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2024 Toyota Crown Platinum review: A true automotive crossbreed

The pluot is a complex mix of plum and apricot. These tasty stone fruits provide a juicy zing in every bite along with loads of sugar and complexity. Aiming for a sweet cross of its own, Toyota has been doing a little automotive hybridizing, mixing sedan and crossover genetics to create the new Crown, a four-door car with upscale amenities and the elevated ride height of a utility vehicle. This mix may not be quite as sweet as a tree-ripened pluot, but it’s still worth a taste.

A replacement for the long-running if generally uninspiring Avalon sedan, the Crown offers luxury-car refinement and strong performance with the Hybrid Max powertrain, which is standard in the top-line Platinum model.

This four-door is boldly styled, with a massive grille – de rigueur for Toyota these days – flanked by leering quad-LED headlamps. The Crown’s sides are smooth and clean, punctuated by stylish 21-inch wheels. It’s also hard to argue with the available two-tone paint jobs Toyota offers, which add some real visual punch and help this four-door stand out in crowded parking lots or stop-and-go traffic. Really, the Crown’s only unflattering angle is the rear, where it’s a bit too tall and narrow. Black accents around the blacked-out trunk lid do the visuals no favors, either, making it look like the car has a load in its diaper.

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The Crown is not an unattractive car. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Between the front fenders, Platinum models come standard with Toyota’s potent and shockingly smooth Hybrid Max powertrain. This setup is centered around a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. Bolstering output and providing standard all-wheel drive are two electric motors. The front dynamo cranks about 82 horsepower while the rear is good for an additional 79. Throw a 5 amp-hour nickel-metal hydride battery pack into the mix for recuperating energy that would otherwise be wasted, and this Crown is graced with 340 total system hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, figures that deliver silky-smooth acceleration and 60 mph in an estimated 5.7 seconds (with 91-octane fuel). Flat-foot the go-pedal and this Toyota scoots, with impressively little engine noise filtering into the cabin. Indeed, the powertrain sounds like it’s under the hood of another vehicle entirely, one that’s two or three cars ahead.

Gas pumps will also be fairly distant. The Hybrid Max powertrain is EPA rated at 29 miles per gallon in city driving and 32 on the highway. Combined, the car should return 30 mpg, though in mixed use I’m only averaging 27 and change, which is still impressive for a large sedan with strong performance, even if it’s a little short of the estimate.

Limited and XLE models feature a less-potent but more efficient hybrid drivetrain with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This system delivers 236 hp and up to 42 mpg, but regardless of the trim you choose, every version comes standard with all-wheel drive.

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The Hybrid Max powertrain delivers strong performance and good efficiency. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Matching that creamy-smooth powertrain is the Crown’s ride quality. Thanks to an Adaptive Variable Suspension system – another standard feature of the Platinum model – this car glides along broken pavement and uneven surfaces, making it feel like you’re practically driving on thick-pile carpeting instead of concrete, asphalt or gravel. With an ultra-hushed interior, the Crown carries speed with astonishing ease. Underway, I often find myself driving 5 or 10 mph faster than intended because the car is so refined.

Moving inside, the Crown Platinum’s cabin makes a strong case that you don’t need to buy a Lexus if you’re looking for some luxury. The interior is attractive, solidly built and plenty comfortable. Smooth leather and soft plastics abound, with padding on all the common touch points, even the upper portions of the rear doors, an area where automakers often pinch pennies. The Crown comes with a bank of physical climate controls underneath the 12.3-inch central touchscreen. While a little small and somewhat fiddly, these do make it easy to adjust the fan speed, temperature or activate the standard heated and ventilated front seats. The only downside is the air distribution selector, which, as in numerous Japanese vehicles, is only one button. To cycle between panel, defroster or footwells, you have to repeatedly push the button, which can be distracting. Including three separate selector buttons, like many other automakers do, is much more intuitive approach.

In keeping with current trends, this Toyota comes standard with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a touchscreen of the same size. The former is fiddly and, honestly, surprisingly unintuitive to cycle through – the various menus and customization options just don’t make a lot of sense – though the infotainment system that lives inside the latter display is easy to use and quite snappy, plus it supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

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If you want luxury, the Crown’s interior comes close. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

The Crown features a traditional volume knob on the center of the dashboard and it’s easy for the driver or front passenger to reach, but a tuning knob is missing in action, a curious omission. The infotainment system’s voice assistant is handy for finding points of interest, turning the seat heater on or even searching for certain facts or figures, like the year Abraham Lincoln was born. Unfortunately, this system doesn’t do it all – it can’t, for instance, lower the windows or change drive modes – and it’s not always clear what is possible and what is not, a problem with every voice assistant, not just Toyota’s.

The front bucket seats power adjust in 8 ways and are all day comfortable, with great support and just the right amount of suppleness. Passengers in the back are well cared for, too, as the Crown’s aft accommodations provide generous legroom and just enough head space for lanky riders. Upping the luxury factor there are also separate air vents, a duet of USB type-C ports, a fold-down center armrest and heated outboard cushions.

Thanks to the elevated ride height and 5.8 inches of ground clearance, entering and exiting the Crown is a snap. The high-for-a-sedan H-point and narrow sills make it sliding in easy, particularly for those with stiff joints or mobility issues.

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Would you consider a two-tone paint job? Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Easing the burden of driving, the Crown comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, a suite of aids that includes lane centering, adaptive cruise control, road sight recognition, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and automatic high beams. Most of these features work exactly as advertised, but that last item needs work. The Crown’s automatic high beams are the worst I’ve ever experienced. At night, they’re off more than they’re on, constantly reacting to false positives, things like green traffic lights a quarter mile or more ahead, reflective road signs or even taillights far in the distance. I’ve never seen such spastic automatic high beams in any vehicle before.

Aside from all those amenities, Platinum models also come standard with a 360-degree camera. This system makes parking in tight quarters less of a chore, but as in other Toyotas the resolution is disappointingly low, so the video feed is grainier than a slice of artisanal bread.

The 2024 Toyota Crown is available in three trim levels: XLE, Limited and Platinum. Each model features a hybrid powertrain and comes standard with all-wheel drive. As for pricing, the base version starts at less than $42,000 including $1,095 in destination fees, a very reasonable sum for a large, comfortable sedan. With a few options – like two-tone paint, mud guards and side puddle lamps – the Platinum example tested here checks out for $55,838 including delivery, which is Lexus territory for a vehicle that doesn’t feel quite that special.

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The 2024 Toyota Crown is a good car with a few downsides. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Toyota’s reborn Crown sedan delivers loads of performance and refinement, but a few curious design and technology choices taint an otherwise pleasant experience. A few minor upgrades and enhancements could dramatically improve this already likable four-door.

At a glance

  • Year: 2024
  • Make: Toyota
  • Model: Crown
  • Trim: Platinum
  • Type: Elevated hybrid sedan
  • System Horsepower: 340
  • System Torque: 400 pound-feet
  • MPG ratings (city/highway/combined): 29/32/30
  • Pros: Luxury-car refinement, smooth ride, potent acceleration, upscale interior, comfortable accommodations, easy ingress and egress
  • Cons: Styling not for everyone, industry-worst automatic high beams, unintuitive digital instrument cluster, low-resolution backup camera
  • Estimated Base price: $41,445
  • As-tested price: $55,838 including $1,095 in destination fees
Written by Craig Cole

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