First Drive: The 2023 Toyota Crown Is an Extroverted Replacement for the Avalon
The 2023 Toyota Crown is the replacement for the full-size Avalon sedan and the Japanese car brand’s all-new flagship model. Although it’s new to the U.S., the Crown has been around since the 70s in Japan. At first, I thought it was interesting that Toyota waited 50 years to bring the nameplate over here. But after driving it for a few days, I can see why this marketing move makes sense since Americans want bigger cars with high fuel efficiency.
Additionally, this new Toyota Crown has an interesting look with its heightened ride and bold features, which is a departure from the aging Avalon. Compared to the extinct sedan, the Crown has an extroverted appeal that boasts a more efficient powertrain and more luxurious touches.
The 2023 Toyota Crown is a high-riding and curvaceous sedan
At first glance, you might think that the 2023 Toyota Crown is a crossover. It’s not. Although it’s four inches higher than the current Camry, the Crown has a regular trunk and large sedan proportions. The car feels like it’s on tippy toes when you’re in the driver’s seat compared to the Camry and Avalon, but that’s not a bad thing since you get a more commanding view of the road.
Despite its vertically superior stature, the Toyota Crown handles well around corners. There’s not much body roll, and the steering effort is light and provides a decent amount of feedback. In comparison, the Avalon’s steering felt numb to the point that I didn’t know which way the wheels were turned.
Additionally, the Crown feels very comfortable; however, that comfort can be adjusted with the adaptive suspension. There are different drive modes – Normal, Comfort, Sport, and Sport + — which allow the driver to tailor the car’s responsiveness and ride characteristics. So far, I haven’t noticed a huge difference between the modes, but I’ll report back accordingly.
The Toyota Crown comes with two different engine choices
I recently drove the 2023 Toyota Crown Limited and Platinum trims at a local drive event and felt the difference between its two available engines. The base engine is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gas engine paired with a 40-kW electric motor. The Crown quickly gets moving with its 236 hp output. However, compared to the Platinum’s powertrain, it falls a bit ho-hum.
That drivetrain consists of a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder Hybrid MAX engine paired with a 58.6-kW motor producing 340 hp. This is the trim level to get because the powerful engine is better suited to lug around the 4,300-pound sedan. It also makes it more fun to drive.
Both Crown powertrain configurations come standard with an all-wheel drive and have two different types of transmissions. The base engine is connected to a CVT, while the Hybrid MAX engine transmits its power through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Is the Toyota Crown better than the Avalon?
It’s hard to say whether the 2023 Toyota Crown is better than the Avalon, considering they’re similar in terms of the configurations. After all, the Avalon came in a hybrid variant, too. But the Crown ups the ante by offering a far more eccentric aesthetic, more powerful drivetrains, and a higher ride height, which is refreshing in today’s market.
Stay tuned for more on the 2023 Toyota Crown as we conduct and share our full review soon.