The ever-present Toyota Crown has been given a new update in Japan as the nameplate turned 60. The 2016 Toyota Crown facelift brings enhancements to both the Crown Athlete and Crown Royal, the most major of which is the introduction of a new 2.0 litre turbocharged engine.

A broad new colour palette (not that it was lacking before), a world-first ITS safety package and a mild visual update keep the Crown looking as fresh as ever. The Athlete, for one, gains an even sportier look with reshaped headlights and sharper lower intakes, while the rear gets more striking ring-shaped lights.

The Crown Royal line-up sees an even bigger change. The big front grille is more shapely, and now extends into slim lower valances to connect to the fog lamps. It’s meant to convey a lower centre of gravity compared to the pre-facelift model’s simpler design.

Other than the wider colour option, the paint itself sees an improvement too. Experienced pros have been called in to adjust the colours by a manual spray painting technique to achieve a better finish, while a self-restoring clear coat that self-repairs small scratches is utilised.

The aforementioned 2.0 litre direct-injection turbocharged engine is only available for the Crown Athlete. Codenamed 8AR-FTS, it’s essentially the same engine fitted to the Lexus IS and NX 200t, matched to Toyota’s eight-speed Super ECT automatic transmission. It’s claimed to average 13.4 km per litre on the Japanese JC08 test cycle.

Other engine options offered include a 2.5 litre petrol with a six-speed auto’box and a 3.5 litre V6 petrol unit with a newer eight-speeder. A THS II 3.5 litre V6 petrol hybrid system is also available, with the range-topping Crown Majesta line-up being hybrid-only models now.


Toyota also claims to have improved the Crown’s driving comfort and steering response, through a revamped manufacturing process that now includes structural adhesives and more spot welding points. The shock absorbers, bushings, optional adaptive suspension setup and the electric power steering system have all been tweaked too.

On the safety front, the Crown facelift is the world’s first mass market car to offer driving assist functions over a dedicated frequency. Named ITS Connect, it uses Japan’s standardised ITS frequency to receive and share data between externam infrastructure and other vehicles.

Uses include vehicle-to-infrastructute (V2I) communication (Right-turn Collision Caution, Red Light Caution, Signal Change Advisory) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication (Communicating Radar Cruise Control, Emergency Vehicle Notification). A blind spot monitor and auto parking assist are also available.

Toyota Crown Athlete

Toyota Crown Royal

Toyota Crown Majesta