With every car turning into a crossover these days, it seems nothing is sacred. And if a report from Reuters is to be believed, that could apply to Toyota's storied Crown. The Crown sedan has been a standby of the Japanese automaker in its home country since being introduced in 1955, and now it could be getting a bigger SUV variant that's U.S.-bound.
While Toyota declined to comment officially to either Reuters or The Drive, three sources at the company anonymously confirmed that a Crown SUV will be coming in the summer of next year, and will be offered in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric versions. According to them, the hybrid will come to North America, which would be the first time a Crown has made it here since 1960. The first-generation Crown was actually yanked from the U.S. because it was too slow to keep up with interstate speeds, but Toyota did trademark the Crown name in the US in early 2021, so there's further evidence to back up that we'll be seeing a return of the badge for the first time in more than 60 years.
The insiders reportedly noted that the US will not be getting the plug-in hybrid version, which will allegedly only be sold in Japan. Meanwhile, the fully electric Crown, which is said to launch after the hybrid model, apparently hasn't had its export plans finalized yet. These sources also mentioned that the Crown sedan will be getting a redesign that will be revealed later this summer, but there's no word as to whether or not Americans will see that stateside; my guess is no.
While the Crown is one of Toyota's most storied vehicles, with 15 generations and counting, it comes into an American market that hasn't seen the badge in decades. The closest we've gotten in this millennium was the Lexus GS, which shared a platform with the JDM Crown until the early 2010s.
Personally, I find it hard to see where a Crown will slot neatly into the American Toyota lineup. Lexus already sells the RX, NX, and UX as hybrids, and Toyota sells the Highlander, RAV4, and Venza as hybrids, covering both luxury and standard markets across a range of sizes fairly well. More details will supposedly come later in the year, and then we can figure out exactly where the Crown fits into the U.S. market. I just hope Toyota keeps the cool Crown-specific badge.
Correction: An earlier version of this story's headline misstated the last time a Crown was sold in the U.S. It has been 50 years.
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