This article includes independent illustrations made by CarScoops’ artist Josh Byrnes based on Toyota’s official patent applications as well as our own intel. The renders are neither related to nor endorsed by Toyota.
Since 1955, Toyota’s Crown has been a mainstay of Japanese car culture. The long-running large luxury saloon line has won many hearts and minds with its front-engine, rear-wheel-drive format. However, things are about to change, and rather dramatically.
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Recently discovered patent images and official teasers confirm that the next generation Crown will morph into a high-riding sedan for the first time, while previously leaked dealer documents confirmed that it will be coming to North America as well where it will essentially replace the axed Avalon . It’s a new direction that will undoubtedly ruffle a few feathers, but is that a bad thing? Let’s take an illustrative preview before its imminent debut.
A Higher Presence
Featuring a coupe-ish appearance, the all-new Crown is somewhat conceptually similar to Honda’s ill-fated Crosstour. Fortunately for all, Toyota designers have arguably sidestepped the awkwardness of its Japanese rival for a more universally acceptable aesthetic. Well, almost, as the rear will be a conversation starter – more on that in a bit.
To emphasize luxury, the front sports has two-tone theme encompassing both bumper and hood. Further down, a trapezoidal grille panel makes an empowering statement, whilst the matrix LED headlamps are similar to those found on Toyota’s electric bZ4X. Across the side, a sleek glasshouse tapers towards the tailgate in a Lexus-like fashion, while the sheet metal carries just enough surface tension to avoid it turning into a high-riding blob.
Out back (Subaru pun intended), things do tend to get a bit – ahem, weird. Here, the two-toned treatment mirrors that of the front; sure, it features a neat full-width taillamp cluster, but it does appear as if designers were inspired by the game ‘Operation’ when styling the rear. It’s different for sure.
Under The Skin
While the proverbial exterior cat is out of the bag, the Japanese manufacturer has managed to keep the Crown’s interior secrets under its hat. We anticipate it’ll offer more room over the outgoing Avalon sedan, with increased emphasis on tech, semi-autonomous driving and wireless connectivity in tandem with Lexus levels of luxury. We should see a similar infotainment setup to the new bZ4X, as that one was developed entirely in-house by Toyota Motors North America’s Connected Technologies group.
Conjecture suggests it will ride upon Toyota’s TNGA-K platform that underpins many other models, including the RAV4, Camry, and Lexus NX. As reported by our own Chris Chilton, Japanese publication Best Car indicates that the Crown will also be a reasonably long affair at 194.1 in (4,930 mm), which would place it closer to the Avalon (195.9 in.) than the Camry (192.1 in.).
Power To The Throne
Powertrains will follow Toyota’s current tried and true formula of hybrid four-cylinder engines. In the Crown’s case, it’s rumored to be a 2.5-litre four-cylinder dynamic force hybrid mated to a continuously variable transmission producing at least 210 hp. There’s also the possibility we’ll get a top-end plug-in hybrid model with either the same setup but delivering around 300 hp, as in the case of the Lexus NX450h+ and Toyota RAV4 Prime, or a 2.4-liter turbocharged inline four with a traditional six-speed auto and an electric motor producing over 350 hp.
Front-wheel drive will be standard, whilst all-wheel-drive is tipped as an option in the PHEV and standard in the higher power variants.
Rivals & Reveals
The Crown sits in a ‘whitespace’ segment; it’s neither a sedan in the same mold as the North American market Toyota Avalon nor is it as high-riding as a BMW X6. More ‘theoretical’ rivals would be the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Citroen C5 X and the stunning new Peugeot 408, but none of those are offered in North America. The Ford Mustang Mach-E would be a close match, but it’s only offered as an EV. Instead, we expect it to life for buyers who’d be otherwise split between large sedans like the Nissan Maxima and mid-size SUVs such as the Chevrolet Blazer, at least until it gets more direct competition from another rival brand.
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As for the reveal? Fortunately, we won’t have to wait much longer to view the Crown in all its official glory as Toyota locked in a debut for July 15, with sales kicking off in October – so save the date!
Would you think of the Crown’s new design? Share your thoughts in the comments below.