The 2023 Toyota Crown will arrive with a choice between two powertrains, the more powerful of which is a potent-sounding 2.4-liter hybrid combination. It’s an all-wheel-drive setup with tons of low-end torque, relatively good fuel economy, and a lot of potential future uses. In other words, it could be perfect for the next generation of Tacoma—or any other V6-powered, available all-wheel-drive vehicles Toyota wants to replace.
The Tacoma will reportedly be replaced by a model built on Toyota’s global GA-F truck platform, which is shared with the new Land Cruiser and Tundra. Little information has come forward about what could power the new Tacoma, but the Tundra’s available hybrid drivetrain proves the platform is compatible with electrification. Look closely at the new Crown’s 2.4-liter turbo-four, and you’ll see it does almost everything you’d want a truck to.
The drivetrain in question is the Crown’s Hybrid Max option, consisting of the 2.4-liter turbo-four backed by a pair of electric motors. The combustion engine and one motor drive the front wheels through a paddle-shifted, six-speed automatic, while a powerful, water-cooled motor turns the rear axle. Together they form an all-wheel-drive system Toyota calls E-Four Advanced, it can generate a total output of 340 horsepower, up to 80 percent of whose torque can be sent to the rear axle.
Toyota claims this drivetrain returns 28 mpg in the Crown, and that peak torque comes on between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm. Both are crucial in large vehicles on Toyota’s GA-F platform, like the Crown, Camry, Highlander, Sienna, and Venza, all of which share the Crown’s base 2.5-liter hybrid option. It stands to reason that the 2.4-liter would be relatively easy to engineer into any of these, if not other TNGA-family vehicles. Such as, say, the new Tacoma.
Powering the new Tacoma with the 2.4-liter turbo-four makes even more sense when you look at the engine it’s replacing in Toyota’s lineup. In the 2023 Highlander, a non-hybrid version of the 2.4-liter engine will replace an ancient 3.5-liter V6, one that was also used to power the Avalon. The Crown is the Avalon’s direct, full-size sedan replacement, and it too uses the 2.4-liter. Can you guess what pickup truck also uses that 3.5-liter V6? That’s right, the Tacoma.
Look at other uses of the V6, and you’ll find still more cars that could benefit from the Crown's new engine and possibly even its associated hybrid system. There’s the Camry, as well as a slew of Lexuses, namely the IS, ES, and RC. In all, it looks like the 2.4-liter turbo-four may straight-up replace the 3.5, and with 309 pound-feet of torque available so low in the rev range, that’s a matter of celebration for those awaiting the new Tacoma.
Or at least, it will be if Toyota confirms that’s what it’s doing; a spokesperson declined to comment when we asked. Still, the trend appears obvious enough from the outside that I’m willing to put a five on it. Any takers?
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