Toyota Crown Buying Guide
The Toyota Crown is among three luxury sedans produced by Toyota. To date, it’s the only one that is still in production after the Toyota Celsior was discontinued in 2006 and Toyota Century was discontinued in 2017. However, Toyota Still produces luxury sedans through its luxury and performance unit, Lexus. Most of its sedans were broken in the 1990s, and the early 2000s were replaced by the Lexus LS series.
Production of the Toyota Crown began in 1955, around the same time Prince Motors started making the Prince Skyline. Both cars were introduced due to the high demand for private and public vehicles. Still, as time went by, the Skyline transitioned to a full-blown sports car while the Crown remained a luxury sedan.
Most Toyota Sedans were sold worldwide, but the Crown was mainly for the Japanese and other limited markets, including Australia and countries in Asia. However, few units were sold in the US, most of which were coupes. It didn’t do well in the United States as it was too heavy and not engineered for American roads.
Like most Toyota Sedans produced in the same era, all generations of the Toyota Crown are front-engine rear-wheel-drive, including early models produced as the Toyopet Crown. But the Crown was never made for speed, and robust engines such as the 3UZ and 2JZ are only there to haul its massive weight.
If you want a fast sedan, or one that you can turn into a drift car, the Toyota Cressida, Chaser, Cresta, and other lighter sedans are the perfect options. The Toyota Century is also out of the question unless you buy it to swap the V12 out of it.
The Toyota Crown is common in JDM car meets. You’ll rarely find one on race tracks or drift tracks. This area is dominated by other sedans, including the Toyota Chaser and Mark II. But it’s one of the best JDM sedans you can buy. The only car sitting above it is the Toyota Century, which is Toyota’s most luxurious sedan.
Pros and Cons
The Toyota Crown was made to be luxurious. The technology used at the production time was ahead of its time. It’s not as elegant as a Toyota Century. Still, the price you get one at doesn’t get any better and is more luxurious than most sedans you would buy at a similar price.
Earlier generations had luxury features like heaters, a mini-fridge, and a stereo with rear-seat speakers control which might not seem like much. But at the time of production, it was equal to having a premium Bose stereo in your car. Higher spec models also had premium leather seats which you still might find as the type of leather used was made to last a lifetime.
In 1987 Toyota introduced an electronically controlled air suspension in the Crown Royal Saloon G. Other models use an independent rear suspension which is also great for a heavy AWD car. Other Luxury features available in the Toyota Crown include heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, leather seats and steering, digital gauge clusters, and window blinders.
Classic JDM sedans, including the Toyota Crown, have a timeless design that you don’t want to destroy by adding ridiculous aero parts such as wings and splitters or ridiculous body kits. All you need to make a Crown look better than its OEM form is some wheels and a good paint job. Restoring the chrome bits also sharpens the look, or if you prefer, you can black out the chrome bits.
The Toyota Crown is more of a show car than a sports sedan that you can throw around the drift track. You might have a high output 3UZ or 2JZ under the hood, but it makes sense to cruise windows down the highway at 50 miles per hour listening to that sweet straight piped exhaust.
JDM luxury sedans and wagons are some of the most affordable JDM cars you can buy. Prices for the Toyota Crown start at approximately $5,000, while higher specs with V8 or JZ inline-6 engines are priced at around $2,000 more. For that price, you can rarely get a car that looks better and is more comfortable than the Toyota Crown.
If you are planning to surprise your teenage son or daughter for their 16th birthday, a Supra might do, but the Crown is cheaper with a JZ under the hood. It might be challenging to drive due to the long wheelbase, but it’s the perfect beginner car to learn with.
Great Engine Options
The Toyota Crown isn’t a performance sedan. Still, you get fantastic engine options under the hood, including the infamous 3UZ, 1JZ, and 2JZ. These engines are capable of high figure power outputs, but they are some of the best sounding engines. A straight piped 1UZ sounds more like an AMG engine, and you can’t ignore the sound of a 2JZ engine even when in the presence of supercars.
But are these engines reliable? Yes. Some will say that they are unreliable due to the high fuel consumption, as a Toyota Crown will average below 13mpg. But this is nothing that should trouble you when you have a JDM luxury sedan. Engine reliability is, however, not entirely dependent on fuel consumption.
