Tokyo preview: 2016 Toyota Crown

After 60 years of sales, the Crown remains Toyota\'s home-market stalwart.

Celebrating 60 years of continuous sales, the Toyota Crown has received a host of updates in a mid-generational refresh.

Though not available in the US since 1972, the Toyota Crown is a mainstay of the company's home market lineup. It splits the size difference between a Camry and an Avalon, but is, crucially, rear-wheel-drive instead of front.

The mid-cycle revision adds Toyota's direct-injection 2.0-liter turbo, recently launched in the US in the Lexus IS and GS 200t. Producing a slightly lower 232 horsepower (compared to 241 in US tune, though it promises the same 258 pound-foot of torque), it is offered exclusively with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

An AWD version is still available, paired with a 6-speed auto. A hybrid version continues with the drivetrain unchanged, same as the one offered on the Lexus GS Hybrid, offered in both rear- and all-wheel-drive.

The Crown also features what Toyota says is the world's first production Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) integration. On cars equipped with ITS Connect, drivers will be alerted to potential hazards during right turns (equivalent to left turns in the US). ITS will warn drivers of red lights if approaching an intersection without easing off the accelerator, and will also count down the seconds to a green light.

ITS can also communicate with other cars equipped with the system, offering an advanced version of speed-matching radar cruise control. It also notifies the driver when an ITS-equipped emergency vehicle is approaching.

Further refinements include additional structural rigidity due to increased adhesive and spot welds in the manufacturing process, re-tuned shock absorbers and newly spec'ed bushings, and updates to the adaptive suspension and electronic steering systems. Elsewhere, changes are mostly cosmetic, in the front and rear fascias, taillights, and the addition of bi-beam LED headlights.

The 60th anniversary Toyota Crown will be displayed at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month.

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