Toyota: Out With the Avalon, In With the Crown

The Toyota Avalon is discontinued following a nearly three-decade run. Like other large sedans, sales of the Avalon had steadily fallen, making it difficult to justify its existence. But Toyota isn’t forgetting the market. Indeed, arriving just after the Avalon’s departure is the all-new Toyota Crown. This vehicle blends sedan and utility vehicle goodness to form a new flagship for the brand.

2023 Toyota Crown front fascia

Good-Bye Toyota Avalon

The Toyota Avalon arrived on the market for the 1995 model year. Based on the same platform underpinning the midsize Toyota Camry sedan, the then-new model gained several inches between the wheels to form a six-passenger sedan.

Toyota brought the Avalon to the market to battle such models as the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Marquis, and the Buick LeSabre. The sedan went through the usual generational updates. In 2019, the fifth and what turns out to be the final generation rolled out. Over the years, the Avalon gained hybrid and all-wheel-drive variants. Moreover, it is a cousin to the Lexus ES, a model that will continue.

Hello Toyota Crown

If the Toyota Crown name sounds familiar to you, it is. In 1958, the Toyopet Crown was the first Toyota model sold in the United States. Its stay was short-lived as Toyota soon replaced it with other models.

Through the years, the Crown continued and evolved to become an upscale rear-wheel drive sedan. The U.S. market saw the Cressida for a time, while the Crown slotted above it and was sold in select markets. The sedan included luxury features before Toyota had a luxury brand, namely Lexus. Indeed, in the early 1990s Toyota Crown was sold as the Lexus GS in the United States.

In summer 2022, Toyota unveiled the sixteenth-generation Crown. The new model overhauls the Crown nameplate with a quartet of body styles, including a crossover along with a sedan, wagon, and sports model.

However, it is the crossover only that arrives in the U.S. market this winter as the 2023 Toyota Crown. The Crown is once again related to a Lexus model, this time the highly popular RX utility vehicle.

2023 Toyota Crown profile

About the 2023 Toyota Crown

Is the Toyota Crown a sedan or a utility vehicle? It is both. Notably, the Crown combines elements of a sedan with its four doors and the liftgate of a utility vehicle. It is a “tall sedan” in some eyes and reminds us of the style advanced by the Honda Accord Crosstour. Consequently, its style is unique and provocative.

The 2023 Crown comes in three grades: XLE, Limited, and Platinum. As of this writing, we do not have pricing. That said, expect the Crown to start above $40,000 and rise from there.

Like the Toyota Venza and Sienna, the Crown is a hybrid-only vehicle. All three trims come with standard all-wheel drive. The XLE and Limited feature an efficient 236-horsepower powertrain with an estimated 38 mpg compared to 44 mpg for the Avalon Hybrid. The Platinum receives a performance-oriented hybrid system (Hybrid Max) with a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Toyota claims a net 340 horsepower for this version and 28 mpg.

Controversial Expression

The Crown’s look is anything but tame. It features a beefy grille highlighted by LED lighting, a sloping hood, a kicked-up beltline, and a falling roofline. Oversized wheels, up to 21 inches available, mark the profile along with expressive lines and deep sculpting. From the rear, a raised deck is marked by a thin LED light that transects the fascia. Rear fog lamps and a concealed exhaust tip complete the look.

Our comments, though, leave out the obvious, or at least what is apparent when examining the photos: the Crown is very expressive, even busy. Likely, it offers a love-it or hate-it reaction from consumers with few taking the middle ground.

2023 Toyota Crown interior

Exquisite Cabin

Inside, the cabin offers room for five. Eight-way power front seats are standard and both seats include recline, tilt, slide, and height adjustments. Furthermore, lumbar support is standard for the driver. Heated front seats, available ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel are other features of note. A 12.3-inch touchscreen display occupies the center console.

Other features include a standard 6-speaker sound system and an available 11-speaker JBL audio package. USB ports, smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Connect, and a charging pad are included. Expect a full suite of driver-assist safety technologies based on the Toyota Safety Sense bundle that is common to most Toyota models.

Parting Thoughts

We’ll have more information about the Toyota Crown nearer to its arrival. We also expect that Toyota will supply a vehicle for us to test. Thus, we’ll share our driving impressions and other details once we complete our evaluation.

Does the Toyota Crown pass muster? We think it will. The Avalon served its place in the market, but demand for sedans has largely dried up. The Crown is the logical replacement for the Avalon as it delivers premium features, efficient powertrains, and the utility that customers demand these days.

2023 Toyota Crown rear fascia

See AlsoSwan Song for the Toyota Avalon

Photos copyright Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. All rights reserved.

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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