Toyotas are known for their durability and reliability. These engines will live throughout the Crown’s lifetime and might just find their way into other cars. Even the M series carbureted engines will outlive most modern engines when maintained correctly.
Great Ride Quality
The primary purpose of a luxury sedan like the Toyota Crown is timeless comfort and luxury. Regardless of its age, the Toyota Crown drives pretty well unless it has suspension and drivetrain issues. Toyota Crowns with an active air suspension are some of the best riding cars you’ll ever own. They are pretty rare though.
The interior quality is perfect for both the driver and passenger. Front seats are heated and electronically controlled, enabling seamless change in seating position, and the rear seats have enough cushioning for maximum comfort. The floor padding and doors are insulated, so you won’t have to hear the road noise. But this is only on higher-spec trims.
Large Cabin and Trunk Space
The Toyota Crown was made to sit two people in the rear seat, but three adults can comfortably fit. A teenager or a mid-sized adult can also fit between two baby seats. However, top-of-the-line models have a rear-seat centre console or a mini-fridge and a bulge housing the armrest that might make the middle passenger uncomfortable.
Trunk space is also not a worry when buying a Toyota Crown. Sedans have a 530-litre trunk capacity, while wagons have more trunk space. But in wagons, you can lower the third-row seat as they have a 7-passenger seating capacity. Wagons are roomier than sedans, but the only downside is that they look like hearses.
The Toyota Crown has a long wheelbase, weighs a ton, but handles like a dream. If the engine has no issues, throttle response is smooth and quick, and you almost feel like you are driving a hovercraft. Acceleration is not too sharp, mainly because of the weight, but it’s nothing you can complain about when driving a 3500-pound car.
You would assume that braking is an issue, but Toyota thought ahead and installed all-around disc brakes on the Toyota Crown. Earlier models have rear drum brakes but large front brake callipers and rotors. In specs with V8 engines, the rotors are vented to reduce weight and improve cooling after braking when doing high speeds and when cornering.
The Toyota crown weighs around 3200 to 3700 pounds which is not light. The frame and suspension components contribute most to the weight. It uses a four-link suspension with an independent rear suspension. Crowns with an air suspension have a similar weight too.
Low Ride Height
Low ride height is good as it lowers the centre of gravity, thus stabilizing the vehicle at high speed and reducing body roll when cornering. But contact with bumps can damage components underneath, such as the oil pan, transmission, exhaust, and axles. You might also damage the front bumper, and at times when this happens, the damage might extend to the fenders and the hood.
High Fuel Consumption
The Toyota Crown is an excellent daily driven car. However, its fuel consumption will make you feel like leaving it at home and using public transport to work or school. Part of the reason why the Crown will rarely get to 15mpg is its weight.
Failure To Start
Older Toyota engines have a habit of failing to start, losing power, misfiring, and sometimes, rough idle. The main reason for these in such engines is clogged spark plugs which fail to ignite the fuel and air mixture. Oil and carbon buildups clog the spark plugs due to the following reasons.
Worn-out piston rings allow engine oil to leak through to the spark plugs, and over time it hardens and covers the spark plug’s electrode, which produces the spark. The same happens when the fuel-air mixture is too rich to ignite and produces carbon fumes covering the spark plug electrode.
The first thing that comes to your mind is to clean the spark plugs and reinstall them. This is a good but temporary solution. Before replacing or cleaning the spark plugs, ensure you trace the oil leak source and check the oxygen sensor that regulates the air-fuel mixture to be combusted.
If the issue is not too severe, it might result from the car not being driven for a while. Revving the car continuously or driving at high RPMs for 15 to 20 minutes allows the spark plugs to clean themselves.
Water Pump Failure
This is common in UR and GR engines, specifically the 2/3/4GR-FSE (V6), 3/5GR-FE(V6), and 1UR-FSE (V8) used in the Toyota Crown. Toyota didn’t notice the water pump failure on these engines until 2010 when it was corrected, so this is an issue you should expect with older versions.
The water pump might either stop working, start leaking or supply inefficient coolant to the engine causing it to overheat. Some of the first issues you should notice are the check engine light coming on and uncomfortable heat in the cabin. Also, the cooling system might leak when you see a lime-green, blue, or orange puddle where you had previously parked.
