Toyota thinks the Crown can save the sedan.
After many leaks and teaser images, the 2023 Toyota Crown has finally been revealed for the US market after a half-century hiatus. The historic nameplate returns in a funky package: a slightly raised sedan with hybrid-only powertrains. This is the only Crown variant that will be sold in the US, but in global markets, the Crown Crossover Type (that's the official Toyota name for the car outside of America) is one of four Crown models including a Sedan Type, Sport Type, and Estate Type. These additional body styles look pretty great, so why did Toyota only bring one to the US?
We caught up with Toyota Product Education Manager Don Johnson at the Crown reveal event in Austin, Texas to find out more about the company's decision on which variant to bring stateside.
"It takes the things people love about the sedan and bundles some (not all) of what they like in an SUV," Johnson explained.
"Why are people migrating from sedans?" Johnson asked referencing dwindling sedan sales in the US market. He then went on to explain what customers like about crossovers, namely ground clearance and a higher driving position with superior sight lines. The new Crown offers sedan styling, but improved ingress and egress for buyers who can't quite drop down into a conventional sedan like the discontinued Avalon anymore. "We wanted to reinvent the sedan for a new audience," he added.
That explains why the US got the Crown Crossover Type rather than the Sedan Type. But what about the Sport Type or Estate Type? The Sport Type is a pretty neat-looking crossover and the Estate type seems like it could be a premium rival for the Subaru Outback.
We believe the Crown should have included a liftback, citing vehicles like the Audi A5 Sportback, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, and Kia Stinger among others as proof of concept. "A hatchback is not a luxury product," Johnson replied, clearly believing Toyota customers will respond better to the Crown's sedan body style.
So are those other Crown variants doomed to remain forbidden fruit in the US? Not so fast.
"There's always a chance for future model additions," said Nathan Kokes Toyota Product Communications Senior Manager. Perhaps if the Crown sells well enough (or doesn't), Toyota might pivot and add one of the other three variants. We're personally rooting for the Sport type.