The Toyota Crown has long been a traditional, three-box sedan. Now it’s getting a high-riding fastback twist.
Leaked patent images shared by Japanese outlet Creative Trend reveal a decidedly different prestige model for Toyota.
The quirky fastback has a similar style to the likes of the Citroen C5 X and the Chinese-market Ford Evos, not looking like a traditional SUV but appearing higher off the ground than a typical hatchback or wagon and featuring some black plastic cladding.
There’s what appears to be full-width light bars front and rear, and it bears some resemblance to two of the bZ electric concepts revealed by Toyota late last year.
The production model is rumoured to be revealed on July 15.
The Crown crossover will reportedly measure 4930mm long, 1840mm wide, 1540mm tall on a 2850mm wheelbase.
That makes it 20mm longer, 40mm wider and 85mm taller than the current car, albeit on a 70mm shorter wheelbase.
The Crown crossover will reportedly use the TNGA-K front/all-wheel drive architecture, used by the likes of the Toyota Kluger and upcoming Lexus RX, rather than the current car’s platform, a narrower version of the rear/all-wheel drive TNGA-L platform used by the Lexus LS.
BestCarWeb reports the Crown crossover will use the 2.4-litre turbocharged hybrid all-wheel drive powertrain of the upcoming Lexus RX500h F Sport High Performance, as well as Toyota’s 2.5-litre hybrid powertrain with eFour all-wheel drive.
The leaked images follow a report from Reuters in April that Toyota would launch a Crown SUV in markets like China, Japan and North America.
It’ll reportedly be offered with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains, with hybrid sales to begin in 2023 and the electric model due in 2024.
Whether an Australian launch is on the cards is unclear, though Toyota did trademark the Crown name locally last year.
It’s unclear if an updated version of the current rear-wheel drive Crown sedan will still launch, as has previously been speculated.
Sales of the current Crown have been declining in Japan. The current 15th generation model was launched in 2018, with much sleeker, sportier styling than before.
Though Toyota reportedly set a monthly sales target of 4500 units, it sold only 36,125 Crowns in Japan in 2019 and by last year volumes had declined further to just 21,000 units.
It may be a sedan in a global market shifting away from this body style, but the Crown is still an important vehicle for the Toyota brand.
Toyota launched the first generation of Crown in 1955 and it was the first passenger car developed and built entirely in Japan, and three years later became the first Toyota exported to the US in 1958.
Though its initial US run quickly fizzled, Toyota refined the car and subsequent generations were offered in the US until 1973.
With the end of seventh generation production in 1987, the Crown largely disappeared from Europe and was discontinued locally.
The 12th through 14th generations were produced in China, but today it’s effectively a Japanese market-only vehicle. It sits below only the exclusive Century.
In China, Toyota has been using the Crown nameplate in a different way.
Local joint venture FAW Toyota ended production of the 14th generation Crown in China in 2020, and subsequently it’s reintroduced the Crown name as a luxury sub-brand.
The Kluger crossover and Vellfire people-mover have received the Crown treatment, with various aesthetic tweaks inside and out and a high level of equipment.
Though the future of the Crown sedan remains in doubt, the Crown nameplate will have outlived essentially every Japanese rival nameplate that set out to beat it.
Mazda axed its Sentia (929) in 2000, Mitsubishi discontinued the Infiniti Q70-based Prodia and Dignity in 2016, Honda Legend production ended last year, and Nissan will end production of the Fuga and Cima (aka Infiniti Q70) sedans this year.
Despite flagging sales, the Crown still vastly outsells the rival Nissans.