When I saw it at the Chicago Auto Show, we did a video introducing it to you. Two months later, I drove it outside of Chicago.
If there was one vehicle I wanted to bring in this year to work with, it was this one.
It took some time. I was excited by its debut and the subsequent announcement that it will sold here in place of the Camry-based Avalon. When I saw it at the Chicago Auto Show, we did a video introducing it to you. Two months later, I drove it outside of Chicago. Albeit, it was the Limited with the standard hybrid driveline.
At that event in April, my colleagues wondered why I did not try out the Platinum. They were signing its praises. It hit me on my way back to O’Hare Airport that I should’ve driven the Platinum model.
This time, I was not going to miss out.
My quick take on this sedan? The 2023 Toyota Crown Platinum was exactly what I thought it would be.
High praise, indeed. There is more to tell about Toyota’s new Hybrid-only flagship sedan.
I’ll start with the available Bi-Tone paint on this tester. The colors are Bronze Age and Black. And, I love it, but there’s two trains of thought here. For me, it reminded me of a paint scheme that would be devised in the design room a Rolls-Royce dealership for a new Spectre. Another person said that it reminded them of a popular consumer product – the Duracell battery. Although, the colors were the other way round. That’s not “copper” on top.
The Bronze Age/Black Bi-Tone paint scheme really sets this sleek, aerodynamic, and handsome sedan apart from anything on the road. The design alone was a radical departure from anything we’ve seen on a Toyota with four doors. This was Akio Toyoda’s declaration of not making any boring cars in full display.
Design-wise, it’s the details that matter. The slim LED headlamp units compliment the large lower grille giving a sleek vibe that breaks the mold. The roofline appears to be slim, but it is about four inches taller than a Camry.
The real optical illusion is the fact the Crown is a sedan with a trunk – not a hatchback. Don’t let the fastback styling fool you. That slim LED strip that make up the taillight unit is the finishing touch the Crown needed to complete this visual delight.
The Platinum model adds large 21-inch alloy wheels and low-profile Michelin tires. A few chrome details round out this elegant Bi-Tone exterior.
As sleek as the exterior is, the interior is rather conventional and a bit on the conservative side. That is a good thing, considering the alternative – refer to the bZ4X and Prius as examples of the latter. The straightforward instrument panel houses a 12.3-inch digital cluster. You get enough information for what you need to accomplish, with some customization. Switches and controls are at current Toyota standards, including the shift-by-wire actuator for the automatic transmission on the console. They are tactile and offer good logic in control.
The 12.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system at the current architecture for the brand. You also get wireless smartphone mirroring and charging in a slotted cubby inside the console. JBL offers up 11 speakers, including a subwoofer, to deliver quality sound throughout the cabin.
Behind the thickly-rimmed steering wheel are four-to-five leather seats for almost everyone. The front ones were decently padded with some bolstering. Rear seats were OK. The main challenge is to position your head behind the panoramic sunroof. As being six-foor-one, that was indeed a challenge. The bronze piping is a nice touch to offset a stark black cabin. You will also find subtle bronze finishes throughout.
Trunk space is quite good with 15.2 cubic feet. You can fold the rear seatbacks down for longer items. The trunk lid itself opened up high for stress-free loading.
The main reason why I wanted to experience the Crown Platinum sat underneath its black-painted hood. The Hybrid MAX driveline is a combination of a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. Add a six-speed automatic transmission and electronic all-wheel drive to the mix. In all, we have 340 combined net horsepower with 400 pound0feet of torque.
The Platinum gets an expanded set of drive modes. One of which should be familiar to those of us who are Lexus F Sport/Performance fans: Sport S+. It works the same way by not only changing the transmission and driveline behavior, but to add weight to the steering system and fir up the suspension system. The latter us part of an adaptative suspension set-up found on the Platinum trim.
Performance-wise, the Hybrid MAX delivers as expected in the Crown. The acceleration was great, and keeping up with highway traffic was not a problem. Within town, the Crown does very well getting around while exuding its sleek posture. In terms of fuel economy, we averaged 28.3 MPG.
Ride quality was exceptional. Bumpy and rougher road surfaces were dealt with nicely. If you place the drive mode in Normal, Comfort or Eco, you get a very nice and poised ride. In Sport S+, the suspension has a bit of give when it is firms up for better handling and cornering. Otherwise, you might find a bit of roll beyond its limits.
The same would apply to its steering system. In all other modes, the on-center feel is fine. It is helpful to have that thickly-rimmed steering wheel to work with. Putting the Crown into Sport S+ not only weighs down the wheel, the system locks the on-center feel perfectly. Turning radius is quite good overall. The brakes offered solid stops in normal and panic situations. Pedal feel was fine overall.
The Platinum is the top trim level among the 2023 Toyota Crown’s three offerings. The XLE starts at $39,950. That price has jumped just over the $40,000 threshold for 2024. Our 2023 Platinum tester came with a sticker price of $54,569.
My expectations were finally met for this Toyota Crown. It took a week’s worth of experience in the Platinum model and its Hybrid MAX driveline to deliver that verdict.
Let me repeat myself one more time: The 2023 Toyota Crown Platinum was exactly what I thought it would be.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Toyota Motor North America
All photos by Randy Stern