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The Toyota Crown replaced the trusty Toyota Avalon for the 2023 model year as the brand’s biggest and most expensive sedan. Slotted above the Camry, the Toyota Crown is a liftback sedan with a hybrid powertrain and standard all-wheel drive. So, what’s the best trim level of the new Crown? Well, that’s a difficult question.

The Toyota Crown trim levels

The Toyota Crown is available in three trim levels; XLE, Limited, and Platinum. The base XLE model comes with a 236-hp hybrid powertrain returning up to 41 combined mpg, the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 safety tech suite, 19-inch alloy wheels, SofTex-trimmed seats, and a 12.3-inch infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Upgrading to the Limited trim gets you the same power and fuel economy as the XLE. Still, it adds premium features like a panoramic sunroof, quad-LED projector headlights, a JBL audio system, leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, and parking assist with automatic braking. An Advanced Tech Package is available, adding 21-inch wheels and a 360-degree camera.

Upgrading to the Platinum trim pushes the price over the $50k mark. This one has the turbocharged Hybrid MAX powertrain pumping out 340 horsepower while getting 30 combined mpg. The contents of the Advanced Tech Package are standard on the Platinum trim, and a two-tone paint color is optional.

Every Toyota Crown is fuel-efficient and well-equipped, but there’s some disagreement between experts and buyers as to which trim is the best buy.

Experts like the Hybrid MAX powertrain

It’s not surprising that the automotive press has a preference for the Platinum model over the lesser Toyota Crown trims. Car and Driver offers high praise for the Hybrid MAX powertrain. The more performance-oriented Crown Platinum produces 104 more hp than the standard powertrain, drastically changing the driving experience. It also has a six-speed automatic transmission for a more engaging driving feel compared to the standard CVT.

Still, not all experts recommend the Toyota Crown Platinum. For example, MotorTrend acknowledges that the Limited trim with the optional Advanced Tech Package is a better buy, and Edmunds recommends the base XLE trim, which maximizes the value of the Crown.

For the driver who likes the idea of an efficient hybrid sedan with AWD versatility and a genuinely entertaining driving experience, the Toyota Crown Platinum caters to that niche buyer.

Many drivers want 41 mpg in the Toyota Crown

According to Edmunds, the mid-range Limited trim is the most popular trim of the Crown. This also isn’t very surprising. A Toyota Crown buyer has a big enough budget for something nicer than a Camry or Prius but may not want to spend over $50k on a Toyota sedan. For that buyer, the Crown Limited is in a sweet spot as an upscale sedan with excellent fuel economy and all-wheel drive.

Notably, the Toyota Crown Platinum has a higher starting price than the Lexus RX Hybrid. The RX is America’s best-selling luxury vehicle, and the hybrid model starts at just over $50k and gets 36 combined mpg. For most drivers with that kind of budget in the market for a hybrid, a Lexus hybrid SUV is a more appealing package.

It’s great that Toyota offers buyers the choice to prioritize efficiency or performance in the Crown. It makes it not so different from the Toyota Avalon it replaced, which could be had with a brawny 301-hp V6 or a more efficient 215-hp hybrid four-cylinder powertrain. For the discerning Toyota shopper, better fuel economy is prioritized over horsepower.

Related Experts Agree on 1 Trim of the 2023 Toyota Crown

Experts Agree on 1 Trim of the 2023 Toyota Crown