Using incorrect coolant will also lead to water pump failure. Trying to fix a faulty water pump is viable, but you don’t want to go down this road, especially if it’s the OEM one. Replacing it with a better aftermarket one is the best solution. While at it, check for leaks in the coolant hoses and the radiator.
Valve Spring Failure (Thin Valve Springs for 1UR Early Production)
The springs on older Toyota V8 engines made before 2006 are thin, leading to a loss of power at high RPMs above 4500. If you are a light-footer, this might not be a problem. But at some point, you have to replace the OEM valve springs, especially if the engine has high mileage or you are planning on increasing power output.
For a car as heavy as the Toyota Crown, you’ll need heavy-duty coil springs thicker than the standard ones. This is because heavier cars require more torque to accelerate. Thinner valve springs save you money, but you’ll notice poor gas mileage and, even worse, the springs causing the valves to fall into the cylinders when they break.
Thicker valve springs have a better-restoring force after being compressed; thus, the valves can open and close on time.
Ignition Coil Failure
If the ignition coil is faulty, an insufficient current is conducted to the spark plugs. You might mistake it for faulty or worn-out spark plugs due for a change. This is a common issue in JZ and other 6-cylinder engines in most Toyota cars produced in the 1990s, including the Toyota Crown.
The ignition coil on high-power engines sometimes overheats, thus losing conductivity. Which is only temporary but is the main contributing factor to the ignition coil as excess heat degrades the insulation between coil windings. An ignition coil will last for around 90,000 miles, but you should change it after about 60,000 miles or when changing the spark plugs. on older engines
You should also redo the wiring as older wires and harnesses become brittle over time, thus losing conductivity. When the wiring is faulty, replacing the ignition coil and the spark plugs does not do the engine any good.
High Oil Consumption
High oil consumption is always bad news, and most drivers will blame it on the engine’s age and assume nothing can be done to solve the issue. Indeed, older engines have a higher oil consumption, but if the engine uses 1 quart for less than 1000 miles, something needs to be done.
Start by checking the gaskets and seals, especially the crankshaft seals, valve stem seals, and valve cover gasket, which have probably never been replaced. The crankshaft and valve stem seals are made of rubber that wears out with time as they constantly contact the engine oil.
Porous piston rings. When large particles find their way to the piston rings, they rub on them, causing them to crack and dent on the edges. This causes engine oil to seep through into the combustion chamber. Also, there’s excess friction when the oil is too thin, leading to dented or cracked piston rings.
A faulty oil pressure sensor will read inaccurate oil pressure. Suppose there is excess oil in the engine in the engine. In that case, oil pressure increases, forcing oil into the cylinders. When it starts, it’s barely noticeable and doesn’t stop until you replace the oil pressure sensor. Early signs of a faulty oil sensor include; an oil pressure warning light, engine noises, and incorrect readings when you crosscheck with the dipstick. Such components are among those you should start replacing before your first long drive in your Toyota Crown.
Timing Belt Stretch and Break
Timing belts and tensioners on JZ end UZ engines are never good news. Typically a timing belt would last around 60,000 miles. But on these engines, it will overstretch and break at just under 50,000 miles. It might take the tensioner, especially when under high power output.
However, in JZ engines with electronic fuel injection, the piston and valve do not collide when the belt breaks. But in direct injection engines, it might end with the valve bending. There’s no way around this except to install a high-quality aftermarket timing belt and tensioner. Also, pay attention to the creaking sound and check the timing belt’s condition as you check the oil and coolant level.
Air Suspension Failure
After 1987, Toyota began using an electronically controlled air suspension and the Toyota Crown, among other comfort features, to enhance ride comfort. The air suspension was only used in the Royal Saloon G, and if it’s functional, you can lower or raise the ride height and alter the ride feel.
Toyota was ahead of time when installing an air suspension in the Crown, and it was built to last. However, like any electronics in older cars, controls are bound to fail, and wiring loses conductivity or breaks over time. As a result, the ride height and comfort settings remain as was the last time you used the controls.
Some drivers prefer to keep it that way as fumbling with electronics and suspension components on older cars unloads more expensive issues to repair. The ride comfort depreciates with time, and you’ll feel every chipping on the road and hear weird noises coming from the suspension.
