Is the Toyota Crown a Sedan or a SUV?

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

The Toyota Crown came to market late last year as a new full-size vehicle offering. Available with a host of hybrid powertrains, it features unique styling and cool two-tone paint options.

The Crown left many people with the same question though. Is this new Toyota a car or a SUV? In an attempt to help clear things up, we’ll look at several aspects of the vehicle to see if it truly is a car, or a SUV.

It Has a Trunk

Walk around to the back of the Crown and there’s a conventional sedan trunk waiting there. We can’t think of many SUVs that come with a separate cargo compartment like sedans and coupes have for decades.

Low Ground Clearance

The Crown gives the impression that it's riding higher than a conventional car, but a look at the spec sheet tells another story. The Crown has 5.8-inches of ground clearance which is only 0.1-inches more than the Camry. Compared to Toyota’s own Highlander with 8.0-inches of clearance, the Crown comes up short as a SUV.

There’s Abundant Body Cladding

Although the Crown has a distinctly sedan like profile (complete with the aforementioned trunk), the rest of its styling cues are very SUV. There’s a mostly blacked-out front fascia and lower body cladding all around. Even the wheel arches have unpainted body cladding, which is extremely rare for a sedan, at least one not wearing a Subaru badge.

Familiar Powertrains

Powering the Crown is a choice of hybrid drivetrains that come exclusively with all-wheel drive. The entry level unit is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid while the optional engine is a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder hybrid. These two drivetrains have another home in the Toyota lineup as well, the Grand Highlander SUV.

The Toyota Camry does also have a 2.5-liter hybrid option, but unlike the Crown, it does not include all-wheel drive.

Interior Space

Step inside the Toyota Crown and the immediate feel is that of a car. This isn’t much of a surprise given the Crown’s car-like shape. Headroom is a bit tight all around, with just 38.2-inches of cranium capacity up front and 37.5-inches for the rear seats.

So, What is It?

The Toyota Crown does blur the lines between car and SUV, taking the term crossover to heart. The deciding factor may come from the brand itself. On the official Toyota website, the Crown is listed under the cars section and not the SUV section. Furthermore, the Crown is an indirect replacement for the Avalon sedan.

So, there we have it. The Toyota Crown is a car, with heavy SUV undertones. It continues the tradition of Utility Sedans like the Subaru Legacy SUS and Volvo S60 Cross Country.

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Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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 1 comment
  • Duke Woolworth Duke Woolworth on Oct 21, 2023

    I dislike all the gaping maw blacked out front ends and cheap black trim pieces, certainly not exclusive to Toyota.