2023 Toyota Crown Platinum
Class: Midsize Sedan
Color: Bronze Age/Black
Miles driven: 160
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A-|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||B-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||340-horsepower 2.4-liter|
|Engine Type||Turbocharged 4-cylinder hybrid|
Observed fuel economy: 28.4 mpg
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 29/32/30 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Snow Performance: N/A
Base price: $52,350 (not including $1095 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Special paint ($425), two-tone paint ($550), mud guards ($149)
Price as tested: $53,474
The great: Roomy and comfortable cabin, sporty character
The good: Good fuel economy, easy ingress and egress, long-trim comfort
The not so good: Cabin materials look and feel cut rate
In order to discuss how good the all-new Toyota Crown is, we need to spend some time determining exactly what the Crown is. It’s a little complicated. Additionally, there’s the question as to how well the Crown fits in the showroom space once occupied by Toyota’s excellent Avalon large sedan. Here’s the deal:
The Crown is a sedan—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It features four doors and a trunk, and it is approximately sedan shaped. We say approximately because the sloped rear roofline and raised ride height give the Crown a crossover-ish look that is in no way an accident. Note that in Japan and in other Asian markets, the Crown is sold as we see it here, and as a wagon. We will see the latter arrive in the States as the Crown Signia for the 2025 model year.
As for replacing the Avalon in Toyota’s lineup, consider this: The Avalon was a sedan in a market where sedans are on the wane. Plus, Avalon buyers were not getting any younger, and getting into and out of the low-set Avalon was becoming a chore for model loyalists.
And while Toyota has never called the Crown a direct replacement for the Avalon, it is priced and sized to be exactly that. And, looking like a sedan, and boasting elevated seat heights, the Crown addresses both issues that had become a barrier to Avalon sales. But, even if the Crown does appeal to the geriatric set, there’s a great deal here to appeal to younger American drivers as well.
There’s an old saying in the car business, “You can’t sell a young man an old man’s car.” Taking that to heart, Toyota saw to it that, though the Crown will likely meet the needs of returning Avalon owners, it is anything but an old man’s car.
New for 2023, the Crown is little changed for ’24. Minor tweaks for the new year include some updated interior bits, and expanded availability of the Advance Technology package. The Crown is offered in XLE (around $42,000), Limited ($47,000), and topline Platinum ($54,000) trim levels. All come standard with AWD and a hybrid powertrain.
The XLE and Limited make use of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder 236-horsepower engine mated to a CVT-automatic transmission. The Platinum is powered by Toyota’s “Hybrid Max” turbocharged 2.4-liter engine rated at 340 horsepower and uses a 6-speed automatic transmission.
In comparing the Crown to the outgoing Avalon, we thought a couple of handy lists might help make sense of things. Have a look:
Relative to the Avalon, the Crown is…
- More fun to drive
- More fuel efficient
- Easier to enter and exit
- Easier to see out of
- Likely better handing in deep snow
Relative to the Crown, the Avalon is…
- More affordable
- More spacious in the rear seat
- More luxuriously appointed
- More refined (quieter, smoother) under the hood
- More traditionally a premium car
While we will miss the Avalon’s smooth 3.5-liter V6, the Hybrid Max engine serves up plenty of ready power, and gives the Crown of sense of sporty energy the Avalon never had. Additionally, on the road, the Crown is surprisingly quiet and smooth riding, matching—or nearly matching—the dynamic refinement of the Avalon.
Where the Crown shines, especially in Platinum trim, is in handling. While no one would have ever accused the Avalon of being sporty, the Crown takes corners with surprising athleticism, and feels nicely planted on on/off ramps, even when hustled.
The Crown cabin is something of a mixed bag. We find the front-row seats especially comfortable, and, as we’ve noted, getting into and out of the vehicle is easy. Likewise, we found the infotainment systems to be easy enough to operate, and the large touchscreen easy to read, even in direct light. And, we thank Toyota for including a proper volume knob on the dashboard. Also, big praise for the super-handy slot-style phone charger which both keeps the device in place and charges it and a decent clip.
As we noted early, the Crown cabin is not the classy affair that the Avalon’s was, but the deftly employed two-tone cabin treatment goes a long way toward covering up the mid-grade materials used, and comes off looking rather sporty. Likewise, the JBL-brand audio system is solidly high-quality, if not quite premium level.
One annoyance: We did find the headlight low beams somewhat dim in rural driving, and found ourselves using the “highs” for as much of our drive as possible. The lack of light output seemed odd in a modern vehicle.
One surprise: In generally vigorous driving, our test Crown Platinum averaged 28.4 mpg, and impressive figure given the power and AWD. This compares favorably to the 20.9 mpg we observed in the last V6-powered Avalon evaluated by Consumer Guide.
While we mourn the passing of the classy and refined Avalon, we fully appreciate the Crown, and acknowledge its place in a modern Toyota lineup. The new Crown is both practical and sporty, and will serve as an interesting step-up for shoppers looking to upgrade from their Camrys and maybe even RAV4s. And while Crown prices average about $2000 more than the Avalon on a trim-for-trim basis, the standard AWD and hybrid drivetrains help justify that premium. Toyota isn’t looking for big sales volume from Crown, which is sort of a shame, because it’s really a fine ride. And, hopefully now you appreciate what exactly the Crown is.
2023 Toyota Crown Gallery
Click below for enlarged image