You only have two choices when this happens. Switch to a standard suspension, maybe from a lower Spec Crown, or have your car fixed by an accredited technician and be ready to be billed heavily for parts and labour.
The Toyota Crown is one of the cheapest JDM cars regardless of its luxury sedan status. You can easily pick one up for around $4,000 to $7,000. Even with a 2JZ under the hood, the price will not exceed $10,000 unless there are some extensive performance or aesthetic upgrades.
- Toyota Mark II (Buying Guide)
- Toyota Century
- Toyota Chaser (Buying Guide)
- Toyota Celsior (Buying Guide)
- Nissan President
- Nissan Cedric
- Nissan Gloria
- Honda Legend
- Mitsubishi Proudia
- Mazda Sentia
Models and Specifications
1955-1962 Toyota Crown (S10, S20, S30)
The first-gen Toyota Crown was introduced in 1955 to cater to the high transportation demand in the public and private sectors. Earlier models were used as private vehicles and taxis. Still, Toyota began a separate production unit for the taxi industry, producing the Toyota Master. With 3 1.5-liter carbureted engine variants driving the rear wheels via a 3/4-speed manual or 2-speed automatic transmission, you get the first generation. It was produced either as a sedan in Standard and Deluxe trims or a pickup truck with a mini-bed.
1962-1967 Toyota Crown (S40)
Toyota aspired the Crown to be more comfortable than the previous generations for the second generation. Since some models were being exported to the US by third-party exporters, Toyota had to make it better than luxury sedans from manufacturers in the US, such as the Ford Falcon.
Engine sizes were also increased to a 1.9-litre 4-cylinder engine and two inline-6 engines, a 2.0-litre, and a 2.3-litre. The Japanese market also got a 2.6-litre V8 engine in the Toyopet Crown G10 made from 1964 to 1967. A new 2-door convertible was also introduced in 1963, but it was never produced.
The sedan and wagon were sold in Deluxe and Super Deluxe, while pickups and vans were sold as the Toyopet Crown Masterline.
1967-1971 Toyota Crown (S50)
A new 2-door hardtop coupe was introduced for the third-gen Toyota Crown alongside sedan, wagon, pickup, and van models. The S50 Crown has similar engines and mechanical components to the S40 Crown with few updates on the exterior.
Coupes have one-piece rectangular headlights, while other models have two-piece circular headlights on each side. The pickup was also produced as a double cab limited production model. To increase sales, introduced a new Super Saloon, which is more luxurious than the Super Deluxe spec.
The Super Saloon has premium leather seats, powered windows, and heating functionality. It has a 2.3-litre twin-carbureted engine, while other models used 2.0-liter engines with a single carburettor.
1971-1974 Toyota Crown (S60, S70)
The S60/S70 Crown was introduced in 1971, carrying over the same 2.0-litre, 2.3-liter, and a new 2.6-litre engine was introduced in the newly introduced Super Saloon Trim. The Crown had four luxury trims, Deluxe, Super Deluxe, Royal Saloon, and Super Saloon.
Transmission options remained the same with the addition of a 5-speed manual transmission. Most units sold in Japan have rectangular halogen headlights, while export versions have double circular headlights. Like other generations, the S60/S70 Crown was sold as a coupe, sedan, wagon, pickup, or van.
1974-1979 Toyota Crown (S80, S90, S100)
The Toyota Crown pickup was discontinued for the fifth generation to increase production for the sedan, coupe, and coupe models. All models were sold as either Standard, Deluxe, Super Saloon, or Royal Saloon.
The Royal Saloon is the most luxurious, with a 2.6-litre engine driving the rear wheels via a 4-speed automatic transmission. You get other models with a 2.0-litre or 2.2-liter diesel engine driving the rear wheels via a 4/5-speed manual or 3/4-speed automatic transmission. However, the 4-speed automatic transmission was reserved for higher-spec luxury trims.
The fifth-gen Toyota Crown was the first-ever Crown to use disc brakes on all four wheels. This was because of its increased weight over the previous generation.
1979-1983 Toyota Crown (S110)
The sixth-gen Crown was introduced when Toyota reduced production of carbureted engines, and turbochargers were becoming common on more production cars. It was also when the Crown was being exported to Germany.
