Patent images of Toyota Crown confirm doubts of ultra-loyal sight-unseen buyers

For decades, there has been a particular breed of customer for the Toyota Crown. These buyers were so loyal, dealers could count on them to trade in for each new generation before they had ever laid eyes on the car. Orders closed on the current generation Crown in March, but for the first time these same dealers are reporting that these once steadfast Crown devotees are holding back. Images of the next-generation Crown have leaked, and it seems to have confirmed their doubts.

The Toyota Crown has been a staple of Japan’s automotive bestiary for almost 70 consecutive years. Aside from the Land Cruiser, it is the oldest continuous nameplate in Japan. Since 1955 there have been 15 generations, all front-engined, rear-wheel drive. Coupe and wagon variants have existed from time to time, but the Crown sedan was the default that has been part of the country’s cultural fabric for almost as long as there have been cars in Japan. It was a constant, and that let loyal Crown customers place what was once an unshakable faith in Toyota.

However, it seems that months of rumors have created uncertainty about the sixteenth-generation Crown. Now, images of the next-generation Toyota Crown have been discovered in filings to Japan’s patent office. Rumors that it would be an SUV were not exactly accurate, but looking at the images one can see why it may have been mistaken for one. Instead, it looks to be something between a sedan and crossover, like a modern Subaru SUS. Whatever it is, it’s a huge departure from previous Crowns.

The new Crown will measure 4,930 mm long, 1,840 mm wide, and 1,540 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,850 mm (195 inches long, 72 inches wide, 60 inches tall, with a 112-inch wheelbase). That’s a significant 85mm (3.3 inches) taller than the current Crown, but the height might be somewhat offset visually by a 20mm (0.79 inch) increase in length and 40mm (1.6 inch) increase in width. The overall proportions are not what one would call pretty, but some renderings by Best Car magazine show that a decent looking sedan may be coaxed out of the design.

That same article says that the so-called 235-series Crown will be built on the same platform as the RAV4, Harrier, and Lexus RX. Power will reportedly come from either a 2.5-liter hybrid with CVT or a turbocharged 2.4-liter hybrid mated to a six-speed automatic, both putting power down through an all-wheel-drive system. An RS trim level will have exclusive colors and higher performance.

These types of reports are pretty reliable, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that the wheelbase is exactly the same length as the new Toyota bZ4X. The head and taillight treatment is also evocative of some electric concepts Toyota has shown. Could it be that the S235 Crown will simply debut as an EV? If true, that would soften the blow a little bit.

Whether the Crown will look as good as the Best Car illustrations or as awkward as the patent renderings suggest is up in the air. We do know that a version is expected to be released in the US. If that’s true, it would mark the first time the Crown has been sold here since 1972.

That model, nicknamed the kujira (meaning baleen whale in Japanese) was also a controversial design at the time. Sales took a dip and the Crown was surpassed by the Nissan Cedric/Gloria. Toyota quickly returned to a more conventional look with the following generation and has firmly stayed in that lane ever since.

This time, it is unlikely that the Crown will return to its roots. In 1990 an average of 17,000 Crowns were registered in Japan every month, according to Best Car. In March 2022, only 2,504 new Crowns were registered. Sedans are becoming extinct, and perhaps a fastback quasi-crossover is a harbinger of what’s to come. In any case, all will be revealed on July 15, when the new Crown is scheduled to debut in Japan.

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12 Responses to Patent images of Toyota Crown confirm doubts of ultra-loyal sight-unseen buyers

  1. Crown says:

    The ’72 Crown was a big departure in “conventional” design just like this new design.
    That is why it is so collectible.

  2. speedie says:

    The patent images give us an idea of what a Honda Crosstour would look like if you squashed it a bit. It’s not an improvement. If they style it along the lines of what Best Car showed it could look like, I think they will have a much better seller. As Ben notes though, the era of the conventional sedan are coming to an end and Toyota needs to determine where the Crown platform stands in this brave new world of SUVs and electrification.

  3. LB1 says:

    Is that a vacuum cleaner or a Honda Civic or both?? No way that can be the new Crown. No siree.

  4. nlpnt says:

    It wouldn’t be bad looking as a Corolla-size car but at Crown proportions it would strike me as a bit off. Probably much more so to eyes accustomed to the JDM automotive scale.

  5. Fashion Victim says:

    These days its all about aerodynamics, hence that smooth sloping rear end employed by almost all car makers.

  6. Land Ark says:

    While I am slightly happy it isn’t a run-of-the-mill crossover seeing the renderings I am overwhelmed with sorrow.

  7. Lakdasa says:

    Looks too much like a Honda. Unless this is based on a BYD (they were going to make a rebadged BYD into a Corolla).

  8. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    That feeling of selecting a compact rental car like a new Carolla but they hand you the keys of a 3 year old Kia.

  9. Jake says:

    I don’t mind it at all, really. I think this will like quite nice in the flesh, especially in the right color. And I applaud Toyota for having the courage to bring it here. They won’t sell, but I’ll certainly enjoy seeing one driving around every few weeks.

  10. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Looks too much like >>>insert any SUV<<<. I wish car makers would get away from their aero styling cues. It’s tired. Not a fan of Kia but their ionic 5 is a real stunner. Maybe it’s time to go out of house for designs. This car looks like it was designed by the finance department or Board of Directors.

  11. XRaider927 says:

    Heck, even Volvo had a “crossover” sedan with the Volvo S60 Cross Country..Now I have a question to ask: Is the Subaru Legacy SUS the first “crossover” sedan ever existed? Or something else before Subaru did?

  12. Mark F Newton-John says:

    Well, this is the trend these days… At least Toyota is still making cars, as opposed to the American companies who have abandoned them for SUVs. So we’re seeing Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan take over the sedan market.
    Remember, even the European companies are going with these crossover SUV-type coupes, such as the Cayenne, X6, et al.

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