With its original use as premium taxis or executive limousines, the Toyota Crown isn’t really designed for spirited driving. But last year, the automaker took the veteran nameplate to an entirely different direction in a bid to attract a wider and (hopefully) younger clientele. It’s no surprise, then, that the Crown now has a crossover version that’s aptly called the Sport.
The Crown Sport eschews diplomatic styling in favor of a low and wide stance that somehow suggests the type of driving it will be subjected to. Its long and bulbous hood and swooping roofline give the impression that occupants are meant to sit low inside the cabin. The handsome look is further enhanced by subtly flared fenders that accommodate the wide 21-inch wheels.
A distinctive front light signature flanks the massive mesh-type radiator grille. At the back, the design of the horizontally oriented taillights seems to be inspired by those of the GR Supra. Driving home the point that the Crown Sport is not just for mature buyers is the inclusion of brightly colored paint jobs normally reserved for sports cars.
One might say that compared to the exterior, the Crown Sport’s cabin is relatively minimalist and restrained. There is a massive 12.3-inch touchscreen with a cloud-based navigation system, and all the controls seem to be logically laid out. It can be said that the car prioritizes function over form, which shouldn’t really be surprising. After all, this is a Toyota.
Putting the “sport” in Crown Sport is the suspension system featuring MacPherson struts up front and a multilink setup at the rear. While there is no word about adaptive springs and dampers, the car will have rear-wheel steering. There are no details about how this will work in practice, but Toyota claims it will improve low-speed agility and high-speed stability.
Not as sporty as the suspension is the choice of powertrains. Two flavors of the 2.5-liter engine will be available: a parallel hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. Again, the Japanese automaker is keeping mum about the technical details. But it did say that the PHEV model will have a larger-capacity battery and, consequently, a longer electric driving range.
As expected, Toyota Safety Sense is standard equipment. Aside from the usual bunch of driver aids that come with the system, there will also be a predictive-driving system that assists with steering and braking depending on oncoming road and traffic conditions. The blind-spot sensors will also be used to warn occupants about obstacles before opening the doors.
In Japan, orders are currently being taken for the parallel-hybrid version, which starts at ¥5,900,000 (P2,243,000). This will be available in November this year, while the PHEV version will follow in December. Alternatively, the Crown Sport can be acquired through Toyota’s Kinto subscription service.