Automotive

Toyota modernizes its stately $175,000 saloon with hybrid tech

Toyota modernizes its stately ...
Toyota launches the third-generation Century
Toyota launches the third-generation Century
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Toyota launches the third-generation Century
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Toyota launches the third-generation Century
The Century reached half a century old last year
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The Century reached half a century old last year
The new Century has a stronger face with large grille 
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The new Century has a stronger face with large grille 
Inside, the Toyota Century features plenty of wood trim
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Inside, the Toyota Century features plenty of wood trim
The Century is a chauffeur-style vehicle that focuses on the rear passengers
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The Century is a chauffeur-style vehicle that focuses on the rear passengers
The new Century's rear passenger compartment has grown in size
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The new Century's rear passenger compartment has grown in size
Inside the Toyota Century
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Inside the Toyota Century
You can just imagine a chauffeur just out of the picture welcoming the VIP passenger
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You can just imagine a chauffeur just out of the picture welcoming the VIP passenger
The Century includes a rear entertainment system and control touch panel
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The Century includes a rear entertainment system and control touch panel
Much more expensive than your average Camry or Corolla, the Toyota Century costs around US$177,000 when converted from yen 
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Much more expensive than your average Camry or Corolla, the Toyota Century costs around US$177,000 when converted from yen 
Toyota launches the first fully redesigned Century in 21 years
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Toyota launches the first fully redesigned Century in 21 years
The new Century has a V8 hybrid drive
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The new Century has a V8 hybrid drive
Strong grille slats with a crown motif behind them
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Strong grille slats with a crown motif behind them
The phoenix emblem appears around the exterior
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The phoenix emblem appears around the exterior
A new slanting lattice motif for the headliner
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A new slanting lattice motif for the headliner
The all-new Toyota Century makes a strong impression
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The all-new Toyota Century makes a strong impression
The all-new Toyota Century makes a strong impression
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The all-new Toyota Century makes a strong impression
Preparing the phoenix
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Preparing the phoenix
The rear touch control center adjusts audio, air conditioning and other settings
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The rear touch control center adjusts audio, air conditioning and other settings
Power leg rest and massage make the left rear passenger area extra comfortable
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Power leg rest and massage make the left rear passenger area extra comfortable
Toyota engineers have tuned the Century for a smooth, quiet ride befitting of a chauffeur-driven luxury sedan
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Toyota engineers have tuned the Century for a smooth, quiet ride befitting of a chauffeur-driven luxury sedan
The all-new Toyota Century
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The all-new Toyota Century
The all-new Toyota Century
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The all-new Toyota Century
Toyota Century rear combination lights
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Toyota Century rear combination lights
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Toyota or Bentley? It's not typically a question that needs to be asked, but it is one that you might ponder in Japan, where Toyota offers the Century. This luxury flagship has undergone its first full redesign in over two decades and hits the market as an impressively revamped, chauffeur-style sedan complete with a hybrid powertrain, driver-assist suite and premium audio.

The all-new Century made its world debut at last year's Tokyo Motor Show, and Toyota began selling it across Japan this month. The launch of the third-generation Century is significant not only because it gives the world outside Japan a look at a level of luxury not otherwise associated with the Toyota badge, but because it's been 21 years since Toyota last trotted out an all-new version.

Toyota launched the very first Century in 1967, commemorating the 100th birthday of Toyota Group founder Sakichi Toyoda. Since then, the car has served as the company's Japanese-market luxury flagship, a chauffeur-driven saloon embraced by business executives, emperors and dignitaries.

We suppose the ultra-luxury sedan segment is one in which buyers don't mind eschewing the latest technological and styling evolutions for something that's large, comfortable and exquisitely classic, but the Century was still noticeably itching for a full redesign as last year's Tokyo show approached. The last generational overhaul came in 1997, when the new Century brought with it a newly developed 5.0-liter V12 engine, updated rear passenger compartment and more contemporary styling.

The all-new Toyota Century
The all-new Toyota Century

Toyota has followed much the same "new engine, improved rear cabin, exterior restyling" format with the third-generation Century, addressing the car's outdated look with a redesign that modernizes without losing the model's ageless charm. The car enjoys the addition of a fuller, more upright front-end, as well as stronger lines and fuller volumes throughout. The straightened C-pillar is designed to shift the car's visual presence to the rear, where the most important passengers sit.

The large, vertically slatted grille and headlamps with LED adaptive high beam technology make a very strong first impression. Centered on that grille is a phoenix emblem that also rises forth in other parts of the exterior design.

Toyota has once again focused in on the Century's most important occupants, stretching the wheelbase by 65 mm (2.6 in) to increase rear-seat legroom and comfort. A raised ceiling meanwhile adds headroom and increases the overall feeling of spaciousness.

You can just imagine a chauffeur just out of the picture welcoming the VIP passenger
You can just imagine a chauffeur just out of the picture welcoming the VIP passenger

Toyota has also decreased the height of the side sills by 15 mm, allowing for easier ingress and egress and flatter floor mat seating. The rear left (passenger-side) VIP passenger enjoys a power leg rest and massage function.

Keeping the very important rear passengers entertained is an 11.6-in display mounted centrally between the front seats. Audio is fed through a 12-channel amp before it's distributed out to 20 strategically positioned speakers.

Rear passengers maintain full control of their environment using a 7-in touch panel command center in the console, offering adjustment of audio, climate, seat massage and curtains. Wood trims and exclusive fabrics add to the feature-rich ambiance.

The Century is a chauffeur-style vehicle that focuses on the rear passengers
The Century is a chauffeur-style vehicle that focuses on the rear passengers

The Century may be all about the passengers, but it still has to drive from place to place. Here, Toyota scales back from the V12 engine, modernizing the powertrain with a V8-based hybrid system. The 5.0-liter 2UR-FSE V8 puts out up to 376 hp and 376 lb-ft, while an electric motor kicks total system output up to 425 hp. Toyota promises a quiet, silky smooth ride and excellent fuel economy. A comfort-tuned electronically controlled air suspension and active noise cancellation help ensure an optimal experience in the seats.

Other odds and ends for the chauffeur to interact with include the Toyota Safety Sense package with pre-collision system, lane departure alert, adaptive high beams and radar cruise control; parking support alert; and blind spot monitor. Helpnet activates immediate emergency services contact upon air bag deployment, while D-Call Net identifies severe accidents and automatically and calls in the air and ground ambulances.

The Century is on sale now across Japan, starting at a cool ¥19,600,000 (approx. US$177K). Toyota plans to build around 50 units per month at its Higashi-Fuji Plant.

It's been quite a month at Toyota. Along with the all-new Century launch, the automaker also confirmed its new race-derived hypercar.

Source: Toyota Global

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4 comments
owlbeyou
I have no doubt this car is exceptionally smooth and comfortable with plenty of power and character. I don't care for the style of mag wheels, and the phoenix looks like a spaced-out chicken. : )
guzmanchinky
And UNLIKE a Rolls or Bentley, this one will actually be reliable.
JamesAberdeen
Ladies and gentlemen, the new "Edsel".
EH
"I don't care for the style of mag wheels" The wheels evoke the Imperial chrysanthemum. This is a car meant only for Japanese aristocrats.