2023 Toyota Crown Platinum
A Car Fit For Royalty
The Toyota Crown is a large sedan, straddling the line between "luxury car" and "luxury available to more folks"
By J-F Wright
Mon, Nov 13, 2023 07:42 PM PST
Images by the author, edited by Erica Wright
Let’s start with answering the question “What is the Toyota Crown?”. Well, it’s a sedan - a large one at that - meant to be the premier offer from Toyota. It’s been around in Japan since 1955. Here in North America Toyota sold the first through fourth generations from 1958 through 1972. Since the late 1980s (and early 1990s) it’s been through Lexus that Toyota has offered their higher-end vehicles in North America. This still holds true, but the Toyota-brand seems to want in on that luxury market at well, so the Crown-nameplate has returned to the North American market - with the sixteenth-generation model in 2022.
Does the Toyota Crown replace the Avalon? No, not really.. But kind of. Since the Avalon disappeared, leaving us wanting something to fill that gap with it, the Crown - in my mind - becomes the de facto Avalon... Kinda. But the Toyota Crown is a real Toyota at heart, whereas I remember the Avalon as being almost a halfway between a Toyota and a Lexus, straddling that line at the time.
The Toyota crown comes with a myriad of features and convenience packages already included - especially our test-model, the Crown Platinum. The Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 is the latest iteration of the Toyota safety systems. It has a pre-collision system with pedestrian protection, their latest radar cruise control, a lane departure alert with steering assist, a lane tracing assist, and automatic high-beams. There’s also a road sign assistant and a proactive driving assistant. Furthermore, also included is the advanced park system, which pretty much takes all the fun out of parking a car.
With the panoramic view monitor - which is a top down view of your car - I’m not sure we actually need a self-parking system. I rarely use the self-park as I am often quicker at parking the car myself - especially with the help of the top down view.
Naturally, the Toyota Crown comes with a wireless connection to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both available on the 12.3 inch multimedia screen. The 11 speaker JBL system does a really good job at bringing a concert to the Crown. Big sister models over in the Lexus-house have the available Mark Levinson sound systems that always blow my mind, but it would be unfair to compare the Crown and its JBL speakers with the Lexus’ Mark Levinson. The Crown is, after all, a Toyota, not a Lexus.
The Toyota Crown Platinum has a heated leather steering wheel as well as heated and ventilated leather front seats. The rear seats are also leather and heated - but not ventilated. There’s a wireless smart charging spot which works really well. I like that lots of car manufacturers have installed specific spots where your phone can charge wirelessly. Not only does this mean that the phone is getting charged, it also means that the phone has a specific spot where it should be - rather than being held by the driver.
The Toyota crown takes it one step further. Instead of having the phone rest on a flat surface - from where it technically could fly away if you’re driving like an idiot - the phone is supposed to be dropped into a little bucket where it will be charged. The only way the phone is leaving that spot is if you flip the Crown.
The cockpit of the Toyota Crown is elegantly appointed with all the necessary buttons within easy reach of the driver. The steering wheel is a standard Toyota steering wheel where you can easily access the cruise control systems, volume, and other pertinent buttons.
The Toyota crown that we are testing has a nice black leather interior nicely coupled with a few golden touches. There’s a horizontal gold detail that travels across the front dashboard and nicely ends in the fan on the passenger side. I’m calling it gold but really it’s a reddish gold - in my opinion actually nicer than gold. This trim is also seen on the black leather seats, adding a nice touch.
The Toyota infotainment system housed in the 12.3 inch multimedia screen is really easy to use. The menu system is understandable and it’s easy to hook up to your Apple CarPlay. The screen is wide enough to have two different items showing at the same time - so with CarPlay you can have your map on and still do other things as well, like switching songs.
The rear seat is very comfortable. Three kids can easily fit back there, even if the third one is still in a larger booster seat. There is plenty of legroom so even if we’re talking about adults you can easily have two people sit back there for long road trips and still arrive and comfort.
The Toyota Crown is indeed large sedan. This is not only evident in the rear seat - trunk space in the Crown is also large. Sure this is not an SUV, but when it comes to floor-space in the trunk it probably beats many of the smaller or midsize SUVs. Since the Crown is a sedan, the vertical space is limited, of course. With that said, however, you can do a very large Costco haul with the Toyota Crown - it will all fit in your trunk.
