Filed under: Hybrid , Toyota , Quick Spins We don’t often come into contact with the Toyota Crown Hybrid , especially in colors other than pink . But when Toyota offered us the keys and a half-hour window to test out the Japanese version of the Lexus GS on US soil not long ago, we had to accept. Driving Notes: We’ll start with the start. The Crown Hybrid makes the friendliest, Japanese-iest sound when you turn it on. It’s like a high-fructose THX movie is starting. Considering this is a premium car, we were surprised the first time we turned it on, but then had to do it again and again. Purely for journalistic video-capturing reasons, of course, so you can watch and hear it below . We wish we had better-than-cellphone microphones to capture it. Compared to the Lexus GS 300h , which we drove immediately afterword along with the exact same route, it is clear the Crown is an executive’s car. The seats and suspension somehow made us feel privileged, not a feeling we’re used to in most hybrid cars.
Filed under: Sedan , Japan , Toyota , Design/Style , Luxury Akio Toyoda is doing a pretty decent job at the helm of the Toyota empire. This is the man, after all, that declared that Toyota would get new sports cars , and that they needed to be , not should be, rear-wheel drive. We can respect that. Toyoda is also trying to do away with his company’s conservative styling and bring edgier vehicles to market. Toyota’s designers have done just that, although perhaps they went a bit too far. In November, Toyota debuted its fourteenth-generation Crown with a bling-bling fascia that makes Lexus’ spindle grille look as conservative as a three-piece suit, and a retina-searing pink paintjob. See, in Japan, the Crown is to Japan’s older crowd what the 2002 Buick Park Avenue is to America’s senior citizens. As Automotive News reports, the idea with the pink was to draw attention to the grille, but it was originally intended as a debut item, only. Now, Toyota is actually planning to offer the electric fuchsia Crown for sale to regular buyers. Interested parties will have from September 1st to September 30th to place an order for the big sedan.
Filed under: Car Buying , Hybrid , Sedan , Japan , Toyota , Luxury The 58-year-old Toyota Crown line has entered its 14th generation with the unveil of the 2013 Crown Athlete and Crown Royal sedans for the Japanese market, both of which can be had with hybrid power. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter V6 with 200 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque, while the hybrid uses the 2.5-liter four-cylinder from the Camry mated to an electric motor for 176 hp and 163 lb-ft. The Athlete (shown above) gets a third choice, a 3.5-liter V6 with 311 hp and 278 lb-ft. There are two transmissions in the mix, the base engine in either sedan shifting through a six-speed automatic, while the more potent V6 in the Crown Athlete gets an eight-speed auto. Depending on which model is chosen, either the rear or all four wheels will be driven. Outside, the sedan – less than an inch longer than our Lexus ES – gets a stiffer body thanks to more spot welding and a new can’t-miss-it grille reminiscent of a crown. On the Royal model, the opening is filled with horizontal bars, while the Athlete trim gets mesh filler. Inside is the Toyota Multi-Touch Operation unit that allows touchscreen control of various functions, new wood grain patterns and gold stitching. Driving and safety tech includes an Adaptive High Beam System, Panoramic View Monitor, Pre-collision System and Intelligent Clearance Sonar. Prices for the Crown Royal series start at 3,530,000 yen ($40,983 US) and go up to 5,360,000 ($62,225 US) for the hybrid Royal Saloon G.