The Toyota Crown is an automobile which has been produced by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan since 1955. It is currently a line of mid-size luxury sedans primarily aimed at the Japanese market and sold in other select Asian markets. Introduced in 1955 as the Toyopet Crown, it has served as the mainstream sedan from Toyota in the Japanese market throughout its existence and holds the distinction of being the longest-running passenger-car nameplate affixed to any Toyota model, along with being the first Toyota vehicle to be exported to the United States in 1958. Its traditional competitors in Japan and Asia have been the Nissan Cedric/Gloria/Fuga and the Honda Legend, along with the defunct Mazda Luce, Isuzu Bellel and Mitsubishi Debonair.
The Crown was exported to the United States from 1958 to 1973. Exports to Europe began in 1964 with the first cars going to Finland. Other European countries which saw early imports of the Crown included the Netherlands and Belgium. Canada sold the Crown from 1965 to 1973. The United Kingdom was another market until the early 1980s. It was also exported to Canada for a few years—1965–68. Australia was another important export market for the Crown—to the extent that it was manufactured there from the mid-1960s until the late 1980s using many local components. The current island nations of Aruba and Curacao in the Southern Caribbean also imported the Toyota Crown starting from the second generation (S40) in 1965 in Curacao up until importation of the 10th generation (S150) was discontinued in 1998 due to the high price and low demand combined with the introduction of the Lexus GS series.
First generation (RS/S10/S20/S30; 1955–1962)
The Crown was introduced in 1955 in Japan to meet the demands of public transportation. The Crown was intended for private purchase, while the Master served in a commercial form as a taxi, both with the same 1.5 L Type R engine used on their previous car, the Toyopet Super. The front doors open conventionally, and the rear doors are “suicide doors”, a feature also utilized on the Toyota AA, Toyota’s first car. Small engine displacements were used to keep the vehicle affordable, as the Japanese Government began to impose an annual road tax to help develop and maintain a national transportation infrastructure in 1950. The appearance of the Crown shows some similarities with the European Ford Versailles and Simca Vedette.
Second generation (S40; 1962–1967)
Due to the introduction of the Corona, the dramatically restyled and enlarged Series S40 was launched in 1962, and saw the introduction of the Custom model. According to the Japanese Wikipedia article for the Crown, the styling was said to be influenced by the recently introduced Ford Falcon in 1960. The front grille approach has a similar appearance to the 1960 Imperial Crown (Chrysler), which speaks to Toyota’s aspirations that the Crown be a large, comfortable sedan. The station wagon body style carried over from the previous generation Masterline, but with more attention to the luxurious approach used on the Crown.
Crown Eight (G10)
The longer, wider and more upmarket Crown Eight was introduced in 1964 for the Japanese market, powered by a 2.6 L V8 engine. However, it had a different model designation, G10 (VG10 when fitted by 2.6 L V engine). The car was first introduced at the 1963 Tokyo Motor Show and introduced for sale on April 20, 1964, nine days before Emperor Showa’s birthday and the beginning of Golden Week in Japan.
Third generation (S50; 1967–1971)
Launched in 1967, the mechanicals were much the same as the previous generation, but additional equipment was included. Higher specification models used the 2.0-liter M engine or the 2.3-liter 2M engine. A premium level Super Saloon joined the Super Deluxe model, and was available with the 2M engine including twin carburettors, electric windows, rear seat radio controls, air conditioning and luxury fabric on the seating including the crown logo embossed into the vinyl. Lower specified models were equipped with the R-series four-cylinder engines.
Fourth generation (S60/S70; 1971–1974)
Launched in February 1971, the 4M 2600 engine was introduced with this generation, as was the luxurious Super Saloon trim level, followed by the Super Deluxe and Deluxe. The top of the line Royal Saloon was first introduced in the face-lifted Crown from 1973, adding luxury features from the Century limousine. The 2.0-liter 5R inline-four engine and the 2.0-liter M six-cylinder engine were also available. As for the previous generation, the M-C engine (in Japanese specifications) has 105 PS (77 kW; 104 bhp), while the 5R’s output increased somewhat to 98 PS (72 kW; 97 bhp). In some markets the previous 2.3 litre “2M” six remained available, in sedan or “utility wagon” forms. The Utility Wagon was a version halfway between commercial and passenger car, and had chassis codes MS67V until the early 1973 facelift when it was replaced by the MS68V with the 2.6 engine.
