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The Crown nameplate has been affixed to various Toyota models for the better part of a century, and it was the first model from the automaker to wash up on American shores. Now it’s back after a 40-year absence to serve as the replacement for the now-defunct Avalon. There’s much to like about the Toyota Crown in the debut year of its second coming, but one of the three Toyota Crown trims has a significant drawback all prospective buyers should note.

Less power equals more efficiency

A white 2023 Toyota Crown on the street at night with neon lights in the background.
2023 Toyota Crown | Toyota

The 2023 Toyota Crown trims are the XLE, Limited, and Platinum. All models are equipped with all-wheel drive and powered by hybrid engines, though their power and efficiency vary greatly. The XLE and Limited models are motivated by a 2.5-liter inline-four with three electric motors for a total output of 236 hp. The Platinum comes equipped Toyota’s Hybrid Max powertrain, a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine paired with an electric motor on each axle to deliver a far gutsier 340 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque.

And to misquote Uncle Ben (the Spider-Man character, not the rice company), “With great power comes great gas bills.”  

The 236-hp drivetrain in the XLE and Limited is rated for an impressive 41 combined mpg. That beats the proverbial pants off the Crown’s mainstream full-size sedan counterparts (the Nissan Maxima is second and can only manage 24 combined mpg). But those who want the Platinum’s upgrade in power will have to make far more persistent trips to the pumps. The Crown Platinum is rated for 30 combined mpg (29 mpg city, 32 mpg highway), a full 11 mpg lower than the less-powerful iterations.

Buyers and experts disagree on which Toyota Crown trim is the best

Automotive experts from Car and Driver and Consumer Reports have ostensibly concluded that the more powerful Crown Platinum is the top choice. But buyers don’t seemingly agree.

Edmunds says the mid-range Limited is the most popular choice among prospective buyers. This could signal consumers are prioritizing efficiency in the large sedan segment, especially considering the Crown is by far the most gas-economical choice among its closest competitors.  

This aligns with the experts from Edmunds and MotorTrend. Edmunds prefers the base XLE trim, noting the Crown isn’t particularly geared toward those who prioritize performance while noting the Platinum’s upgraded engine doesn’t justify the higher price it commands. The XLE starts at $39,950 MSRP, while the Platinum rings in at $52,350.

MotorTrend prefers the mid-range Limited with optional 21-inch wheels, stating the standard engine feels “more powerful than 236 hp suggests.”

Additional features separate the three Crown trims

In its base form, the 2023 Toyota Crown offers a respectable list of standard amenities, including heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12.3-inch touchscreen and digital gauge cluster, and wireless charging.

Stepping up to the Limited Crown requires $45,550 MSRP and includes leather seating, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and rear seats, a panoramic roof, keyless entry and start, a JBL audio system, automatic windshield wipers, and two-tone, 19-inch alloy wheels.

The 2023 Toyota Crown Platinum trim commands an additional $6,800 over the Limited with few add-ons outside of the more powerful drivetrain. Platinum models are fitted with an adaptive suspension and paddle shifters to take advantage of added power. The models also have 21-inch wheels and a bird’s eye view monitor.

All three models are fitted with a suite of active safety features and driver’s aids like smart cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic warning, and automatic forward emergency braking.

Ultimately, the 2023 Toyota Crown asks buyers to pay a premium for additional power at the dealership and during fuel stops. Though this is a price some are undoubtedly willing to pay, those seeking Toyota’s new large sedan for commuting or family hauling appear more likely to sacrifice ponies for efficiency and a more affordable price tag.  


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