This would be a bold move by the carmaker.
Enthusiasts may scoff at them, but the sales figures show that consumers can't get enough of SUVs. In the US, Toyota's best-selling car is the RAV4, with over 407,000 sold in 2021. High-riding SUVs are the money makers and, as such, automakers are doing away with sedans. Toyota, for example, has elected to not renew its competent Avalon for the 2023 model year. Earlier this year, we speculated the Crown would replace the Avalon in the US, with a leaked dealer memo suggesting the classy sedan would arrive in October 2022.
But if they're a dying breed, why would Toyota replace the Avalon with yet another large sedan? Well, according to bestcarweb, it may not arrive as a traditional sedan. As rendered below, the Japanese publication has suggested that the 16th-generation Crown may spring a crossover derivative of sorts. While it has fastback body styling, the render below shows a raised ride height and chunky black wheel arch trim, as favored by consumers.
While it may not offer a traditional SUV shape, this could be the ideal vehicle to replace the Avalon and appeal to crossover-crazy buyers. The already popular Corolla nameplate has been made even more successful thanks to the introduction of the Corolla Cross worldwide, so why not introduce an upmarket Cross derivative to bolster the range?
The SUV variant of the Corolla is cooking up a sales storm everywhere it is sold. In other regions, like South Africa, it has supplanted cheaper vehicles as the top-selling passenger car in the country. When the hybrid derivative hits the USA, it will only grow stronger.
Reportedly, the new Crown and the Cross variants will utilize a front-wheel-drive platform, which strays from the model's traditional rear-wheel-drive layout. Aside from the introduction of a crossover model, the very fact that Toyota is reportedly seeking to replace the current generation is very interesting. After all, it was only unveiled in 2018. The Japanese brand recognizes the lack of demand for large, mainstream RWD sedans.
The crossover styling would, likely, appeal to US consumers and the front-wheel-drive layout will make it spacious inside. But where Toyota would position it is a mystery. The design appears to follow the four-door coupe concept of the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7, but neither of them is offered in a crossover style. Mercedes and Audi do, however, offer Allroad and All-Terrain derivatives of their respective mid-size offerings.
Targeting the upmarket brands would place the Crown in a higher price bracket and, as such, see Toyota products competing with Lexus vehicles. If the Crown crossover were to make it to America, it would be very interesting to see how it is positioned. The Crown nameplate is used as a separate, upmarket brand in China. A Crown Kluger (essentially a plush Highlander) is available. Perhaps a variation of this could be the Crown heading for the US. As lovers of sporty sedans, we're really hoping it's some form of the famed rear-wheel-drive model.