Fifth generation (S80/S90/S100; 1974–1979)
Launched in 1974 in Japan, export began from 1975. It was offered as four-door sedan, two-door hardtop coupe, four-door hardtop sedan, wagon, and van. Engines are 2.0- and 2.6-liter gasoline. The 2.2-liter diesel was introduced in October 1977. Trim levels are Standard, Deluxe, Super Saloon, and Royal Saloon. The Royal Saloon came in a longer body length, coupled with the 2.6L engine while lower trim levels were in the shorter body style and 2.0 L engines. Export models used the same body whether the two-litre 5R four-cylinder or the 2.6-litre 4M inline-six. In Europe, these models claimed 87 and 112 PS (64 and 82 kW) respectively.
Sixth generation (S110; 1979–1983)
Launched in 1979, this model had the engine upgraded from the 2.6 L to 2.8 L 5M-EU model. The 2-liter M was still on offer along with a turbocharged version—the M-TEU. The carburated 5M engine was also available in certain markets. In this series the model designation referred to the engine size — MS110 (2-liter), MS111 (2.6-liter), MS112 (2.8-liter). This was the last generation to install a four-cylinder, gasoline-powered engine. This model was the first generation Crown to be sold in Germany, beginning in 1980. The fuel injected 2.8 developed 145 PS (107 kW) in European trim, while the 2.2 diesel offered 66 PS (49 kW) and a choice of five-speed manual or an automatic (not in the Station Wagon). European sales started out at a respectable level, but with prices increasing at an alarming rate due to the appreciation of the yen, sales had dropped drastically by 1982.
Seventh generation (S120; 1983–1987)
Launched in 1983, this model used all three versions of the 5M 2.8L engine, the 5M carburetted version, 5M-E single overhead cam (SOHC) multi-point fuel-injected version, 5M-GE double overhead cam (DOHC), 1G-GE 2.0L DOHC, M-TE 2.0L single overhead cam (SOHC) Turbo, M-E 2.0L SOHC, 2L-TE 2.4L SOHC Turbo Diesel Ceramics Power or 2.4L SOHC Diesel Ceramics Power engines. All 2.0 L engines were installed with T-VIS (Toyota Variable Induction System). In September 1985, a supercharged version of the 2-liter G-series six replaced the turbocharged M-series.
Eighth generation (S130; 1987–1999)
Launched in 1987. Body style: Sedan, Hardtop, and Wagon, included the commercial Van. This model used 7M-GE 3000 cc DOHC, 1G-GZE 2000 cc DOHC Super Charger, 1G-GE 2000 cc DOHC, 1G-E 2000 cc, 2L-THE 2400 cc SOHC Turbo Diesel Hi Power (automatics), 2L-TE 2400 cc SOHC Turbo Diesel (with manual transmission) or 2L 2400 cc SOHC Diesel engines. The 4.0-liter 1UZ-FE, the same engine as in Lexus LS400, was available in the Royal Saloon G, which became the Toyota Crown Majesta with the next model revision in 1992.
In August 1991, when the Crown Hardtop was redesigned and became the S140 series, the Crown Sedan and Wagon were also restyled but retained the S130 model code. At this point the 1JZ-GE and 2JZ-GE engines replaced the M-series in-line-six engines for the Crown lineup, as well as some of the supercharged G-series models. The Standard Sedan for Taxi and base model Wagon feature round headlights and chrome bumpers. The taxi is powered by 2.4-liter diesel engine matched to 4-speed column-mounted manual transmission. In Hong Kong and Singapore, the Crown Sedan with the diesel engine was the most common vehicle used as taxis. The Crown Royal Saloon, meanwhile, was an exclusive car.
Ninth generation (S140; 1991–1995)
Launched in 1991, this model of Toyota Crown departed from the traditional styling of previous models, and introduced the new Royal Touring trim level. The new hardtop model carried the S140 chassis designation, while the refreshed Crown sedan and wagon still kept the S130 chassis from the previous generation Crown. Engine options used in the hardtop model were the 2JZ-GE 3000cc DOHC, 1JZ-GE 2500cc DOHC, and the 2L-THE diesel 2400cc SOHC engine. The 1G-FE 2000cc DOHC engine was carried over from the eighth generation for use in the sedan and wagon models. Transmission options were an optional five speed transmission dubbed “5ECT-i” used with the 2JZ-GE, a four speed “ECT-i” transmission used with the 2JZ-GE, and a four speed “ECT” transmission for the 1JZ-GE, 2L-THE, and 1G-FE equipped vehicles.
