Toyota Crown Rides Back Into U.S. With Hybrid Power And Weird Style

The Toyota Crown is making its way back to the U.S., and it's bringing a couple of new hybrid powertrains along with it. The Crown, which made its debut in 1955, hasn't been sold in the U.S. for half a century. Toyota has used each incarnation of the Crown as a test bed for some of its most innovative and unique technology.

The vehicle will be the first to feature Toyota's HYBRID MAX system. Like the i-FORCE MAX, the HYBRID MAX promises a bit more power for people who like the idea of a hybrid but have always found their level performance a bit underwhelming. Although Toyota hasn't crammed a V6 in there as it did with its trucks, the HYBRID MAX system still promises to pack a punch. Opting for the powertrain will get you a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine, six-speed automatic transmission, and 340 horsepower. The car also comes with that extra bit of torque a hybrid's motor provides. You'll only see the HYBRID MAX system on the "Platinum" edition of the Toyota Crown, and the extra oomph comes at a price.

Choosing the sporty version of the crown means you'll only get a combined 28 miles per gallon, according to Toyota's estimates. While that's great for a performance vehicle, it is a lot lower than some hybrids. There's also the off chance that the estimate could fall even further when the EPA tests the vehicle out. If you favor fuel economy over performance, the standard Toyota hybrid system may be the correct choice for you. The standard hybrid power train is available with the XLE and Limited models. According to a press release, the Toyota Hybrid System is capable of a combined 38 miles per gallon thanks to its "newly developed, high-output bipolar nickel-metal hydride battery."

A stylish interior for technology lovers

At just over 60 inches high, 72.4 inches wide, an overall length of 194 inches, and a 112-inch wheelbase, the Toyota Crown is bigger than other sedans and has a less conventional style not that much unlike the short-lived Volvo S60 Cross Country. Toyota claims to be offering their customers some middle ground between a sedan and a crossover, offering the sort of comfort you'd get in a family car but with more ride height. The "lift-up" style is highlighted by the large wheels, with 19-inch multi-spoke two-tone alloy rims available on the XLE and Limited versions. The Limited also comes with the option of 10-spoke dark metallic alloy wheels, while the Platinum is fitted with "21-inch machined 10-spoke alloy wheels with black accents." The car itself is built around Toyota's New Global Architecture platform.

Inside the cabin, the 8-way adjustable seats of the XLE are fabric-coated, while the Limited comes with Softex and fabric-trimmed seating, and those purchasing the Platinum edition get treated to leather. On the dash, all versions come with an adjustable 12.3-inch color MID which can be used for navigation or entertainment. Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ are supported, along with good old-fashioned Bluetooth. Your music will be piped through a 6-speaker sound system on the XLE and an 11-speaker system on the Limited and Platinum editions. The cabin itself is littered with charging options, including USB-A, USB-C, and 12-volt ports. The driver's side also has wireless charging available via a QI charger, per Toyota's press release. The Limited grade comes with an "Advanced Technology" option for those who really want to cram in the features. On top of that, both the Platinum and Limited grades feature a moonroof, and every vehicle has acoustic glass fitted to keep road noise outside where it belongs.

Not all Crown variants are coming to America

While North America might be getting the Toyota Crown for the first time since 1972, it isn't getting every edition. Toyota is launching four variants of the Crown in Japan, and they all have unique names and some differences when compared to the models coming to the United States. Instead of the XLE, Limited, and Platinum editions, Japan is getting the "Crossover type," "Sport type," "Sedan type," and "Estate type."

As with the North American version, Toyota's powerful new 2.4-liter turbocharged hybrid system makes an appearance in the "Crossover type," which bears plenty of similarities to the Limited version. The Japanese editions could be the same as the international ones, with a new name and possibly some tweaks, but Toyota hasn't released enough information to allow for solid speculation. Toyota said that "the new series will be rolled out in about 40 countries and regions," but it is not yet known if that includes the variants coming to America or if the models arriving in the U.S. are a touch different from the Crowns being sold in Japan and 39 other countries. Either way, it's good to see Toyota's flagship luxury vehicle crossing the Pacific again after 50 years.