Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Toyota Crown Hybrid Special Edition: Since When does 'Special' mean 'Entry-Level'?

Correct us if we are wrong, but doesn't 'Special Edition' denote that a specific model is equipped with extra features beyond the usual and perhaps even some unique styling cues? Maybe for you and me, but not for Toyota. The same firm that has been (ab)using meaningless groups of letters like GLi, XLE, LS and SE to describe the grade level of its models for decades now, decided to release an entry-level, cut price domestic version of its Crown Hybrid model called 'Special Edition' to help boost sales.

Toyota Camry HybridCompared to the standard Crown Hybrid that was introduced in Japan in early 2008, the Special Edition model has given up an array of comfort, convenience and even safety features such as leather upholstery, Toyota's Pre-Crash Safety System, automatic wipers and some other elements that we were unable to translate from Toyota's site.

The result is a reduction in price of around 10 percent, to 5.4 million Yen or roughly $56,100 US at today's exchange rates.

The full-size, rear-wheel drive Crown Hybrid sedan is moved by a 292HP 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine and a 48HP electric motor producing a maximum combined output of 340HP. As stated by Toyota, the Crown Hybrid achieves a fuel efficiency of 14.0 km/l (7.2lt/100km or the US equivalent of 32.9 mpg) according to the Japanese test cycle.

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