Introduced in 1955 as a Toyopet, the Crown is the longest-running passenger car nameplate of any Toyota model and the first mass production passenger vehicle created with the Japanese automaker’s own domestic technology.

As such, it was the first independently developed luxury car from Toyota in the early post-war period, and throughout its existence, the Crown served as the mainstream sedan from the car giant in the Japanese market. This DNA of “innovation and pushing the limits” has been passed down to successive Crown models for the past 67 years.

As a pinnacle model in the Toyota range, the Crown holds a special place in the manufacturer’s line-up, but with the advent of Lexus in the late eighties and changing customer needs, it has become unable to fully meet their diversifying needs, and its presence as a flagship model has become less significant.

Yet, its history and reputation have given it massive prominence in the Toyota line-up and is one of only a few current models to carry a unique insignia, with the current 15th-generation Crown having a stylised crown emblem on the grille and steering wheel.

In the Toyota chronicles, the Crown also inspired the names of smaller progenitors, such as the Corona, introduced as a smaller stablemate to the Crown and initially exported as the Tiara, while the Corolla took its name from corolla (“small crown”) in Latin. 

A New Range

In re-establishing the Crown as the Toyota flagbearer, the design and development team thoroughly re-examined what the “Crown” is, and their pursuit to reimagine the “Crown for a new era” has led to the creation of four completely new models – the Crossover, Sport, Sedan and Estate, all based on the TNGA platform.

Besides the Crossover, the Sport type, according to Toyota, offers a sporty driving experience with an enticing atmosphere in an easy-to-drive package. The sedan is a new formal design to meet the needs of chauffeurs (over generations, the Crown has been popular as government transport and as a company car or taxicab), and the Estate is a functional SUV with a mature atmosphere and ample space.

Reimagined for the modern era, the four new models with their distinct body styles will come with a raft of technological advancements and advanced, high-efficiency hybrid powertrains. The series will be rolled out in about 40 countries and regions (including South Africa), with the Crossover the first model to be introduced.

The coupé-like silhouette combined with the sense of stability representative of an elevated sedan creates a simple yet refined design for the Crossover. Inside, the horizontal integration of the display and wrap-around form from the instrument panel to the doors help create a space with a sense of quality and richness.

Unique body colours, such as the newly developed “Precious Bronze” and “Precious Ray”, as well as other distinctive bi-tone colours, are coordinated to express the transformation of the new Crown. A total of 12 body colours and four interior colour combinations offer a wide range of variations.

Hybrid Powertrain

For the first time, the Series Parallel hybrid system for the Crown Crossover combines a 2.5-litre four-cylinder inline turbo engine that produces powerful torque at low revs with the latest e-Axle electric powertrain, providing high driving torque, and a new bipolar nickel-hydrogen battery. 

No power figures were revealed, but, according to Toyota, the hybrid system responds linearly to accelerator input and has class-leading fuel economy, while quietness further advances the smooth driving performance distinctive of the Crown. The TNGA platform provides a lightweight, well-balanced, high-rigidity body, and the suspension system ensures solid straight-line stability and agile handling.

Toyota Safety Sense, the latest active safety package from Toyota, is standard on all Crown grades. The new Crown Crossover type is equipped with Toyota Teammate, a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance technologies, including Advanced Drive and Advanced Park.

Last Word

The new Crown (Crossover type), which will also be offered via a car subscription service, will make its debut in South Africa in the first quarter of 2023, forming part of the continued New Energy Vehicle (NEV) product rollout of Toyota South Africa Motors. More details will be shared closer to the launch date.

Report by FERDI DE VOS | Images © Toyota South Africa


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