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For the 2023 model year, Toyota has released the full-size Crown hybrid sedan and completely revamped the Prius. We have reported on the Crown in the past and wrote a few things about the all-new Prius, but I recently had a chance to drive both of them at a local Toyota drive event. Here are my first impressions of each car.

2023 Toyota Crown group
2023 Toyota Crown | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Toyota Crown is a game changer in the full-size hybrid category

2023 Toyota Crown front
2023 Toyota Crown | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

I never like using the term “game changer,” but it’s the best way to describe the all-new 2023 Toyota Crown. The Crown nameplate is new to the U.S., but it’s been in the market globally for over 70 years and has had 15 different iterations. The one that we got is replacing the previous full-size Avalon as the flagship model in Toyota’s lineup.

Take one look at this car, and you’ll notice that it looks unlike any other car in the Japanese automaker’s stable. The Crown has a long nose up front and a lift-back silhouette that flows into the rear of the car, making it look like a hatchback. But it’s not. Instead, the Crown has a large trunk with an enormous opening that can easily swallow golf bags and large suitcases.

In terms of exterior aesthetics, the Toyota Crown truly stands out, and although its looks are polarizing, I’m willing to bet they will withstand the test of time. That timeless design extends to the inside of the car. The Crown’s interior is spacious and inviting. The dashboard is wide and well-laid out with a “driver-focused” setup. The seats are comfortable, and the backseat area feels limo-like, especially if you’re under six feet tall.

2023 Toyota Crown rear
2023 Toyota Crown | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The Toyota Crown is powered by two different hybrid powertrains

The powertrains are where things get really interesting. The base setup consists of a 2.5-liter engine mated to a pair of electric motors for a combined output of 235 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. On the road, this setup provides plenty of power to get the sedan moving along nicely. The switch between the gas engine and electric motor is seamless, but I found that it did groan a lot under hard acceleration, which was further enhanced by the CVT’s single-gear nature.

The larger 2.4-liter Hybrid Max powertrain is the real star of the show. This setup combines a 2.4-liter engine with a pair of motors for 340 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. It’s the same setup found in the Sequoia, but it’s quite the monster in the Crown. Toyota says this version of the Crown will get up to 60 mph from a stop in 5.7 seconds, and it sure feels like it. There’s plenty of torque off the line, and the large sedan gets up to speed like a sports car with this engine.

If you need fuel efficiency, go with the base engine. But if you like your big sedans with plenty of power, the Hybrid Max is where it’s at.

Pricing for the 2023 Toyota Crown starts at $39,950 for the base XLE and goes up to $52,350 for the top-trim Platinum.

The 2023 Toyota Prius is better than ever before

2023 Toyota Prius
2023 Toyota Prius | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

If you didn’t like the Toyota Prius before, I’m almost positive you’ll like the 2023 model. No, I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid. Instead, I took the all-new Prius for a short drive and found that it was better than every iteration before it.

Toyota redesigned the mileage champion with a steeper windshield angle and an aggressive new look. The split rear window is gone, and the taillights are slimmer and sleeker to give the car a futuristic design. The front end has a sharp nose that works well with the curved headlights to form a “hammerhead design.”

The Prius is also one inch wider, an inch longer, and two inches lower than the previous generation. On the inside, the Prius feels spacious, the steering wheel is smaller, and the SofTex leather-trimmed seats are comfortable. Toyota shrunk the Prius’ interior dimension by about an inch all around, but the cargo volume remains the same (23.8 cubic feet).

The only part I didn’t like about the interior was that the digital instrument panel was obstructed by the steering wheel. Otherwise, the visibility was good in all directions.

How did the 2023 Prius perform?

I was only able to drive the 2023 Toyota Prius for a short time, but I noticed that its 194-hp, 2.0-liter gas/electric engine provided plenty of pep in its step. Front-wheel drive is standard, and AWD is available. You can also expect to get up to 60 mph in around seven seconds in either guise, which I felt to be true when driving it on the road.

Additionally, the cabin felt quieter than the previous-generation Prius, and the materials felt nicer. This new Prius should get up to 57 mpg on average, and it feels and looks better than before. If you were never a fan, this new version could sway you.

Both of these models are available at a Toyota dealer near you. The supply and any potential dealer markups may vary.