You get the S110 Crown in different variants of Toyota 2.0-liter engines, including a new 2.0-litre turbocharged M-TEU and 2.0-litre 1G-EU. Other engine options remain the same as the ones used in previous generations. The sixth-gen Crown remained RWD with a 3/4/5-speed manual or 3/4-speed automatic transmission.
Unlike previous generations, the S110 Crown doesn’t have circular headlights. Instead, you get mono and dual rectangular headlights, with the latter being used in later production models.
Trims remained as Standard, Deluxe, Super Saloon, and Royal Saloon. The Standard trim was mainly sold to taxi companies in Japan. However, buyers could still choose limited luxury options such as leather seats and a stereo system. High spec models came standard with leather seats, an electric compass, and automatic climate control.
Optional extras for luxury trims include a mini-fridge in the rear seats, moon roof, air conditioning, and climate controls for the back seat passengers.
1983-198 Toyota Crown (S120)
The 1983 Toyota Crown had the most engine options, which were 2.0-litre engines for Japanese buyers who wanted to avoid high road taxes. The 2.4-litre, 2.8-liter, and 3.0-liter engines were mainly used in export units, but Japanese users who did not bother or were not affected by road taxes could still get Crowns with higher displacement engines.
Toyota introduced a new Precision Engineered Geometrically Advanced Suspension (PEGASUS) for the seventh-gen Crown. However, it was only used for luxury trims only. Luxury trims include the Crown Royal Saloon, Super Saloon Extra, and Super Select. Due to high demand, Toyota reintroduced a hardtop sedan and wagon alongside the hardtop coupe. However, very few S120 Crown coupes were made.
1987-1991 Toyota Crown (S130)
Toyota reintroduced the Crown Van for commercial purposes only alongside the Sedan and Wagon. Various new engines were introduced, including the 2.0-litre supercharged 1G-GZE I6, 4.0-litre 1UZ-FE V8, 2.5-litre 1JZ-GE I6 and 3.0-liter ZJZ-GE I6 which are the best engines, you can opt for when buying a Toyota Crown.
1987 was a revolutionary year for the Toyota Crown. Toyota introduced suspension upgrades to the existing four-link suspension and a new air suspension for luxury trims. The S130 Crown is also more aerodynamic than previous generations due to the aero front bumper and sharper body lines.
In the S130 Cresta, Toyota first installed Cruise control, ABS, and traction control as some of the Standard driver-assist features. Luxury trims, including the Royal Saloon and Royal Saloon G, have a CD-ROM-based navigation system with coloured displays for the driver and rear passenger. The S130 Chassis was used in the Crown S140 and S150, and it was discontinued in 1999.
1991-1995 Toyota Crown (S140)
Carbureted engines were no longer used after 1991, and the S140 Crown has fewer engine options than most of its predecessors. You get the S140 Crown with a 2.0-litre 1G-FE, 2.5-litre 1JZ-GE, 3.0-litre 2JZ-GE, and a 2.4-litre diesel 2L-TE engine driving the rear wheels via a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission.
For the S140 Toyota Crown, the Super Saloon was the entry-level spec. A new Royal Touring trim was the only trim sold with a 2JZ or 1JZ engine. The S140 Crown was mainly sold in Japan with the 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre engines, but buyers could still get the Royal Touring trim.
Toyota no longer made the Crown as a coupe, pickup, and van after 1991. In 1993 a limited luxury edition badged as the Prestige Saloon was revealed. It has similar features to the Royal Touring trim, but with chrome and gold badges, door handles, and grill.
1995-1999 Toyota Crown (S150)
The S150 Crown was unveiled in 1995, still using the S130 chassis. It features similar engines to the S140 Crown but with an addition of an LPG engine, the 2.0-litre 1G-GPE. All trims are rear-wheel-drive and have a 4/5-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission.
Toyota was still not producing the Crown in other body forms except the hardtop sedan. New luxury trims were introduced alongside the Royal Touring. These include the Royal Extra, Royal Saloon, and the Royal Saloon G. These were mainly sold in Japan with a 1JZ and 2JZ engine. Surprisingly, buyers still bought them regardless of the ridiculous tax regulations.
