The car’s Active Cornering Assist (ACA) system applies subtle braking to the inside wheels to help the Crown keep a tight line through corners.

Also see: 10 cars that are being discontinued this year (and there could be bargains here)

Interior comfort

The Crown replaces the Avalon, which was approaching Lexus in terms of interior quality. This 2023 Crown edges even closer.

Toyota has focused on making the cabin quiet, something the company hasn’t always paid a lot of attention to in many earlier vehicles. For example, there’s a pad of sound-deadening material between the engine bay and the cabin, plus generous adhesives used throughout the chassis.

As is the current trend, the new Toyota Crown has dual 12.3-inch screens — one for driver information, the other for a new Toyota infotainment system that responds to voice commands and can be summoned by saying: “Hey, Toyota.” Wi-Fi and wireless charging are also available.

The elevated height of the 2023 Crown compared with a typical full-size sedan means the occupants’ hip point is higher, so climbing in and out is a bit easier and more dignified.

Exterior styling

By now, most of us are familiar with the Toyota Camry midsize sedan. The new Crown full-size sedan is almost 4 inches higher and has quite a dramatic slope to the roof.

As far as the nose and tail are concerned, if this is the new direction for Toyota vehicles, then bring it on.

The standard alloy wheel size for the 2023 Crown is 19 inches. The Limited is available with 21-inch rims, which suit the overall design arguably better. The Platinum has 21s standard.

Also notable: The Platinum is available in 2-tone color schemes, with the hood, roof, and trunk all in black, paired to either Oxygen White, Heavy Metal (a kind of dark silver), Supersonic Red, or Bronze Age.

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Favorite features

1. 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreenThis focal point of a new user-friendly infotainment system is capable of over-the-air updates. It’s standard across the 2023 Crown lineup.

2. 12.3-inch digital driver’s displayA complement to the infotainment screen, this standard feature can be configured to show various types of information, including navigation directions. It also has a special hybrid mode to help drivers achieve optimum fuel efficiency.

3. Heated front seatsThese are standard in the initial XLE trim and come with power adjustment as well. The other two versions have heating and ventilation, plus leather seating surfaces.

4. Fixed panoramic roofAdding some airiness to the cabin, this panoramic roof becomes standard at the Limited trim level.

5. JBL audioComing in at the Limited trim, this 11-speaker system is supplied by a company with a rich reputation in the sound reproduction world.

6. Advanced ParkA standard feature in the Limited model, this is a self-parking function for parallel or perpendicular spaces.

Engine and transmission

The first two trims of the 2023 Crown — XLE and Limited — employ a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and two electric motors. The engine also has its own little electric motor on the intake side of its variable valve timing system.

The electric motors take their energy from a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. One of them powers the rear wheels. Every new Toyota Crown has this electronic form of AWD as standard.

At the time of compiling this review, Toyota had not released any technical specifications. But we expect this new 2023 Toyota Crown to produce something like 236 horsepower and average about 38 mpg.

The second gasoline/electric drivetrain in the 2023 Crown — exclusive to the top Platinum trim — is the Hybrid Max, which puts more of an emphasis on muscle than fuel economy. The engine here is a turbocharged 2.4-liter 4-cylinder unit. Along with its electric motors, output is 340 horsepower.

Toyota never quotes torque figures for its hybrids, but says maximum thrust is achieved between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm. Average fuel economy of the Crown Platinum is expected to be more like 28 mpg.

2.5-liter inline-4/dual electric motors (XLE, Limited)236 combined horsepower (estimated)EPA city/highway fuel economy: estimated 38 mpg

2.4-liter turbocharged inline-4/dual electric motors (Platinum)340 combined horsepowerEPA city/highway fuel economy: estimated 28 mpg

KBB’s car review methodology.

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

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