Just before we presented the Ten Forbidden Fruits of the Automotive World, Toyota has launched the 14th-generation Crown sedan. Offered in rear- and all-wheel-drive forms, the Crown sits near the top of the Toyota brand range, offering Lexus-like technology.
The Crown will be offered in Royal and Athlete trim lines -- it's the latter that features one of the strangest front grilles we've ever seen. Perhaps in an effort to attract younger customers, the Toyota Crown Athlete has a polarizing front grille and an available 3.5-liter V-6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, a combination not found on the Crown Royal. Possibly previewing what we'll see on the upcoming redesigned Lexus IS, the Toyota Crown offers a hybrid with a 2.5-liter I-4 engine as well as a 2.5-liter V-6 in rear- and all-wheel drive mated to a six-speed automatic.
The Crown is offered in six exterior colors, though Toyota's consumer site oddly shows one car in a bright-pink hue. Inside, the Toyota Crown has wood-grain panels with gold stitching and a pre-collison system. With four cameras positioned around the vehicle, the Crown offers a better view of what's lurking on each side of the sedan. To prevent oncoming traffic from being blinded by the Crown's high-beam headlights, the car will selectively block certain portions of the lights. Other premium options include adaptive cruise control, rear power seats, a multi-function touch panel to control interior displays, and heated rear seats.
Then there's the hybrid system, which uses a nickel-metal hydride battery and 2.5-liter I-4 engine like the Toyota Camry, but has nearly 220 hp and is said to provide the performance of a 3.0-liter V-6. We're not sure the 14th-generation Toyota Crown would fit in the U.S. market, but wonder how much of the car's technology previews what we'll see in upcoming Lexus models.