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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Weitzman

2024 Toyota Crown Hybrid Max review: a quick misfire

This surprisingly fast sedan is a wayward misfire from Toyota

Toyota Crown Hybrid Max review | The Road Beat

2024 Toyota Crown Hybrid Max review with The Road Beat

Words and pictures by Mitchell Weitzman

I had hope for the fastest and most expensive version of Toyota's new oddball Crown, a sedan that's not quite a sedan, but not concretely a crossover either. This unique inbetweener could make sense if it did any one thing correctly, let alone multiple things, but it sadly sails wide of the goalposts. At least it's quick, but even then that's all relative because while it may be quick for a Toyota, it's not that quick for a $54,590 sedan when similarly priced competitors are considered; By that standard, it's only barely just average. Living in the greater Sacramento area, the Crown has been on sale for a year now, and I can count on only one hand just how many I've seen on public roads. People have obviously not warmed to it in this market, and after spending a week with the top-shelf product, they are right not to.

Let's talk MPG, because efficiency was the only reason the entry-level Crown was ever worth considering. Averaging 39.5 MPG during my week with the base Crown, I was very impressed with how little fuel it sipped for such a spacious mini-limo. That was with its naturally-aspirated engine and 236 total system horsepower from its hybrid powertrain. Upgrading to the Hybrid MAX, like on this here Platinum model, means the engine is now turbocharged, with output rising to a respectable 340. As a result, 0-60 MPH drops from 7.3 seconds on the standard-issue car to a 2024-appropriate 5.8 seconds with this MAX powertrain. 5.8 seconds ain't setting any records anywhere, but it's one of the quickest Toyotas ever. However, and this needs to be a huge consideration with this car and configuration: Opting for the extra potent motor means fuel economy crashes down to a disappointing 27 MPG. 27 is not disappointing in this class of vehicle, but that's shockingly worse than the last Crown I tested. Looking back at past testing notes, I tested a Genesis G80 with its 2.5L turbocharged 280-horsepower base engine, and it's neither slower than the Crown with Hybrid MAX as well as no worse efficient, also averaging 27 MPG in my test without the help of any hybrid electrical assist. A BMW 330i has nearly 100-horsepower less on paper than this Crown, but it's the same story, being neither slower nor any less efficient without a hybrid. TL:DR it's an economical sedan, but it's not an entirely economical hybrid.

2024 Toyota Crown Hybrid Max exterior rear

So the advanced turbocharged hybrid powertrain only really brings it up to almost level with competitors of its space, not ahead, but maybe the Crown can deliver the goods fit for royalty on the inside? Well, it sure is spacious, with legroom to spare even in the rear seats, but for the price of nearly 55-grand and the 'Platinum' moniker to establish this example as the one true divinity in the range, it fails to convince that this is a luxury product. Again, is this a luxurious Toyota? Maybe, but is it a luxury car? No. Toyota subsidiary Lexus currently sells the same-priced ES sedan, based on the prior Avalon (that the Crown replaced), and the ES is heads and shoulders a more luxurious prospect in terms of fit and finish and materials used complete with appropriate upscale touches. You want to be wowed by an interior? Swing open the door of the aforementioned Genesis G80, even in base spec, and it just looks and feels special.

I further dislike the NINETEEN buttons on the steering wheel, yes, there are nineteen to keep track of and master, but the gear lever is awkward to use at times, both the heated seats and heated steering wheel were weak (I've never once complained about any car's heated seats or wheel, but the Crown's barely heat up at all), and the trunk also creaks when opened (which my prior-tested Crown also exhibited), and not just that, but the little plastic button to open the trunk from outside is of particularly poor construct and the trunk isn't even power! I thought this was supposed to be a luxury product from Toyota, no? And at this price for a Toyota, I would hope for a trunk that opens under its own power, let alone one that creaks. At least it's well-equipped in terms of safety and basic entertainment tech, so you'll be missing nothing there, and the center infotainment display is also easy to operate.

2024 toyota crown platinum interior

Yet the real frustration with the interior comes in the form of the outright execution. Bearing a very-much-so luxury price tag, this Crown Platinum never approaches anything resembling luxury. Again, it might luxurious for a Toyota, but it lags far behind the sumptuousness of even its Lexus ES sibling, let alone what the Germans, Swedes, or South Koreans can offer at this same price range when it comes to overall quality of its cabin. A luxury car this is not. And what's with those poorly shaped and bulging JBL speakers mounted on the A-pillars? Those are eyesores.

Place your hands on the wheel, and you'll find steering that is numb and artificial, lacking any substance and forgoing confidence. Driving straight on the highway is easy enough, as it is in most any new car, but if you were hoping for a sporting edge to match the increased power of the Hybrid Max, well, there isn't any. Echoing its rounded, soft exterior, this is a wallowing creature when you get aggressive with the steering and ask for successive direction changes. Grip is enough to scare most any passenger from its big tires wrapping monstrous 21" wheels, but this one that prefers a leisurely walk in its Uggs rather than a mountain run. What's more inconvenient is that this Hybrid Max model hasn't received any apparent changes in suspension tuning, and it's pretty clear that this now has too much power for the Crown to properly handle anything other than perfectly straight freeway onramps. Competitors, even the Avalon it replaces, are more engaging to drive with far more dynamic prowess when the road is anything other than straight.

Toyota Crown platinum hybrid max rear seats

It's not that the Crown is a bad car, but one that is undeniably underwhelming and overpriced. Because the prospective customers Toyota is (trying) to target with the Crown likely have little interest in the quick acceleration of the Hybrid MAX, they would be better off with the normal Crown and enjoy the nearly 50% increase in fuel economy. As for those wanting to spend 50-large on a nice car, this just doesn't cut it. Look to Lexus and the ES sedan or better yet, if you actually enjoy driving and some real style, Genesis' G80 is a formidable opponent in all flavors. I didn't even bring up the looks because I know they're subjective, but I will say several friends were quite negative towards the shape of the Crown. Applaud Toyota for trying something new that isn't an SUV, but this is answer to a question that never existed in the first place.

2024 Toyota Crown Platinum Hybrid Max

Price as-tested: $54,590

Pros: Quick (for a Toyota); Spacious

Cons: Interior quality does not match price; Not that efficient


Dusty Santos
Dusty Santos
Jul 02

How about reviewing the Crown Signia to compare?

Jul 02
Replying to

Have not tested it yet. Hopefully soon!

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