Comfort and Driving
The Toyota Crown comes with multiple driving modes. There’s the ECO mode, normal mode, comfort mode, and then there are two sport modes - and a custom mode. The sport mode(s) are actually not just visual changes on the dashboard - although the revs and speedometer does change appearance to a more “sporty” red layout. No, the sport mode actually does tighten the suspension and steering - and it feels like the accelerator was a little quicker to respond as well… The same with the brakes. Is it a huge difference? No. But the Crown Platinum is not a race car, so I would’ve been negatively surprised had the sport modes been overly sporty.
As far as driving the Toyota Crown goes, it, too, is a pleasure. Set the Toyota Crown to sport-mode, and this large sedan actually becomes quite fun to drive. The Toyota Hybrid Max 2.4 L four-cylinder turbo charged hybrid power-plant is a fairly peppy four-cylinder. The electric engines help get the car going from a standstill while the engine is shifting down and revving up. The full-time electronic four-wheel-drive does a great job keeping the Toyota Crown stable and going in the direction you’re wanting it to go. The six speed automatic transmission also does a great job - with no jerky shifts. It seems that it knows relatively well what gear you’d want the car to be in, maybe even before you know.
The adaptive variable suspension on the Toyota Crown Platinum is one of the key components of the different drive modes. Cruising down the freeway and selecting different drive modes, the adaptive variable suspension is what you’ll feel change immediately. In comfort mode, it will try to soften all the bumps and ruts on the road, whereas sport and sport plus modes will harden up the suspension so that you can feel more of the road through your vertebrae.
The front of the Toyota Crown Platinum proudly bears the Toyota logo on its nose. It is indeed quite the bulging nose - the Toyota Crown has a long hood that swoops downward just as it reaches the front of the car. The classic protruding Toyota lights and details also adorn the front. In this case, it’s quad LED headlights and LED daytime running lights that give the front of the Toyota Crown a somewhat aggressive and piercing stance. Most of the front facia of the Crown is taken up by a giant grille with an interesting diamond pattern.
Our review vehicle comes with a two-tone paint ($550) - and a premium paint charge ($425). The two-tone paint is what gives it the black hood, roof, and trunk while keeping the side of the car a nice gray. Two-tone paints aren’t always my favorite, but the Toyota Crown Platinum actually does look really stylish in it.
Looking from the side of the Toyota Crown it’s evident how large the hood of the car is compared to the trunk (although the trunk is really large too). The way the Crown is designed however, the trunk space gets to be a part of the rear downward swoop of the roof-line. This is more of a five door (hatchback) when it comes to styling - although the trunk opens like a standard sedan trunk.
Massive 21 inch 10 spin alloy wheels help the side of the Toyota Crown pop a little extra. These wheels seem to resemble the fans found in a jet engine, black in the center with silver tips. A nice touch to the exterior.
The rear of the Toyota Crown does have an interesting look. It’s a rather large-looking rear end of a car, especially considering that this is a sedan. This is probably due to the fact that the roofline does not really come down to the trunk - it just continues from the roof through the rear window and becomes the trunk that then ends in a vertical drop.
The huge, horizontal line of red lighting that stretches from side-to-side of the Toyota Crown’s rear end helps widen the look of the car from behind. It’s also under this strip of light that the button to open the trunk is hidden. It took a while to find it, but like all other things; once you know it’s there, your finger naturally gets it and you can open the trunk.
The Toyota Crown Platinum - especially the Platinum trim - makes for an awesome all-around high-end sedan. Let’s face it, most of us cannot afford the Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW counterparts - so I guess we can call the Toyota Crown Platinum “the luxury sedan for the people”. Even though the price tag of just over $55,000 is still a stretch for my wallet.
Great for road trips and just driving around town, as well as shopping or, thanks to the all wheel drive, even the excursion out into snowy or adverse weather. The Toyota Crown will get you there in comfort.
About The Author
John-Fredrik Wright was born in Sweden, but raised on both sides of the Atlantic. His experience in the automotive industry starts with a summer-job as a host at Volkswagen’s premier showroom in Stockholm. Later, he worked as an instructor at Swedish Active Driving, teaching safe driving (among other things the renowned "elk-avoidance maneuver") and advanced driving techniques.