Tenth generation (S150; 1995–2001)
The 150-series Crown were built as Sedan and Hardtop (frameless door window) only. This was the first Crown to not use separate chassis construction. The Wagon retained the old 130 series model until 1999. Trim levels for Hardtop are Royal Extra, Royal Saloon, Royal Saloon G, and the sporty Royal Touring. 4WD is offered for Royal Extra and Royal Saloon. Engine is either 2.0, 2.5, or 3.0-liter 6-cylinder. As with previous generations, all vehicles with the 2.0 L engine were offered in a slightly shorter and narrower vehicle so as to be in compliance with Japanese Government dimension regulations. At its introduction in 1996, it won the Automotive Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference Car of the Year award in Japan which it shared with the Crown Majesta.
Crown Comfort (XS10; 1995–2017)
In an effort to return to the original purpose of the Crown, which was to serve as a taxi, the Crown Comfort had smaller exterior dimensions but a roomier and taller interior than the Crown Royal series.
Eleventh generation (S170; 1999–2007)
The 170-series, launched in September 1999, features shorter front overhang therefore maximizing interior and trunk space. There are two different 170-series 4-door Saloon; the Royal and Athlete. The Majesta, while sharing the same S170 chassis, is a separate vehicle which is larger and longer than the Crown and has distinctive front and rear styling. The four-door Hardtop was discontinued. The 170-series Estate launched in December 1999 was the first new Crown Wagon after the 130-series and continued in production until March 2007. The engine installed is either the 2.0, 2.5 or 3.0 in-line-six. The Athlete V has 2.5-liter 1JZ-GTE turbo and was offered in both sedan and wagon versions. The Royal was also offered with a 3.0-liter 2JZ-FSE mild hybrid. Later non-hybrid models were offered with the direct-injection version of the 2JZ engine.
Twelfth generation (S180; 2003–2008)
The S180 model of the Crown, released in late 2003, was based on the Zero Crown concept car. The engine was changed to a V6 for the new Royal and Athlete models, while the Crown Majesta used the V8 only, now in 4.3-liter form with 4WD optional. The new engines gave more performance while also giving better fuel economy. Radar Pre-Collision System added a single digital camera to improve the accuracy of collision forecast and warning and control levels. In television commercials in Japan a song was written by composer John Harle titled “How should I my true love know?”. G-BOOK was introduced in May 2006.
Thirteenth generation (S200; 2008–2012)
This generation of the Crown is available in 4 different trim levels: the Crown Royal series which is a more comfortable and luxurious car; the Crown Athlete series which takes the luxurious aspect of the Royal series but has more aggressive styling and sporty features; the Crown Majesta series with different styling and more luxurious features than the Royal series; and the Crown Hybrid series which is a trim level designated for the Hybrid Synergy Drive V6 drivetrain. The larger 4.6 L 1UR-FSE V8 engine incurs a higher road tax liability.
Fourteenth generation (S210; 2012–2018)
The fourteenth generation Crown was launched on 25 December 2012 with new styling, with the Royal series front styling theme paying homage to the fifth generation MS105 series. Most aspects of the car can be controlled by Toyota Multi-Operation Touch panel. The S210 Crown was launched in China in March 2015. Pricing currently ranges between 250,800 and 332,800 yuan (US$36,830–48,860) with four trim levels known as: Pioneer, Fashion, Sports and Elite. The Crown currently uses the 2 litre 8AR-FTS turbocharged four cylinder engine paired to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Compared to its Japanese counterpart, the Crown S210 in China is 35 millimetres longer in length, 5 millimetres wider, 15 millimetres shorter in height, 65 millimetres longer in wheelbase and is 165 to 305 kilograms lighter in curb weight. The front end of the Chinese variant has a razor blade grille just like its Japanese counterpart and has thinner headlights and taillights for a sleeker design. In Japan, the S210 Crown was discontinued in June 2018, having being replaced by the S220. As of May 2020, the S210 is still being sold in China.
Fifteenth generation (S220; 2018–present)
The fifteenth generation Crown was unveiled as a concept at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show in October 2017 and went on sale on 26 June 2018, alongside with the third generation Century. Three engine choices are offered so as to provide buyers advantages in savings with regards to Japan’s annual road tax obligation, and standard equipment content is increased with each trim package matched to the engine size. It was launched on “The Connected Day” event along with the new Corolla Sport on 26 June 2018.