1999-2003 Toyota Crown (S170)
1999 marked the Return of the Toyota Crown Wagon badged as the Toyota Crown Estate based on the new S170 chassis used in Sedans. Sales for the Crown Estate were so high that production ran until 2007, while the sedan was discontinued in 2003.
Toyota introduced new trims, including a Majesta trim which was longer than the sedan but still used the S170 chassis. As a result, the S170 Crown Majesta is roomier and more luxurious than the Royal and Athlete trims. It features a more powerful 1JZ-GTE engine that produces close to 280 horsepower.
Other trims have the 1JZ-FSE, 1JZ-GE, 2JZ-FSE, 2JZ-GE, and 1G-FE engines driving the rear wheels via a 4-speed or 5-speed automatic transmission. No manual transmission option was available for the S170 Crown.
2003-2008 Toyota Crown (S180)
Inline-6 and V8 engines were discontinued for the S180 Crown, except for the Majesta trim with a 4.3-litre V8 with AWD and a 6-speed automatic transmission. You get all other trims with V6 engines driving the rear wheels via a 5-speed automatic transmission.
The S180 Crown is longer and has better safety features, fuel economy, and performance than its predecessors. The air suspension was no longer used in the Crown. It also has a better-riding four-link suspension with an independent rear suspension.
Toyota added a Radar pre-collision warning system with a camera to improve accuracy, better ABS, and cruise control for extra safety. The Crown Comfort was the lowest trim with a 2.5-litre engine and narrower than other trims to comply with Japan’s dimension regulations.
The S170 Crown Estate was still being produced but not sold in Japan. Japanese buyers who wanted a large luxury vehicle chose to buy the Toyota Alphard. This luxury van replaced the Crown Estate in Japan.
2008-2015 Toyota Crown (S200)
Like Most cars made after 2008, the S200 Toyota crown features loads of safety features and sensors, which some might find unnecessary in a car. These include a Collision Avoidance System, pedestrian detection, Driver Monitoring System, a brake assist system linked to the navigation system, Night View, and many others.
Toyota wasn’t going to use manual transmission in the Toyota Crown after 1995. They introduced a CVT system in the S200 Crown to make it worse. The engine options remain similar to the S180 but with the addition of a hybrid system in the 3.5-litre 2GR-FSE engine. Another V8 engine, the 4.6-litre 1UR-FSE, was also used in addition to the 4.3-litre 3UZ-FE.
2012-2018 Toyota Crown (S210)
The S210 Crown still uses similar V6 engines to the S200, but for buyers who prefer fuel efficiency, there’s the 2.5-litre 4-cylinder hybrid and a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo used in the Crown RS. You get the S210 Crown with an 8-speed eCVT or a standard 6-speed automatic transmission.
2018 to Present Toyota Crown (S220)
The S220 Crown brings competition to any manufacturer making luxury sedans. It offers the perfect mix of great looks, fuel efficiency, comfort, and affordability.
You get the S220 Crown with a 3.5-litre 8GR-FXS V6 and 2.5-liter A25A-FXS inline-4 hybrid petrol engine driving the rear wheels with optional AWD. You can also get it with a 2.0-litre 8A8-FTS inline-4 engine, the only non-hybrid engine available in the S220 Crown.
The 3.5-litre engine is mated to a 10-speed multi-stage hybrid transmission, while other engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic eCVT transmission.
Given that the Toyota Crown is rear-wheel-drive, nothing should stop you from turning it into a drift car like other Toyota Sedans. However, you have to find a way to shed some weight.
Yes. Toyota used the 2JZ in the Toyota Crown from 1987 to 1999.
Production of the Toyota Crown began in 1955, and it’s still in production to date. However, there are speculations that Toyota could discontinue the Current Crown S220 sedan and replace it with an SUV but still under the same name.
Yes. The Toyota Crown is big enough to fit any V8 engine with minimal fabrication required.
Yes. The Toyota Crown is legal for import to the US.
Fuel and oil consumption might be slightly higher, but nothing too bad. To reduce fuel and oil consumption, you should consider an engine rebuild as the age of the engine might be a disadvantage.
Prices for the Toyota Crown start at approximately $4,000, making it one of the most affordable JDM cars. Newer models retail at around $10,000.
How to Import a Toyota Crown
Read Our Ultimate Guide on How to Import a Car from Japan.