Correspondent Gautam Sharma recently got his hands on the Toyota Crown Crossover derivative and reports.

Around the middle of 2022 Toyota Motor Corporation announced the latest generation of the Toyota Crown. This is a relatively unknown nameplate in SA. However, fifteen generations of the luxury sedan have been produced over 67 years of its existence, yeah, sixty-seven.

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Toyota SA initially announced that the Crown would go on sale locally in Q1 of this year. We guess that will now be Q1 of 2024. Although HQ has not yet introduced the model into the sales listings, we already spotted one for sale on the second-hand market.

Four Versions

The most recent generation has four different body styles. These are the Sport, Sedan, Estate and Crossover. All four versions are based on the company’s GA-K platform. This means they all have high-end components such as multi-link rear suspension.

The Crown is certainly an oddball from a visual perspective, especially in the two-tone paintwork that adorns the Platinum spec. It’s neither conventional sedan nor SUV but, in our view, that’s not a bad thing.

We’d suggest the Crown’s mould-breaking design and proportions are a welcome departure from the frumpy styling that was a hallmark of the nameplate in its past generations. Its visual pizzazz could entice a younger set of the buyers than the senior-citizen brigade that the model formerly attracted.

Cushy Interior

The cockpit layout is neat and modern, with a 12,3-inch virtual instrument cluster showcasing key information in an easy-to-read format. The large infotainment touchscreen is also generally easy to scroll through. Although, the navigation can occasionally be slow to calculate the route when prompted for guidance.

We like the fact there are physical buttons for all the HVAC functions. There’s no need to scroll through several screens just to alter the fan or temperature settings. Although most controls fall easily to hand are nicely tactile, I found the transmission lever a bit fiddly to operate, so it’s easily possible to end up in “N” when you wanted to select “D” or “R”.

The seats are nicely sculpted in both front and rear, although I found the driver’s seat a tad high for my liking. That said, the elevated position does at least make for good visibility in all directions. The Crown measures a whisker under five metres in length and its transverse-engine format means there’s acres of legroom in the rear, although the tapered roofline means occupants over 1,8 metres tall may find headroom is tight. Boot capacity of 430 litres is modest for a car of this size, but there’s still enough space to throw in a couple of full-size golf bags or suitcases.

Even the base model Crown XLE comes loaded with features, as the standard kit list includes heated/cooled leather seats (eight-way adjustable in front), eight-inch infotainment screen with Apple Carplay/Android Auto, eight-speaker sound system, 21-inch alloys, electric boot opener with kick sensor, panoramic sunroof, soft-close doors, LED headlamps and plenty more.

Hybrid Power

One of the key highlights of the Toyota Crown is the hybrid powertrain. It pairs a transverse mounted 2,4-litre four-cylinder turbo motor with a rear eAxle to serve up outputs of 254 kW and 550 N.m. The 2,4-litre four-cylinder turbo engine is a smooth unit that doesn’t get raucous even when you cane it.

The rear e-motor kicks in an additional 292 N.m. This means there’s enough torque on tap to make for effortless acceleration and even half-throttle getaways from traffic lights will see you surge ahead of other vehicles. The six-speed auto is also seamless and intuitive, so there’s little to fault in the drivetrain. See video at the bottom of this post.

A Pleasant Surprise

The Toyota Crown Crossover proved somewhat of a surprise packet. Our expectation was that it would be a flaccid limo that erred towards comfort at the total expense of dynamism. The reality is otherwise as the Crown Crossover is an entertainingly lively sedan that’s not averse to being hustled – up to a certain point. Even though the Crown tips the scales at a beefy 1 971kg, acceleration is still lively as it dispatches the 0-100 km/h sprint in comfortably under 6 seconds. There’s a wave of instant grunt that’s accessible right from the get-go.

There’s clearly no lack of straight-line performance from the turbo hybrid powertrain. It’s backed up by a chassis that serves up a tidy blend of ride comfort and agility. The suspension soaks up most road-surface imperfections in its stride, although sharp corrugations are transmitted through to the cabin. There’s almost total silence in the cabin at steady cruising speeds, with only a trace of wind noise from around the A-pillars disturbing the serenity.

Toyota says it has also worked hard to minimise noise intrusion to provide a cocoon-like cabin. Adaptive Variable Suspension (adaptive dampers) in the Crown Crossover provides pillowy ride quality without reducing the car to a dynamic blancmange. There’s also torque-vectoring by brake (Active Cornering Assist in Toyota-speak), which helps to quell understeer.


All in all, the Crown Crossover is an enjoyable and relaxing vehicle to steer. One of the few gripes is that the lane-assist feature is overeager to keep you centred in your lane. There’s a pleasingly premium ambience inside the cabin. Although it’s interesting to note that the only Toyota badge on the car is the one on the bootlid. The logos on the bonnet, alloy wheel centres and steering wheel hub all feature the Crown motif.

There’s certainly merit to the new-age Toyota Crown, and it’s a far more capable sedan than we had anticipated. It’s also a welcome sign the Japanese car-making giant is back to building desirable vehicles, as in the past decade or two it’s traded almost solely on brand value and reliability.