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Before the Toyota Crown hit the streets in the United States, the Toyopet Crown cruised American avenues and boulevards. You read that right; the Toyota namesake wasn’t always on their cars. Read about the Toyopet model, the historical predecessor of the lifted 2023 Toyota Crown, a new hybrid that will roll off the line this year. 

When did Toyota Crown come out?

The upcoming 2023 Toyota Crown is far from the first version of the nameplate. Instead, the Crown came out in 1955, when the automaker rolled the first one off the line of the Koromo assembly plant. 

According to Toyota UK Magazine, the first iteration packed a dependable 1.5L R-Series engine married to a three-speed column-shift manual transmission. Moreover, the 1955 model was an essential step for the Japanese automaker. For instance, the handsome little model introduced a new suspension arrangement with front-mounted independent double wishbones and coil springs that left behind the comparatively stone-age setup of past Toyota passenger cars. 

What is a Toyopet Crown?

After the first Crown in 1955, Toyota turned its focus to worldwide sales. The automaker needed something that would appeal to Americans. Enter the 1958 Toyopet Crown, the marque’s first car in the U.S. market. 

While the Crown sold well in Japan, the Toyopet model flopped in America. Unfortunately, the early Crown was underpowered and couldn’t keep up on America’s highway system. Moreover, American buyers didn’t like the sound of the brand name. Also, the 1958 model’s price tag revealed a cost of $1,999, nearly 70% of an American’s average annual earnings at the time. 

A Toyopet Crown, the predecessor of the Toyota Crown, shows off its script in a historic photo.
Toyopet Crown | Al Paloczy, The Enthusiast Network via Getty Images

As a result, the automaker sold just 287 cars in its first year, and by 1960, Toyota had enough. However, the Crown name is back in the U.S. market, this time riding on a tall four-door model with up to 340 horsepower, per TrueCar.   

What is the Toyota Crown equivalent to?

The 2023 Toyota Crown is similarly sized to the Volkswagen Arteon and Honda Accord. Moreover, the Crown seeks to replace the outgoing Avalon in the automaker’s lineup, although it adds around six inches to the Avalon’s roofline height. 

As a result, the new Crown is already controversial; its high seating position and tall roofline make it seem like a luxury sedan standing on its tippy toes. 

Is Toyota Crown electric or gas?

The new 2023 Toyota Crown offers two powertrain options, both hybrid electric. The hybrid 2.5L inline four-cylinder mill in trims like the XLE produces 236 horsepower, while the Platinum’s turbocharged 2.4L HYBRID MAX platform produces 340 horsepower.  

A 2023 Toyota Crown shows off its new high-riding platform.
2023 Toyota Crown | Toyota

Is the Toyota Crown available in the US?

The new 2023 Toyota Crown, like the Toyopet from 1958, is available in the US. The entry-level XLE starts at around $41,045, and the Limited trim at $46,645. The range-topping Platinum will start at $53,445, making it more expensive than a top-trim Avalon

However, unlike the doomed Toyopet model from the 1950s, Toyota is now a titan in the American market. We’ll see if history repeats itself with the new Crown.


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